How to Switch Medical Billing Services Without Losing Revenue

By Keith Lage, CPA & Director of Business Development, GroupOne Health Source, Inc.
Twitter: @GroupOne_Health

If your medical billing service is losing your practice revenue, you should be looking into switching your billing services provider. You know that once you find a new service and start fixing some of the errors from your current billing service, your revenue will soar. But how do you go about switching from your existing billing service to a new billing service without losing even more revenue?

At the same time, you know that making the transition to a new billing company represents a big change, for which you’ll want employee buy-in, and for which you have to prepare thoroughly.

Nonetheless, there are many cases today where old medical billing services simply can’t do what you need, and the sooner you make that transition to a new service, the sooner you can reap the benefits of it.

Here’s how your practice can move from one billing service to the next without losing revenue.

1) Don’t Just Switch to Any Billing Company
When you’re in a jam and want to end the relationship with your current billing services firm, anything else looks attractive. It’s easy to believe that it just couldn’t get much worse but this is not true.

The last thing you want to do when your revenue is already sufferring is transition to a service that can’t help fix the mistakes that were made. In order to find the right billing company for your practice, you need to do your due diligence and research a variety of billing services.

Find out what pieces are missing in your revenue cycle management today and make sure the next service can help fill in those potholes. A few areas to consider include:

  • Denial Management
  • Insurance Eligibility
  • Medical Coding Review
  • Financial Reporting and Insights
  • Patient Pay Collections

2) Determine What to Do With Your Old A/R
There are a few options when it comes to your old accounts receivables. One option is to part ways with it and start fresh. Another option is to see about having your new billing company “clean it up”. Or the third option would be to have someone internally tackle the project.

If your new billing company doesn’t offer AR cleanup, and you aren’t willing to part ways with that uncollected revenue just yet, you could see if someone at the billing company would be willing to offer up some advice to the internal employee(s) taking on the project.

Let this old A/R also be a lesson. Consider how you ended up with all of this AR in the first place and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Your new billing service provider might literally be the best billing company in the world but if your staff isn’t obtaining the information they need from patients, it doesn’t matter. These are things you will be responsible for fixing internally if you want to avoid having high/old AR again.

Here is a quick list of what your staff should be doing to build a working relationship with your new billing service provider:

  • Collect copays/deductibles/coinsurance
  • Obtain necessary authorization
  • Update patient contact information (phone number, cell phone number, email, address)

Your new billing service should also provide the necessary documentation/training to your staff so that they can be successful in collecting payments/necessary information which leads to the next step on the list of how to prevent a loss in revenue when switching billing services.

3) Participate in the Training Provided
Don’t underestimate the importance of the implementation process and training that goes along with it when switching billing services.

When you’re switching to a new billing and coding service, you need to take into consideration the implementation of these new services and what resources will be available to your practice moving forward. Just like switching to an EHR, your practice will need training. Maybe you won’t need quite as much training as you do when switching to an EHR software but the training is crucial!

When switching billing services you’ll want to ask about training on the new processes and find out what is expected on your end. This helps set the stage so you know what your staff is responsible for and how to go about doing these pieces of the revenue cycle process.

Also keep in mind that the billing service you chose is there for a reason. If they have communicated their expertise in the medical billing process and you trust them to deliver results on your account, then you must keep an open mind to following their processes to increase your practice’s reimbursement.

Embraicng these suggestions and encouraging your staff to do the same will help build a healthy relationship and improve your revenue cycle management.

4) Assign a Point Person for the Transition
When it’s time to explore new medical billing services, it’s a good idea to assign a “point person” on your coding and billing team to head up the front line transition process. Make sure this is someone who is competent, experienced, and respected by other team members. Having a strong point person can keep lines of communication from getting crossed and prevent rumors and misunderstandings.

5) Make Sure the Medical Billing Service You Choose Offers the Support You Need
Medical billing services vary in terms of quality, features, price, and customer support. Of course most practices will focus on the results that are going to be delivered financially, but don’t let this overlook the importance of customer support.

When you’re switching to a new billing and coding service, you need to take into consideration the resources that will be available to your practice today and moving forward. Here are a few questions to help you find a billing service with a high level of customer support:

  • Who will serve as my main point of contact for my account?
  • Does your company specialize in the EHR I am using today?
  • How can you help me optimize my EHR for a better revenue cycle management operation?
  • Will meetings occur regularly to provide insights into my practice’s financial performance?
  • What kind of response time can I expect from your company if I have a question or an issue?
  • Do you offer a customer web portal for support?
  • What kind of ongoing training and learning exists for your current customers?

It’s a Big Step, But It Can Benefit Your Practice Tremendously
Assessing, comparing, and evaluating new medical billing services may feel overwhelming, but the longer you put off upgrading your billing process, the more difficult and ultimately expensive the transition will be.

The first step in making the changeover as smooth as possible for your team is a matter of selecting the right billing services firm. Be cautious selecting a medical billing services partner and make sure you ask detailed questions to determine their expertise before moving forward.

This article was originally published on GroupOne Healthsource and is republished here with permission.