When to “Outsource” Billing & Why It’s a “Four Letter Word”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

[quote ]The following post features advice from guest-blogger Emily Stowe, Managing Director of Bronco Billing, a CentralReach partner company.

If you are like most clinical entrepreneurs, you have probably encountered challenges with billing. Chances are, obstacles like claim rejections, late payments and ever-changing payer requirements can demand more of your energy than your most challenging client.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many great companies struggle with billing, especially in the therapy fields. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) billing is especially complicated as it is a relatively new area.  

Why Hire a Billing Company?
There are four main reasons practices seek external help:

  1. Growth and demand for services outpace the ability to upkeep back-office operations. This includes everything from billing and contracts, to managing staff.
  2. Experienced experts in ABA billing practices are rare and hard to find.
  3. An organization wants to feel more in control of their finances. Depending upon who handles your billing, an expert can equip you with knowledge to make better decisions.
  4. Some prefer having an expert and partner vested in your organization’s success.

Why Keep Billing In-House?
If you have great management and workflows, it could be more cost-effective to keep at least a portion of your billing in house.

How to Select an “Outsource” Partner
This brings us to an important point. “Outsourcing” implies a lack of transparency, and sadly some companies operate this way. If a billing company doesn’t share details about its workflows and practice, then run the other way. Think of it this way. If that company were to suddenly disappear, what would you do?

Signs of a Good Partner
If you’re looking to hire a billing company, there are some traits you should require:

  • Transparency and training in the workflows surrounding your company
  • Experience in successfully navigating the ever-changing market
  • An understanding of your company’s goals
  • A vested interest in your success
  • A willingness and expectation to be supportive in all aspects of your organization, not just billing.

How Much Help Is Needed?
Every practice is unique, so it’s important to consider what kind of help you need. For example, Bronco offers three different service models.

  1. Premier Billing – all-inclusive, white-glove service
  2. A La Carte Services – for specific needs including:
  • Handling a portion of payers
  • Creating, training or managing in-house employees
  • Contracting, credentialing, verifications, etc.
  • Unpaid claim management & other issues
  1. Consulting Services – which encompasses topics such as:
  • Maximization of authorizations
  • Workflow optimization
  • Billing standardization
  • Employee retention planning
  • Cash flow increase (e.g. how to bill more time, etc.)
  • Profit analysis

Is Your Practice Financially Healthy?
Regardless of your billing arrangements, every entrepreneur should know their C.R.A.P.!

  1. Cash flow
  2. Receivables
  3. Analysis of Payers
  4. Practice Management Workflows

Once you nail these basics, you can start to make improvements.

For a closer look at healthy billing practices, join our interactive webinar on September 25th.
Co-Authored by Emily Stowe, and Christie Calahan, CentralReach’s Director of Marketing and Communication.