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3 Tips to Help you Terminate your Bad Billing Services

Changing billing services can seem like an intimidating task. Often times practice owners will switch billing services when they are not satisfied with the level of knowledge, skill, or cost of their current one. The list goes on. They may be dissatisfied with the level of communication the service has, or with the lack of follow-up with accounts receivables, etc.

The number of reasons that you may be dissatisfied with your service is innumerable. There is one prevailing truth: not all billing services are created equal. However, the idea of giving them a call to tell them that you want to discontinue services can be particularly uncomfortable. If you have come to the point where you need a change in your billing service, there is a simple way to “breakup” with your current one. Follow these steps to have quick transition and get what you really need from a new company.

1. Make a list of current complaints When changing services, you will need to decide on a new billing service. One way to do that is to make sure that your new billing service has solutions in place for the issues that you had with your last one. Don't cancel your current services until you have found a replacement that meets your needs.

It is a good idea to ask the following questions when evaluating a new billing service:

  1. Do they have references you can call?

  2. What is their policy on claim follow-up?

  3. Is their customer service attentive when you have questions?

  4. Do they have experience or certification in billing?

  5. Are there any hidden or additional fees?

You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you are jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. In addition to mitigating the concerns from your current service, you will also want to make sure that the core competencies of billing are covered in a new one.

2. Make an action plan The best way to make the transition is to establish a transition action plan. You will want to start early. A quick firing of your current billing service is a bad idea, no matter how frustrated you are with their services. Migrating information can get sticky if the relationship doesn't remain amicable.

Here is an outline of a transition plan:

  1. Check your contract. There could be a statute that dictates how much time you are required to give your billing service before terminating services. The contract may even be a multi-year contract that requires you to wait until the contract has expired to move to a different service. Mitigating the problems of a billing service that you are stuck with for a while is a different conversation, but you can read about that in a future post.

  2. Inform your billing service. Once you know your timeline, give your current billing service plenty of time. It is industry standard to allow at least another billing cycle of services (30 days or so) to let them wrap up their work for you and follow-up on any outstanding claims that they have been sitting on.

  3. Obtain your information. According to federal regulations, your billing service is required to hand over your patient data in a timely fashion. You will need this if you are doing a data migration and, again, this is the importance of terminating services amicably. While it is required by law that they release your patient information, they can still drag their feet and cause major delays in a data migration.

  4. Transmit your information to your new billing service. If your new billing service uses an EHR and needs to set up your patient information, getting this information to them quickly will be ideal for making sure that your patient information is in the system and ready to go for your start of service date. Give them some time to get payers set up in their system and enter your patient data. This will ensure a smooth transition.

3. Execute the plan Once you have a plan in place, it is time to execute the plan. It is important to communicate with your new billing service on the progress that is being made. If the new billing service is contacting the old billing service for you, letting them know that you have given the current service notice of termination is crucial! It is also important in regards to your cash flow to ensure a smooth transition. Typically, these transitions can take anywhere from 30-45 days, so leave yourself plenty of time.

These kinds of decisions are not always very easy. Some practice owners have been with their billing service for years, but what is good for your practice is ultimately good for your patients and for you. By taking care of your business and your business relationships, you are ensuring that your clients are getting the best care for the longest period of time.

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