For dentists that operate their own practice, or work in a small practice with other dentists, managing the medical billing can become an incredibly important and time-consuming task. In some respects it can become one of the most important tasks overall because, without accurate and timely billing, the practice doesn’t get payment from insurers and other payers, leading to lost and potentially irretrievable revenue.
Even though billing is such a crucial component of a successful and profitable practice, many dentists insist on trying to manage their own billing using in-house talent or existing office and administrative staff. This is never a good idea, and there is a list of reasons why that we’ll get into later. Simply put, you need someone experienced and expertly trained to handle your dental practice’s medical billing and collections so that you can focus on doing what you do best, providing leading services and treatments to your patients.
What Is Medical Billing For Dentists?
Just like any other healthcare provider or practitioner, dentists need to bill their patients and their patients’ insurance companies promptly so that they can be paid for the services, treatments, and products that they provide. Medical billing services can handle this for your practice, and in many cases that means being assigned a personal expert or team of experts that are responsible for your billing.
They work on your account day in and day out, and during the time that you are partnered with a medical billing service for dentists, you will undoubtedly be able to get to know them better and see them as essential team members. In turn, they will be able to examine your current billing process on a day-to-day basis, isolating problems and finding out where process improvements can be made.
Traditionally, most practices handle their billing with in-house staff. Commonly this task would be shared by dental assistants, administrative and front desk staff, and others. Not only does this contribute to inconsistent performance and results, but it can make troubleshooting difficult or even impossible.
Outsourcing this workload allows you to cut the monetary and time cost of training and continuing education for billing personnel. The practice would even be able to cut hours for those who have been overscheduled to make up for shortcomings in billing or collections. All of your essential billing work would be handled, regardless of whether you are PPO-dependent or operate on fee-for-service, your billing and service can be made more consistent and of higher quality.
Why Outsource Medical Billing For Dentists?
If you have been considering partnering with an outside firm to handle the medical billing needs for your dental practice, you’ve probably wondered what the reasons are that other practices may outsource their billing services. Understanding why colleagues and competitors are making similar changes to their business can help you find value in the move for your business as well.
It can also give you valuable insight into the problems that other practices may be experiencing and seeking solutions for, which can make you feel less alone in your own struggles to keep your practice profitable and efficient.
Here are some of the biggest reasons that dental medical billing is often outsourced:
- The practice is brand new and the manager or administrator understands it is easier to build good billing habits than to correct and rebuild poor habits.
- The provider or practitioner needs help understanding and executing the billing process or any part of it.
- The practice is still in the process of getting credentialed.
- There are inaccurate claims and posting in the practice when billing is handled in-house.
- The practice needs additional help resolving problem claims and denials.
- The practice needs to shorten its billing and payment cycle.
- The dental office manager is busy with other tasks or is not credentialed for billing
- The training and constant regulatory compliance that is required to maintain billing personnel in-house can become significant.
- The practice has a high insurance aging report or a low percentage of collections success.
- The practice is experiencing staffing issues and needs to lighten the load for in-house staff.
In-House vs Outsourced Medical Billing For Dentists
There are a number of ways that outsourced medical billing for dentists can provide benefits to the practice. The biggest issue with maintaining in-house billing is that it’s an employee that is going to draw a salary, plus benefits, as well as the cost of ongoing training, compliance, and regulatory adherence. Outsourcing can cut the cost nearly in half.
The outsourced personnel work for a firm whose primary business is to provide accurate, skilled, and experienced billing professionals. This means they have a massive pool of resources and experts at their disposal, as well as formally structured training, consistent industry updates, and more. Codes and processes are constantly changing and updating, and your outsourced billing staff will automatically be kept apprised of all needed updates and information by their employer or firm.
Is My Dental Practice A Good Fit For Outsourced Medical Billing?
There are countless dental offices that absolutely require outsourced billing services, and some that either might not be a good fit, or might not see enough value in it to make the transition worth it. The decision isn’t one to take lightly, and it definitely isn’t one that is going to be the same for everyone. There are also some challenges that will be experienced by anyone switching over to outsourced billing talent, and some challenges that may be unique to your office. Here are some signs that you should seriously consider outsourcing.
If You’re Building A New Practice
If you think it’ll be easier to get your practice up and running, then decide what to do about your billing needs, you’re going to find yourself in a bind later. You need to have a streamlined and efficient billing system if your practice is going to generate consistent revenue, and waiting to make arrangements for that can put your revenue and collections 3 months or even 6 months behind.
If Your Collection Rate Is Below 98%
Even if your office staff is able to manage billing tasks, can they take on collections and claim corrections as well? If your office collection and aging reports show that your collection rate is less than 98% or that your unpaid claims >30 days account for more than 10% of your aging report, it could be time to seriously consider working with a billing partner.
If You’re Losing Patients
If you have noticed that your patient drop-off rate has increased lately, you should be drilling into your administrative team and considering outsourcing. Accurate billing is one of the leading reasons that patients change dentists, and if your staff is overworked and billing inaccurately, it can cost you patients and revenue. Letting a billing partner handle the billing keeps it accurate, and lets your office staff focus on the daily operations they need to focus on.
AMS Solutions Can Be Your Dental Medical Billing Partner
If you think it might be time to look deeper into working with one of the leading billing services in the area, reach out to AMS Solutions and discuss your needs with one of our experts.