Overworked, Understaffed Billing Departments Spell Big Trouble for Medical Clinics

10 Sep

Medical billing is a tough job. And while medical billers do not treat patients, their performance is directly tied to the success of any medical clinic.

So why is medical billing such a tough job? To begin with, the rules related to medical billing are constantly changing. New coding systems and compliance regulations can lead to delayed or denied claims that significantly reduce an office’s cash flow.

The number of things that can go wrong when it comes to billing is another never-ending battle. Even if a billing staff is able to keep up with new rules and regulations, there are plenty of other issues to deal with. These include things late payments and rejected claims.

All of these things would be a challenge for a huge medical billing staff but the fact is that most medical offices are not able to hire the amount of staff it would take to handle all of these issues. This leads to another issue: staff turnover. Medical billers are under a great deal of stress and this leads to low morale and high turnover. Hiring new staff is not only expensive and time-consuming, suddenly you have put another task on your medical billing staff’s to-do list: training.

While an under-performing medical billing staff can be detrimental to a clinic’s cash flow, it also can mean the loss of current patients and the inability to attract new ones. Look at reviews of medical clinics on the internet and you are likely to read statements along the lines of: “Love my doctor, nurses were great but the billing department was the worst.”

The fact is, many patients will decide not to come back to a particular clinic solely because of their experience with the billing staff. Further, these patients certainly won’t be referring family and friends.

With the rise in social media and online reviews, one patient disgruntled with your billing practices or staff can be broadcast all over the internet. The cost of these reviews cannot be underestimated. Statistics show that 90 percent of people read online reviews and 88 percent say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Staff turnover can have huge financial repercussions for a medical clinic. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to hire and retain quality medical billers. In light of the difficulties related to medical billing, it may be in a medical practice’s best interest to outsource these duties. Only then can a medical clinic be sure that the health of their clinic is not being compromised due to an overworked, understaffed billing department.


Need billing services or consulting?  Call or text Billing Buddies at 612-432-2366.  Or, email Bonnie J. Flom at bonnie@billingbuddies.com.  We have 24 years of medical billing experience.



Acupuncture Billing Requires Patience and Discipline

13 Aug

Acupuncture billing poses a unique set of challenges that can frustrate even the most knowledgeable medical billing experts. If you are a clinic that specializes in acupuncture, or one that offers acupuncture in addition to other medical services, you are well aware of the difficulty involved in billing for acupuncture services.

One of the most troublesome aspects of acupuncture billing is the fact that there is such a disparity between what different insurers will cover. While some insurance companies will approve acupuncture to only treat pain, others will cover much more.

Another common problem is that it is difficult to find qualified staff to perform your acupuncture billing. Acupuncture billers must have the patience and discipline to learn the subtleties of acupuncture billing. Unfortunately, when it comes to insurance reimbursements, time is money. If claims are not done correctly and in a timely manner, the result is delayed or denied claims which negatively effects a clinic’s cash flow.

Many acupuncturists decide not to accept insurance for their services. While this is understandable given an overwhelming amount of paperwork and denied claims. In the long run, however, this is can be a mistake.

The complexities of acupuncture billing leads many acupuncturists to decide not to accept insurance for their services. While this is understandable, it can have a negative impact on a clinic. Here are some things to consider about insurance before deciding not to accept it:

  1. More clients will be able to afford your services. When you accept insurance, patients who could not otherwise afford to be treated with acupuncture will be able to get the care they need.
  2. You can make more money. While it’s true that some insurance companies reimburse less than acupuncturists charge, this is not always the case. Further, the number of additional patients you are likely to attract by accepting insurance is likely to offset reduced reimbursements.
  3. It can enhance your marketing efforts. As an in-network provider you will be listed in print and online directories that companies provide to their employees. This will help to attract new patients.

Fortunately, the insurance industry is covering more acupuncture services every day. There are a variety reasons for this including the fact that complementary and alternative medicine is growing in popularity among Americans. According the National Institutes of Health, in the United States, four in 10 adults and one in nine children are being are currently being treated with some form of alternative medicine. Acupuncture also is increasingly being viewed as a cost-effective treatment that consumers are willing to pay for—even if it comes out of their own pocket.

Of course, acupuncture still poses significant challenges when it comes to billing. In light of this fact, it is often in the best interest of patients and providers to outsource this complex task to an experienced medical billing services firm.

Need help with your billing?  Call or Text Billing Buddies at 612.432.2366 or email bonnie@billingbuddies.com.




Four Reasons to Consider Outsourcing Your Medical Billing

17 Jul

Small medical practices face a number of challenges. Perhaps the greatest challenge is handling medical billing.  Without adequate staff, a medical practice is not able to send out bills and receive payment in a timely fashion. This, in turn, can negatively affect all areas of the practice.

One solution to medical billing issues is outsourcing those tasks to a professional medical billing company. Many physician offices, however, are reluctant to consider outsourcing for a variety of reasons. These include everything from losing control over their billing staff to concerns about patient satisfaction and security.

While all of these are legitimate concerns, they can be alleviated by performing due diligence so as to guarantee hiring the best medical billing company possible. Further, reviewing the length, terms and conditions of any contract signed with a medical billing company will go a long way toward preventing potential problems.

While hiring a medical billing company is an important decision, when you consider the many benefits, it is likely that you will find it to be the right decision. What follows is a list of four of the most important benefits.

1. Superior Patient Care. The principal purpose of any medical clinic is to provide exceptional care to its patients. In smaller offices, the financial side of the practice can be a drain on staff and resources that could go toward a better patient experience. When you outsource billing tasks, all hands can be on deck to improve patient care.

2. Fewer Billing Errors. Smaller medical offices have fewer staff members to handle billing issues. This leads to more errors and a greater number of denied claims. Further, staff members have less time to make sure that they receive the maximum reimbursement on every claim. It also is difficult for small or understaffed billing offices to remain in compliance with constant changes in billing regulations and requirements related to Medicaid, Medicare and third-party payers. Professional billing companies provide ongoing training to their employees so that they are up to date on any and all changes related to compliance. That means claims filed are far less likely to contain errors.

3. Improved Cash Flow. A small medical billing staff means that when one or more staff members are on vacation or sick, claims cannot submitted in a timely manner. This disruption ultimately leads to an irregular flow of money into the practice. With a medical billing company, this will not happen.

4. Dedicated Billing Assistance. Superior patient care is critical to a medical clinic’s success. However, even if a patient gets the best medical care available, if they encounter issues related to billing, they are likely to move to another provider. When you outsource your billing to a quality medical billing company you can be assured that your patients will receive courteous and professional assistance when they have questions or issues related to their bill.

Outsourcing your medical billing can be a difficult decision and it is important that you do your homework and select the company that is best for your particular medical office. Once you do, however,  you may be pleasantly surprised at how much better you are at providing your patients the best care possible.


Need billing services or consulting?   Call or text 612-432-2366.  Or email, Bonnie J. Flom at bonnie@billingbuddies.com.  We have 24 years of medical billing experience.