Should I Outsource Medical Billing Services?
Outsourcing medical billing services has become an increasingly attractive option for medical businesses and organizations who want to reduce administrative burdens and streamline their offices.
The benefits of outsourcing medical billing services are numerous. Outsourcing often leads to increased accuracy in billing and coding, which, in turn, results in fewer claim denials and faster reimbursement cycles. In an ever-evolving regulatory landscape, working with a medical billing and coding company can help medical offices comply with complex healthcare billing regulations.
Yet there’s one crucial caveat that emerges when deciding whether working with medical billing services is the right choice for your medical office … where that medical billing company is located.
We aren’t talking about services down the street or even on the other side of town. In fact, it’s not a matter of local geographical proximity. While there are legitimate medical billing services located overseas, working with a company that is not domestically located can lead to several challenges that warrant careful consideration.
So, should you outsource medical billing services? Let’s dive into some reasons your medical practice may be considering outsourcing your billing services, the benefits of doing so and why location matters.
7 Reasons To Outsource Your Medical Billing Services
Whether to outsource medical billing services is a pivotal choice for medical businesses and organizations. The following 7 reasons may be at the root of why you’re contemplating this important move.
- You want to increase your office’s efficiency. Medical billing is a complex and time-consuming task that demands meticulous attention to detail. Outsourcing allows your medical staff to focus on patient care while experts handle billing and coding, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity.
- You need to save costs. Outsourcing can often be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house billing department. It eliminates the need for hiring, training and managing billing personnel, along with the overhead costs associated with their employment.
- You’re not an expert in billing. Specialized medical billing companies have a deep understanding of the complex healthcare billing landscape. They stay up-to-date with changing regulations, ensuring accurate coding and billing compliance, which can ultimately lead to higher revenue for your practice.
- You want to reduce your claim denials. Expert billers are skilled at submitting clean claims, reducing the likelihood of denials. This leads to faster reimbursements and improved cash flow for your medical practice.
- Your medical staff wants to focus more on patient care and less on administrative duties. Medical professionals can redirect their time and energy toward providing quality patient care instead of dealing with administrative tasks. This can enhance patient satisfaction and the overall reputation of your practice.
- You need access to advanced technology without absorbing the costs. Reputable medical billing companies invest in cutting-edge medical billing software and technology, providing your practice with access to the latest tools and analytics for more efficient billing processes.
- Your practice is growing or downsizing. Outsourcing allows you to scale your billing services up or down based on your practice’s needs. You can adapt to changes in patient volume without the hassle of hiring or laying off staff.
Now, let’s look at some of the benefits of working with a medical billing and coding company if you find your practice in one of the scenarios from above.
Benefits Of Outsourcing Medical Billing Services
Working with experienced medical billing services can provide your medical business with several benefits that impact your practice as a whole.
One of the most impactful benefits is the opportunity for increased revenue. By reducing billing errors and rejections, improving the accuracy of claims and accelerating the payment process, your medical business can experience a more healthy revenue stream.
The flow of your revenue cycle management process is significantly dependent on the accuracy and efficiency of your claims process, which is why it’s critical to ensure the individuals handling this part of your business are experienced and familiar with the most up-to-date regulations.
As we mentioned above, your medical practice can not only see faster reimbursements and improved cash flow, but also save money by not needing an in-house billing and coding staff. The average base salary of a billing and coding professional is around $67,000, not including associated payroll costs like health insurance, paid time off and more.
If you do hire an in-house staff, you’ll need to purchase expensive software and maintain a technology infrastructure that can handle your billing and coding. Software alone can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per month, depending on your facility’s needs and size.
Even if you opt to not hire in-house team solely responsible for your medical billing services, that administrative burden will fall on your current staff. Managing a busy medical business involves a lot of moving parts, and placing these tasks on employees who have other responsibilities may hurt the efficiency of your office as a whole.
Outsourcing your medical billing services reduces this administrative burden and allows your team to focus on quality patient care.
Why Location Matters When Choosing A Medical Billing Services Partner
While these benefits make outsourcing an enticing option, the crucial factor to consider is the location of your chosen billing service provider.
Working with a domestic company versus an overseas company can impact the quality of service, communication and data security, all of which play a significant role in the success of your medical billing operations.
While there are legitimate medical billing and coding companies outside of the United States, it can be difficult for them to ensure accuracy since the U.S. billing and coding practices differ from those found in other countries. Each country has its own healthcare system, coding systems, reimbursement rates, legal and regulatory frameworks, and cultural factors.
In the United States alone, there are multiple insurance companies, each with billing and coding requirements. Insurance companies and healthcare providers in the U.S. also often negotiate reimbursement rates.
Some additional reasons why choosing a U.S.-based medical billing and coding service may be the better choice for your medical practice include:
- You’ll save costly time spent resolving mistakes with coding services located overseas.
- Language barriers and differences in coding systems are less likely to lead to misunderstandings.
- A U.S.-based medical billing services company with U.S. employees is more likely to address issues or questions more quickly.
A final yet extremely important benefit of working with a U.S.-based medical billing company is that a domestic partner is more likely to be familiar with the unique requirements and regulations that govern healthcare billing in the United States.
New legislation, medical technology advances and evolving best practices all play a role in how healthcare regulations change. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) routinely updates its billing and coding regulations, which can then impact how your practice must submit claims and receive payments.
Regulations such as these are complex and change frequently, so having a team that is knowledgeable on the latest rules can ensure that your practice remains compliant.
An Important Decision For Your Medical Practice
The decision to outsource medical billing services is a significant one for healthcare organizations, and it should be made after careful consideration of your specific needs and circumstances.
The benefits of outsourcing, from increased efficiency to cost savings and improved revenue cycle management, can substantially and positively impact your practice’s overall performance.
However, it’s crucial to remember that location matters when selecting a medical billing services partner. While there are legitimate providers overseas, the intricacies of the U.S. healthcare system and coding requirements make partnering with a U.S.-based company a preferable choice for many medical practices.
Domestic companies can offer quicker response times, better understanding of U.S. regulations and reduced potential for communication errors, ultimately ensuring a smoother billing process.
When deciding whether to outsource, consider both the benefits and the location of your chosen billing service provider to make an informed decision that aligns with the unique needs of your medical practice.