Medical billers must have a comprehensive knowledge of various aspects of physician practice management. They must know billing and coding as well as explain the costs of medical treatment to a patient in person. They must also know Medicare/Medicaid regulations, HIPAA, and other complex state/federal guidelines, insurance requirements, and more.
None of that compares, however, to the challenges of explaining a billing statement to a patient over the phone. Even for experienced in-house billers, this duty is fraught with challenges. They very likely have other stressful office duties, which makes even the basic requirement of speaking in a pleasant tone difficult.
For a professional medical billing company, explaining patient statements over the phone is a routine part of the job. If your in-house staff has undue stress from this, consider the following…
4 Reasons to Consider Outsourcing Your Medical Billing and Coding to a Professional Billing Company
1. Remembering That the Patient Could Be Sick and/or Suffering
Put yourself in their shoes: patients have just been through a painful ordeal, often emotionally as well as physically. The last thing they want is to go over complicated billing. This is especially true for someone who does not seem very understanding.
A professional biller and coder is highly trained to be calm and understanding of a patient’s short temper. This helps to defuse most situations and allow the billing statement to be clearly explained, especially regarding procedural coding. Visit Wikipedia.com to learn more about the ICD-10 procedure coding system.
2. Empathizing with Patient Questions
There’s an old adage that rings true here: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”
Patients who are sick and/or in pain, have just overcome considerable odds, and/or are worried about how much they will have to shell out for their treatment. They are likely to have a number of questions about even the smallest of issues.
Billing can be just as daunting to a layperson as any other aspect of healthcare. That’s why professional medical billers and coders have been trained on the many nuances of it.
Furthermore, they also have been trained not to get frustrated. After all, they likely got into healthcare for the same reason you did – to help people.
3. Following Up with Patients
In a busy office, follow-up calls can get lost in the shuffle. It’s not intentional, but it happens regularly.
When you partner with an outsourced medical biller, at least one team member is assigned your office. This means they are dedicated to addressing the concerns of your patients, even if they must follow up week after week for several weeks or months.
Sometimes, letting patients know that their case is being actively monitored is enough to keep them assured, especially during lengthy cases.
4. Making It Easy for Patients to Return Calls
When staff members are assigned to a case, they make it easy on patients to return calls. They leave personal contact numbers or even direct numbers so that patients can feel comfortable getting in touch anytime.
This is another simple act, which an in-house staff member understandably might not be comfortable with, that helps assure patients that someone is on their side.