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When Does it Make Sense to Outsource Billing?

The question of outsourcing billing has been a dilemma for as long as the business of private practice has existed. When do I outsource? To whom do I outsource? Does it make the most sense (financially, emotionally, etc.) to outsource?

We have discussed the reasons to outsource in a previous blog post, but what we didn't discuss was the timing of a practice outsourcing their billing. There are a lot of providers out there who can do their billing, and don't feel as if it is worth outsourcing. But there are providers who don't want to deal with the administrative headache that comes with billing, or they want to use their time differently.

Here are a few guidelines to help you determine when it is the right time to outsource your billing to a third-party.

1. Outsource Your Billing When Your Caseload Is Full

Peter Drucker is know the the quote, "Do what you do best, outsource the rest", and that quote could not be more true. As a therapist, when you have a full caseload, clearly you are doing something right. This means that you may not have the time to focus on billing or collections.

When you have a full caseload it means that you need to spend your time focusing on treatment and let other professionals handle the other aspects of your practice. By focusing on your caseload instead of their billing, then you can provide excellent care and your biller can focus on getting you paid.

2. Outsource Your Billing When It Gets Complicated

Billing often starts out simple and then gets complicated and complex. This is a natural progression of events, but it doesn't mean that your billing needs to get lost in the weeds. Once your billing becomes difficult to track or becomes confusing, it is time to contact a biller. Many therapists will start doing their own billing and as soon as claims get rejected, it becomes more complicated than what they originally hoped for.

A good biller should be able to take a complex billing situation and sort it out for the provider. This saves the provider time on the phone with insurance companies or with patients, and allows them to focus on providing the best care they can without claims hanging over their head.

3. Outsource Your Billing When Cash Flow Isn't An Issue

A key barrier that providers have when determining whether to outsource billing or not is the price that billing can carry. To add insult to injury, billers vary in quality as much as they vary in pricing models. In a future blog we will discuss the models of billing and the risks they present.

When outsourcing billing, find a biller who is cost-effective for your business. Unlike other services, cost is not always a reflection of quality. When you buy a luxury car you get a product of commensurate value. However, when it comes to billing companies, you can spend a lot of money and still get a bad service. Therefore, only outsource when cash flow is not an issue.

4. Outsource Your Billing When You Have An Excellent Recommendation For a Biller

Because of the cost associated with hiring a biller, a recommendation for a good biller from a colleague is going to be very important. When you have someone in your field who recommends a biller that will be your biggest indicator when choosing someone.

Make sure that your biller is competent, has good character, and is a good fit with you and the culture of your practice.

If you follow these four guidelines, you can find the right time to outsource your billing and keep growing a successful practice. Ultimately, if doing your own billing seems stressful with 1 patient or 30, look into outsourcing that task. There are plenty of competent billing services out there that are cost effective and finding percentage based fee structures will help adjust the cost based on your case load volume.

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