Private practice owners who are busy treating patients, managing their business and handling paperwork (oh, and not to mention juggling your personal life too) are faced with a billing issues that can be frightening.
There are several options: hire someone to do your billing (internally or externally), use a billing software or do it yourself. No matter which option you choose, mistakes can happen and money can be lost.
If you haven’t had business or finance training, this will be one of the most challenges parts to running your business. In fact, not understanding finances is one of the top reasons private practices fail.
One thing is for sure, ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignoring denials or past-due balances will cause you to lose money. Worse, offering patient favors and overbilling can even lead to lawsuits and even jail-time. You’re building your own haunted house! (See what I did there?)
Billing may be tricky and time-consuming, but it is one thing that cannot be overlooked without consequence.
The Trick: In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve highlighted the most common billing mistakes private practice owners make…
The Treat: There are solutions for all of these mistakes!
If you recognize any of these within your business, take the time to correct these mistakes and you’ll be on your way to a brighter future.
Overbilling is upcoding or charging for services that were not actually provided to the patient. Overbilling or overcharging can be considered embezzlement.
Solution: Only provide services to patients that are considered medically necessary by their treatment plans. Only bill for the services you provide.
Mistake: Not Understanding Contracts
Do you know the terms of your third-party payer contracts? If not, payers will take advantage of you and you will be at risk of inaccurate reimbursements, untimely payments and declines.
Solution: Know the timely filing period from the date of service that you must submit a claim for service. Often insurance companies will immediately decline a claim due to not meeting their deadline.
Make sure you know exactly what was negotiated in the contract and follow those financial rules. Many people sign their contract and throw it in a drawer and never look at it again. Insurance is a partner with your practice; you should check in with them regularly.
Mistake: Offering Patient Favors
If you are offering a patient more units of service without additional fees or waiving fees altogether, you have to do this for every patient, otherwise it is considered discriminatory. How hard do you think it is to make money this way? Moreover, if you waive a fee for someone with a commercial plan, you could get flagged for fraud.
Solution: If you want to offer an occasional discount, it should be available to all of your patients. Make sure you are monitoring your charges and any money given away. Be careful with your money and monitor your employees so they don’t give anything away for free.
One more tip: Don’t forget, insurance companies make mistakes too! Someone in your practice needs to get on the phone with them right away in case of a denial or rejection.
Don’t let these frights cause you to lose control of your finances. Stay on top of your billing and maintain an error-proof system. For more tips on creating an effective billing process click here. The less mistakes made, the more money you’ll collect!