If one were to ask, “What is the most challenging part in a doctor’s practice?” many medical professionals would say it is the billing. Who knew that in a profession dedicated to saving lives, fixing deformities, and providing relief to people in pain, billing would even be considered worthy of the tag! But strangely it is, and rather than being a professional challenge which inspires medical professionals to reach new heights, it is an irritating job—a task no one wants to do or is even skilled enough to do. At the same time, it is a job for which smaller practices are reluctant to hire a full-time professional, thanks to the rather prohibitive costs associated with hiring a full-time billing professional.
As a result, disparate professionals like office managers, nurses, receptionists, office attendants and sometimes even the doctor himself/herself double up as the person responsible for the billing. The results are obviously less than satisfactory. Mistakes abound, claims rejections and revisions are rampant, and most importantly, payment is often delayed. Not a very ideal scenario, is it? That is one reason we are seeing a greater reliance on medical billing services in India by practices all over the world, both big and small. Medical billing outsourcing helps a practice not just save money, but also avoid other needless issues pertaining to the job.
Who is a Medical Billing Professional?
A medical billing professional is someone who has qualified an examination such as CMRS or RHIA, is well versed in the latest ICD 10 codes, and is comfortable using online health information and billing systems like Supercoder. According to the AAPC website, a medical biller should also “understand how to read the medical record and, like the medical coder, be familiar with CPT, HCPCS Level II and ICD-10-CM codes.”
Benefits of Engaging a Full-time Billing Professional
Engaging a full-time billing professional has several advantages over using the services of a part-time professional or, worse, clubbing it with some other role. Here is a list of the major benefits:
- Reducing errors: With professionally trained and certified billers helming the show, your practice will have far reduced instances of erroneous billing, keeping you compliant. Error-free billing will also help reduce instances of delayed payments and claim denials. As professionals, medical billers are required to keep themselves abreast of any changes in ICD 10 and are already prepared for the transition between ICD 10 to ICD 11, whenever it happens.
- Removes administrative hassles and improves patient engagement: For smaller practices, once the hassle of billing is taken away, doctors and medical professionals can focus on the patients a lot more improving the quality of service and allowing more time for each patient, thus providing a stress free environment. It also allows a practice to not invest in billing tools, since any professional medical billing company will either have them already or ask you to buy the license of a reasonable software for a specific period only.
- Patient data security: With a majority of the organizations in outsourcing destinations like India being GDPR and HIPAA compliant, as part of a prerequisite to serve data sensitive clients, your patient data is as secure as it can be anywhere. So, your client’s data is actually safer with a professional medical billing agency than with an employee that you hire locally.
- Automatic claims verification and faster claims processing: Engaging professionals will allow a practice to process claims faster. The general practice of submitting paper-based claims might take up to two months to get processed. Instead, submitting an error free, properly coded claim can result in maximum payment, that too within just a fortnight.
Outsourcing to India: The Cost Advantage
Medical billing and coding professionals don’t come cheap. It is a very niche and highly skilled profession, pursued only by a select few. Hiring a coding and billing professional locally with proper experience and full knowledge of ICD-10 is bound to blow a decent-sized hole in your pocket. By outsourcing your billing requirements to a professional medical billing firm offshore you will be able to save up to half—and in some cases, even two-thirds—on costs when compared to hiring someone locally. Now that’s a lot of savings, which then brings down your costs to manageable proportions.
Medical billing services in India and other offshore locations can rationalize your expenses. Medical billers associated with medical billing services in India are mostly certified CPCs (certified professional coders), which is pretty much the gold standard in the field of billing and coding certifications. While India does not follow the same billing process as that of the US, Indian medical billing professionals have become experts since medical billing and coding has been a part of India’s outsourcing landscape for more than a decade now, thanks to multiple professional publications like ‘The Coding Institute’ having their back offices in India. In fact, one of the most popular billing and coding online tools, Supercoder, was developed entirely in India. How do I know this? I was a part of the launch of Supercoder myself, almost a decade ago!
The Last Word
Practices all over have the option of outsourcing medical billing to professionals and benefitting from their expertise, which will help them maximize their claims with the right coding and accurate processing of bills. Offshore medical coders and billers empower the smallest of practices to run at full capacity and serve their immediate community and patients to their fullest potential.