Outsourcing your billing offers many benefits, including allowing you to devote your full attention to client care. But if your practice is new, you’re probably not ready to outsource. And there are also benefits to doing your own billing. If you know how to get set up and put processes in place to make things simpler, you can have confidence in your ability to be your own biller.
Benefits of In-House Billing
The primary benefit of being your own biller is the flexibility it gives you as a provider. No one else dictates what can or can’t be done when it comes to billing — you make your own decisions. While some billing services strive to be flexible, the reality is that they’re serving many different clients, so they may not be able to accommodate special requests. If you are your own biller, you can take care of whatever needs done when it needs done.
This flexibility also allows you to control the entire client-practice relationship. Billing services vary on their patient satisfaction track record — some vendors are excellent, while others leave patients frustrated with a lack of response. There’s no need to worry about the service your clients are receiving when you are the one in charge of the full client experience.
Additionally, when you are your own biller, you don’t need to be concerned about a vendor’s compliance history. Some vendors have robust security measures and technology in place, but others have only the minimum required by law. You fully control your tech stack, so you can reduce the risk of security or privacy breach. And the fewer people who have access to patient information, the less likely a privacy issue is to occur.
4 Steps to Be Your Own Biller
Getting set up to be your own biller takes time, but it isn’t difficult. Here are four steps that will provide a firm foundation for your billing process.
1. Choose a Software
A software tool will be your best friend in billing. EHR software automates many parts of the process, provides templates, and offers many other time-saving benefits. But not all billing software systems are alike. Here’s what to look for as you’re evaluating different options.
Has a Billing Solution — This may be obvious, but be sure the EHR software you’re considering has a robust billing feature since not all do. You want to be able to create, print, and email invoices and superbills, facilitate claims submission, see up-to-date CPT codes & CPT code modifiers, and accept credit card payments.
Offers Notes Templates — Templates should allow you to easily create progress notes initial assessments, treatment plans and more, all with selectable diagnostic codes and simple review/cosigning options.
Provides Prewritten Treatment Goals and Objectives for Progress Notes — The templates should also allow you to select from a set of common goals and objectives for your progress notes, speeding up the note-taking process.
Contains an Easy-to-Use Client Portal — You’ll want to reduce your involvement in paperwork and allow your clients to access the information they need with a secure client portal.
Allows Scheduling and Appointment Reminders — You can also automate scheduling and appointment reminders, saving valuable time. Be sure the software you’re considering has this functionality.
2. Verify Client Information
This step is an ongoing process, rather than a one-time project. In order to prevent claims from being rejected or denied due to outdated patient information, you’ll need to be sure that your clients’ insurance and personal information is up-to-date. While it may be impractical to verify information before each session, you can reduce claims issues by verifying information when you accept a new client and at the start of each new year.
3. Know Your Codes
Another important task that will improve your claims acceptance rate is to get familiar with the relevant ICD-10 and CPT codes you’ll need for your claims. Insurers have guidelines governing these codes and how they’re used, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re using the most accurate codes for your clients and the services you’re providing. Additionally, using the right code can help ensure that you’re reimbursed appropriately. An EHR software that’s specifically designed for mental health will help you with this task.
4. Create a Checklist You Can Follow Every Time
There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re doing your own billing, including submitting claims within the allowable period for each insurer and following up in a timely manner with rejected or denied claims. A checklist that outlines the precise steps you need to follow each time will help you remember all these items. Here’s a simple process to create a billing process checklist.
- Create a list of every step involved in your billing process.
- For the claims you’ve submitted that were rejected or denied, examine why the rejection or denial happened.
- Based on what you learned from looking at past claims that were not immediately accepted, identify what you could do differently to ensure future claims don’t have the same issue. Add these actions to your list.
- Consider any other “hiccups” that have occurred with billing in the past, ranging from accepting co-pays to failing to appeal a denied claim. Think through what you could do to prevent these issues, and add these actions to your list.
- Finally, formulate your final checklist with all the steps listed that you identified. Post your checklist where you can easily see it.
This checklist will help you stay focused on all of the tasks involved in billing, preventing you from skipping anything important.
Have Confidence in Your Ability to Be Your Own Biller
Getting set up to do your own billing and developing your billing routine will take some effort, but as you grow more comfortable with the process, you’ll gain confidence. Equipping yourself with a robust EHR software, creating procedures, and building a checklist to serve as a reminder for each task will help you manage the billing process with ease.
Make the billing process easy with TheraNest’s EHR system. See how therapists are using our billing features to streamline their practices.