Billing, and more importantly billing collections, is an integral and mission-critical part of any business. In physical therapy practices where Medicare and insurance reimbursements are a major contributor to cash flow health, billing problems can cause tremendous headaches if not managed properly. Reimbursements have been seen to decline in the past couple of years, and in response, physical therapists are stepping up and owning the billing game by exploring different options to ensure the collection is done effectively, and on a timely basis.
Billing Software, Billing Collection Service
Given this current situation, how do you assess between buying a billing software or hiring a billing service for your practice? What are the factors to consider in selecting which model will yield the most benefit for your business? Let’s explore the pros and cons!
Billing Software – everyone from single practitioners to medical billing companies themselves can benefit from having the right billing software; helping to organize and simplify the operational workflow. This system, however, does have its own set of pros and cons:
- Keeping your billing in-house through a billing software gives you full control and allows you to track and resolve issues as quickly as possible
- You do everything on your own, so you save money
- You have all the financial insights and have control over your claims
- Without a solid system of accountability, checks-and-balances, and security protocols; there is potentially a high risk for embezzlement and general employee neglect
- While a billing software helps, overall workflow efficiency may still suffer; as you may overlook forms and claims, among others because you’re too busy with everything else to keep the PT practice running
Billing Service – the option does exist for small-scale practitioners and bigger firms alike to engage the services of experienced third-party groups to handle collections. Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons you’ll need to consider:
- Outsourcing your billing makes the most financial sense in the long run, especially for a thriving practice. Employing a full staff entails cost: from base salaries to additional training, among others. The service provider takes care of staffing; all you have to do is pay them for their services.
- Billing service providers practice transparency in all their accounts. Third-party providers give you comprehensive performance reports and other facts or insights needed to help you run your business more effectively
- Consistency is a plus-factor. Outsourcers perform many critical functions, so you don’t have to worry about tasks slipping or getting out of hand.
- Since services can be paid a percentage of what is collected when collections rise there is more income there to pay the rising cost for the service for having provided that increased income.
- You do not necessarily have full control over your billing. All of the transactions done will now go through the agency. If you need information, you will have to connect with the account manager or anyone who is in charge of the agency you hired. This back-and-forth relay can sometimes cause delay.
- Engaging a third-party medical billing collection agency can require a sizeable investment at the onset.
- It may not be as effective as you expect it to be. The general debt collection atmosphere itself has shown great revenue decline, from $13.3B in 2012 down to $11.4B in 2016. The third party’s track record and stability will be an important, if not deal-breaking factor in your decision making.
The bottom line is, it’s all a matter of choice; there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Generally speaking, smaller scale practices tend to get more benefits from the in-house/billing software model; while others, especially those that can absorb the initial investment, will thrive with a billing collections agency. The key here is to conduct a thorough assessment of your business brand, and your current billing status. Important questions need to be answered first:
- Is it worth the inherent internal and external risks?
- Is your business able to absorb the investment costs?
- Will your business benefit in the long run?
- Will engaging a third party resource, be it a billing service or billing software, be a quick means to an end, or are you just looking to solve things in the long run?
Jet PT Billing was founded by one such PT practitioner himself; Kevin Cappel – backed by a team of financial and industry experts who are best able to help you answer all these important questions, so you can make an informed decision. Call us today (+1) 855-217-5013, or fill out our online form, and get yourself a free assessment!