Maybe you have made the wise decision to outsource your physical therapy billing services. But you’re faced with the tough decision on which company to hire among the many third-party medical billing companies.
Fortunately, making a choice doesn’t have to be an impossible task. We have just the right questions for you to ask your ideal candidates to make it easier for you to choose.
So, let’s get right into it.
- How many years of experience do you have in this field?
There is no substitute for experience when it comes to medical billing companies. Even if a company has qualified billers, they should have a few years of experience, especially in your field of practice.
For instance, if you’re a mental health specialist, you should look out for billers who have experience in the mental health niche. This way, the company coders will understand the coding requirements in this specialty and minimize errors.
- Do you have references?
Don’t rely on the company’s online reviews for reference. These days, it’s easy for a company to have fake online reviews.
Ask the company if it has worked with similar practices as yours in the past. In case it has, ask for the past customers’ contacts and call them to know the quality of the firm’s services.
You can also check the company’s testimonials on their website or social media pages. Call, email, or chat with a few past customers and seek their opinions on the company’s service quality, transparency, metrics, and results.
You can also request the company to give you professional or regulatory bodies they are associated with. Companies that have a host of state or national affiliations are likely to be competent.
- Is the billing service you offer HIPAA compliant?
You need to be aware if your medical billing companies complies with the HIPAA requirements. Don’t just accept a ‘yes we are compliant’ answer. Probe further to know their degree of compliance. But you should remember that no business is 100% HIPAA compliant.
You can request a compliance progress report or ask some compliance-related questions. Some information you can seek include:
- How the company handles patients’ data
· If there are data security measures in place
· Procedures they follow to destroy equipment that may have patients’ data such as hard drives
· If the billing software they use is HIPAA compliant
· Whether you’ll be required to share the financial burden in case of a compliance violation
- How accessible is your company?
Timely communication is essential in any organization. In case of a billing emergency or problem, you need to know that the billing company is available immediately to sort the issue.
The company should have a flexible communication policy. For instance, they should provide various communications platforms to reach them on, such as phone numbers, chat options, email addresses, and social media handles.
Similarly, you should have a contact person you can talk to if you have an issue with your account.
- How much will it cost?
You should be aware of the amount of money you’re expected to part with for the billing services offered. One of the reasons for outsourcing your billing services is to minimize costs and to enhance revenue. So, ensure the price is reasonable.
Further, consider how the third-party billing company prefers to be paid. For example, some companies may charge a flat fee for their services, while others may charge a percentage of the amount collected.
A company that charges a percentage of the successful claims may be more motivated to ensure no claims are denied. This will see the company work diligently to minimize claim errors, submit the claims on time, and follow up to ensure most of the claims are reimbursed. Since such a company’s success is tied to yours, your revenue will also increase when they have good results.
Don’t forget to ask if there are any additional charges to the cost figure given as some companies charge extra fees for patients’ collections, startup, and termination, among other services.
- What services do I get with the cost plan chosen?
You need to know the services you’ll get for the amount of money you’re paying. Some companies may offer low-cost services that have some essential services excluded. Commonly excluded services by low-cost medical billing firms include:
- Appealing for denied claims
· Sending statements to patients
· Resubmitting rejected claims
· Alerting the client of any arising contract issues
Inquire if the services offered cover the entire revenue cycle from verification to reporting. If the third-party biller is taking care of each step in the billing process, it will mean higher claim acceptance rates and a smoother and more efficient medical billing companies process for your practice.
- How will your system affect my existing payment system?
Ensure that the billing company is using software that is compatible with your current payment system. Otherwise, you may need to invest in a new payment system and train your employees on how it works.
A good billing company system should be flexible such that it can adapt to your existing system. The third-party billing service provider should also endeavor to make your work easier. Look out for a system that enables streamlined payment services.
- Can you provide me with regular updates on your work?
Request for a guarantee of transparency early in the hiring process. The billing company should be willing to give you regular updates of their operations and how it affects your business. Ask for detailed reports on how the billing is helping you increase your revenue and improve the provision of services to your customers.
Let the company tell you how often you can expect to receive these reports and how accessible they are. The billing provider should also be transparent on the process you can follow if you need clarification on an issue. Ask to have the contacts of the person responsible for giving or sending you the timely reports.
- What qualifications does your staff have?
Medical billing companies is a skill that needs experience and professional education. The billing company employees should be well-trained and certified. This indicates that the company values professionalism and only hires people who can be trusted to take their job seriously.
A good billing company should also offer ongoing professional training to their coders and billers to ensure they are well-versed with any regulations changes. It would be best to inquire about the resources, software, and equipment the staff uses to ensure they aren’t outdated.
In conclusion, the above nine questions can act as a guide to help you choose a competent and reliable medical billing company. You must take your time during the vetting process to ensure you hire a provider who will give you value for money.