Medical practitioners and healthcare providers are finding themselves continuously squeezed for time and money. None more so than in the present economic climate. Times could get busier with the advent of the Obamacare health bill that could increase the number of patients applying for and getting health coverage in the United States. As a result of this, it has never been a better time to look into outsourcing non-essential elements of the bureaucratic process. One of the best ways to do this is to outsource medical billing to a reputable third party company.
Whether you run a small health practice or a large hospital or care providing company, you need to find ways to save time and money, so all your attentions can be aimed towards providing the best healthcare support for your patients. According to a Harvard Medical School and Public Citizen study, 31 percent of expenditure by medical companies in America (as of 2003) was devoted to administration. Billing takes up a large chunk of this.
As a result of this many companies are losing money annually because of inefficient administrative processes such as redundant data collection, work that is repeated more than it should be and because not enough money is being collected or is being billed incorrectly. In addition to this, there are regulatory processes that can be a nightmare to understand and comply with.
Revenue Cycle Management
Outsourcing your billing is better known as Revenue Cycle Management or RCM and is a branch of general revenue management. On a general level this involves micromanaging a company’s finances. Typically outsourced to a specialized company, RCM teams are experts on finding wastage while maximizing elements such as pricing, inventory, overheads and revenue channels.
With regards directly to healthcare RCM, the companies specialize on running an efficient billing department separate from the health practice itself. This means they understand the government and state regulations on health and how best to implement and keep to them.
Benefits of RCM
There are numerous benefits of outsourcing your billing department. The first is peace of mind. With specialists involved, you no longer have to worry about internal organization, about hiring, firing and training admin staff to sort out bills, receipts and chase up non-payment. Another benefit in terms of peace of mind comes from the having professionals go through your finances with a toothcomb.
Naturally, any business needs to consider costs. Peace of mind is not reason enough for a company to hire another company to do its billing work for them. Here a balance will be met whereby costs are reduced because less staff, computers and so on are required to be kept in-house, but these are balanced against the cost of the service itself. Most RCM companies can guarantee that their service charge will be less than the amount you currently pay for billing customers and clients yourselves.
Furthermore, many have specialist knowledge from former practitioners and trained experts on a wide range of medical procedure. These range from relatively minor areas such as dermatology and family practice to major operations and surgeries such as anesthesiology and cardiology. Their expertise in these areas and others such as radiology, pediatrics and gastro enterology, even plastic surgery, means they are better placed to ensure billing is done correctly and patients/clients pay the correct amount.
Lastly, these companies are experts in getting their money, which means also getting your money. They will have staff who are employed solely to chase up and get correct payments out of clients and/or their health providers. Often working with these insurance companies to make sure the right person or persons are billed. They are well versed in the legal mechanisms that can be employed upon non-payment and have the time to do so effectively.
Before Deciding on RCM
Before you make a decision over whether to employ an RCM company or not, you need to ask yourself a number of questions. Is your billing process efficient? Do you have a high staff turnover? Are you or your employees tech savvy?
Also ask yourself, what are your personal priorities? Some people are good at business and even enjoy it, while others do medicine for the love of helping people are are not good on business matters. Knowing what services to buy, how, who from, what products are best and what moves are going to bring in the most money are important for any business. It makes sense that these things do not come naturally to you, that you outsource the business bureaucracy side of your company to someone else, so you can concentrate on doing what you love most of all, looking after the good health of your many clients.
Lisa Holden is a freelance finance writer from England who regularly writes features pertaining to small businesses as well as medical issues, from medical travel insurance to failing to adapt to outsourcing correctly and everything in between.