The scale of the global dental market is expected to be at 37 billion dollars by the year 2021. That’s a lot of teeth getting a lot of dental work. And if you own a dentist’s office, that’s a lot of medical billing to handle.
What if your office hired out for a professional medical billing service? Do you think of outdated Filofaxes and overstuffed metal cabinets when you think of a billing service, and is that still the case?
Keep reading to find out the answers to both questions, and to see what you can expect with a medical billing service in 2019.
Why Do You Need a Medical Billing Service?
Revenue cycle management is an important element to your dental office success. Both dental and medical practices rely on how well their billing is operated. Although helping patients is the focus of your practice, you still need to turn a profit as a business.
Even a dental office with a nonprofit status, or with a sliding scale fee, needs to keep track of billing.
But you’re probably aware the billing can be a complex process with headaches caused by delays, coding errors, and general human mistakes. Add to that some practices’ inability to collect on fees, and you can be dealing with an administrative nightmare.
If your goal is to provide excellent care while also surviving as a business, you’ll need to decide how you will handle your medical billing. There are two options: running your billing in-house and hiring the staff to manage it or outsourcing to a professional medical billing service.
What is a Professional Medical Billing Service?
First, you should know what to expect if you decide to do your own medical billing within your practice. That will mean taking care of coding, submitting claims and all follow-up associated with them. You’ll need to hire a certified medical coder for your staff.
You might also need separate staff to handle the claims that don’t get processed in time or are rejected. Following up on claims is a big task!
In addition, you’ll need to be adding to your knowledge base with medical billing, because it’s always updating. It’s true that keeping your billing within your practice could save you some money, but if you’re a small staff, it might not pay long term.
Your staff will already be handling many tasks, and adding in medical billing could break down your office’s workflow. And if too many mistakes are made with your billing process, you could lose substantial amounts of money.
This is when deciding to hire medical billing services could help. It could be more expensive, but you’ll be saving so much in other resources. In fact, a great medical billing service can be so efficient that they add to your revenue by increasing your collection rate, reducing claim rejections, and giving an analysis of your accounts.
Whatever your choice, you’ll still need to use practice management software. That will be done either in-house, or you can discuss with a potential billing service which software they recommend to use. The software will need to interface with your own electronic health record.
So, what kind of professional medical billing service should you choose? A large, multi-staffed operation or a independently owned and operated business? It’s vital that you choose a reputable service, regardless of size or resources. Experience and expertise should be your main concern, so look for billing services with a reputation for honesty.
What Can Medical Billing Services Do?
A billing service is focused on one thing only: analyzing and processing your practice’s billing claims. That means they closely check your claims prior to processing them, as well as do the follow up with insurance companies to ensure acceptance.
A good company will also provide periodic analysis of your accounts receivable, and they’ll offer suggestions for how you can improve your finance operations. Some professional services will have access to an electronic health records system or practice management software.
It’s a good thing to know if the service you are considering will have coders on staff, or if your practice will be responsible for coding. Also, a paperless service with a streamlined process are ideal for the healthcare industry as it moves into the future.
That includes being updated on the newly implemented coding system (ICD-10) and staying detailed with financial reports. It’s also helpful if you choose a service with a lot of experience in your particular practice.
A professional service should keep in contact with your patients and deal with delinquent accounts. Some services will send your patients a statement and transfer unpaid accounts to collection agencies if that is needed. Having a service that excels with patient communication is key so that your patients stay informed about what they owe.
Another high-tech benefit of hiring a medical billing service is their virtual management systems. By keeping your data on their servers, you can save on resources and reduce the risk of loss or hacking to your practice’s private data. They’ll take care of updates, systems maintenance, as well as other administrative tasks.
Ready to Try Medical Billing Services?
Hopefully, after reading this, you’re not as willing to avoid the topic of medical billing. The industry has evolved a lot in recent years, and the right service could help you.
If this guide has you interested in how your dental practice can benefit from medical billing services, head over to our site to see what we offer.