In the network of administrative functions performed to keep our health care services running, medical billing is perhaps the most important. As the link between health care providers and patient insurance companies, the programs and people that perform medical billing ensure that hospitals and doctor's offices receive appropriate compensation, are reliable in collecting on delinquent accounts, and avoid over or undercharging a patient. Their services help to keep health care providers solvent, working closely with physicians, transcriptionists, and medical coders to pass on the right information in the right format.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between medical transcription, coding, and billing?
Medical transcription, coding, and billing are three parts of one contiguous process. While a medical transcriptionist or scribe will focus on literally transcribing everything included in a doctor's report, a medical coder will assign alpha-numerical values to all evaluations, tests, and procedures performed. Your medical billing service then uses those codes to make the appropriate reimbursement request via the patient's individual insurance company. It is not uncommon for the medical billing service to be in close contact with the physician, transcriptionist, and coder to ensure that their request is as accurate as possible in order to improve reimbursement rates.
What are the disadvantages of outsourced medical billing?
The only real disadvantage to outsourcing medical billing is the potential loss of direct control. There may need to be some slight alterations if your record-keeping practices are less than optimal, but this is typically a change for the better. However, if you would rather handle medical billing in-house, then you will need to make sure your staff are using an established software designed to streamline the process as much as possible.
What should I look for in medical billing software?
If you are looking for a new medical billing software, then there are three factors you should keep in mind: track record, responsiveness, and reporting. Essentially, you want your medical billing software to have a positive user history with a lot of user reviews that showcase the program as user friendly with quick response times to any issues with the program. Additionally, look for a software with strong data reporting features. By evaluating monthly numbers, you can track how efficient your current medical billing team is and address issues as needed.
How much does medical billing cost?
Medical billing services typically charge based on volume and the number of included specializations. However, a good rule of thumb is that many medical billing services will charge a percentage of what is billed each month. If you run a standard general practice, you can expect to be charged 8-9%; whereas, if you run a more specialized practice, then 10-11% is more standard. In terms of software, a cloud-based system will usually charge $50-$125 per month.