When one of your clients is in pain, sick, or just needing your help, you know how to diagnose and take action to get them back on the road to recovery. But what about when you have a thriving turnaround of patients each day and yet your practice is losing money? Do you know how to diagnose that problem and take action? While you didn’t get into physical therapy to become an accountant or an adjunct to the IRS, billing insurance companies is a fact of life. It can make the difference between life and death for your business. Do it right, you thrive. Do it wrong and you can find yourself closing your doors despite being loved by patients. Why?
Leaving It All to Software
Many people in a start-up situation for physical therapy practice think that an employee can handle billing and collecting from insurance companies. Therefore they buy a pricey software package that’s been slickly marketed and promises to automate admin processes to the max. Typically, it will include billing and accounting capabilities. You put in your clients, put in your services, put in your fees… it should be smooth sailing from there. Um, no. Software is not an answer. It’s a tool. It depends entirely on the information put into it and on the person operating it being extremely competent in many areas. Then there’s an endless stream of updates. It’s hard for someone working the desk at a PT practice to keep up with the changes to the software, let alone the changes to dozens of major insurance companies and their policies and procedures. A ‘Let the technology handle it’ approach inevitably leads to claims being filed incorrectly and major delays getting paid. Lack of income spells disaster for a practice.
For your business to work smoothly, you need good people who not only work hard but are knowledgeable. Billing is one aspect of your business that requires a sure footing in the numbers as well as the small aspects of your practice. It’s a much bigger job than most people realize. It’s a full-time job on its own. We’ve seen too many times how turning billing over to someone already performing other duties causes them to be overworked. When employees are stretched too thin, they become tired and make mistakes. They’re only human! But every mistake can be very costly in terms of delayed income. Physical therapy practices regularly go out of business because the billed money doesn’t come in quickly enough to pay staff and expenses. Or because the overworked, overstressed employees leave.
Fouled Up Insurance Claims
Insurance claims are the most grueling, tedious and complicated aspect of billing. There are specific deadlines and rules that vary from company to company; if you don’t adhere to them, your practice doesn’t get paid. The same applies when forms aren’t handled correctly and claims are denied. Software programs change regularly. Forms change. Mistakes occur. Miscommunications take place. Even the insurers foul up claims. Add them all up and you don’t get paid on time, even not at all. This represents a lot of money and can spell doom for a PT practice.
If you don’t follow the multitude of rules about billing and coding set forth by your state and the insurance companies, your practice will have no income at all. Being slow at claiming and billing costs money. Not using the right codes costs money and can torpedo your business beyond repair, especially if insurance companies choose to not let you take their plans.
How to Survive and Thrive?
The answer is simple. Hire a professional company that specializes in physical therapy billing and collection solutions. Stats show that a good billing and collection service collects income faster and generates better returns per claim. Suddenly you have in your corner specialists in the field whose very livelihood depends on being up to date with everything insurance-related and serving you. If you don’t get paid, neither do they. Considering too many physical therapy practices close their doors because they can’t get revenue flowing in fast enough from insurance claims, hiring a billing and collection service can literally mean the difference between life and death for your practice. Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Jet PT Billing and a clickable link back to this page.best physical therapy billing company, physical therapy billing and collections, pt billing service