Not only does using a laboratory medical billing company simplify your billing process, but it can also increase revenue and be a great resource for managing administrative processes as well. The right billing company will even increase your revenue.
There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a medical billing company for a lab. Here are some of the things you will want to look into.
The Size of the Billing Company Is Important
When you are considering hiring laboratory billing services, it is important to consider the prospective company’s size. If a billing company is too small, the absence of one or two employees may slow down your billing cycle.
Larger companies will have a sufficient number of billers to keep the process flowing even if a biller on your account leaves the company altogether. They are also more likely to have highly experienced staff who will be familiar with the details unique to laboratory billing.
Another benefit of a company with a large staff is that they can offer services beyond just billing. On the other hand, you don’t want to work with such a big corporation that your lab is just a drop in the ocean of their clientele, making your needs a low priority.
What Laboratory Revenue Cycle Management Services Do They Provide?
When you are looking for a medical billing company, it is important to consider the services they offer. Some companies stick to basic coding and billing, while others offer services like getting preauthorization’s and credentialing.
Even if you start with a bare-bones billing service, you may later decide to outsource additional services. If you are already set up with a billing company, it saves time and effort (and likely costs) to have them take on the additional tasks, since no startup fees are involved.
Another service a lab billing company should be able to provide is reports. Basic reports allow you to see how many claims have been paid and how much revenue was received.
Better reports will also show you how quickly bills are being paid, what percentage of old AR is being collected, etc. If the billing company is efficient, you will see trends in these metrics start to improve in a short amount of time. Bill payment times get shorter and reimbursement percentages increase with an effective billing program in place.
Old Accounts Receivable Management Should Be Available
When you interview prospective laboratory billing services, make sure they are willing to take over your old AR. This is usually the lowest-profit aspect of medical billing, and many companies don’t want to do the work. It represents a significant amount of money to your business, so don’t abandon it.
Your new lab billing company should be willing to pick up where you leave off and get all the payments that are due to you paid. That includes denied claims, which many won’t touch.
What Level of Customer Support Is Included?
A lab medical billing company should provide customer support that is easy to reach. Your questions or concerns should be addressed without your having to wait for days to reach a real person. Be sure to ask how they handle that.
Automation is becoming the norm across all industries, and sales presentations can make it look like customers get the best service that way. In reality, we all want to talk to a human when we need help, so be sure that is accessible to you before committing to work with a medical billing company.
Satisfied Customers Prove the Company’s Success
The best billing company will have a strong history of providing billing services to the medical laboratory industry. Satisfied customers are the best indicator of that.
Look for testimonials from customers, both for general satisfaction and to see how well the billing company does with issues you are concerned about.
Medical Billing Rates Vary So Be Sure to Inquire
When choosing a medical billing company, consider their rates. Some companies charge a flat rate for their services, and others might charge by the hour or by the project. The best way to go is to find one that only charges a percentage of what they collect.
Medcare MSO uses this model, so if we can’t get you paid on a claim, you don’t owe us for processing it. It’s clear why most medical billers would prefer a different model, but this system is the most efficient for supporting the lab’s revenue.
A Lab Medical Billing Company Should Offer Updated Software
When you outsource lab billing, the company you hire should offer software that is easy to use and includes all facets of the billing process. The software should be able to keep track of patient information, insurance information, and payments.
The billers must have the most up-to-date codes and regulations built in to their software in order to do their job. Turning that responsibility over to a lab billing company saves your lab the expense of updating software every year.
Medicare Lab Billing Guidelines Must Be Familiar
In addition to all the more general aspects of medical billing codes, the Medicare Claims Processing Manual includes a 58-page section on Laboratory Services. Many labs find that a large percentage of their work is covered by Medicare, which makes getting these claims paid especially important.
The guidelines include details for such specific situations as when a hospital lab bills for non-hospital patients. And with topics like “Procedures Not Subject to Fee Schedule When Billed With Blood Products,” it is clear why you need very experienced billers who are familiar with all the special billing and coding instructions that apply to labs.
Medcare MSO has provided laboratory billing services for many years. As a result, our proven system works extremely well for the high volume of relatively low dollar value claims that must be processed every day in a lab environment. Many billers don’t feel it is worth the time to follow up on denied claims for labs, but we recognize the importance of our clients getting paid for all the work they do.