The horror stories of insurance billing mayhem are enough to scare clinicians away from rocking the boat when it comes time to find another billing company. And for Mental Health Clinicians this is even more difficult due to the specialized and sensitive nature of the care. When considering a new billing provider there are some obvious red flags to look out for and there are some important aspects to check off your list before considering a move.
Look for a company that caters to Mental Health only
Chances are, they are experts in just that. Large companies who bill for medical, mental health, dental etc., do have extensive knowledge of insurance billing, but that doesn’t help when you're confused about mental health modifiers & EAP session authorizations. Kind of like being a jack of all trades and a master of none. Companies who specialize in Mental Health billing not only know the in’s and out’s, they also know the struggles that mental health clinicians endure when going up against commercial insurance companies. Chances are, they’ve probably already dealt with an issue you are experiencing and have the immediate answers about how to fix it.
Check the experience
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your consultation. How long have they been in business? How many clients do they have? Have they ever billed for your license type? In the insurance world, knowledge is power and power gets you paid faster. Ask targeted questions to understand whether or not they stay up to date with industry trends, a hugely important factor in the ever-changing world of insurance regulations. What about staff training? Do they consistently hold training sessions for their staff to increase billing efficiency and outcomes. It took years of blood sweat and tears for us to understand the quirks and workarounds so don’t settle for a new-comer who has years of learning the basics ahead of them.
One of the biggest complaints we hear when clinicians call us about switching to our services is “my current billing person does this as a side job and I can never get a hold of them”. While it’s wonderful to support small businesses, if your practice is thriving, you need someone available to you during all business hours, period. Unfortunately, you don’t always get that with a one man show. Companies with multiple billing experts are great for a few reasons. One; if your Account Manager is unavailable, there is a team of other Account Managers to help you. Two; two heads are better than one, and by that I mean when your team is looking for a solution to an issue, there is more expertise to assist in finding that solutions quicker. However, we are all human; someone will always be sick, someone will need to go home to take care of a sick child and oh yeah, most people go on vacation too! Ensure that you will have answers at your fingertips at all times by electing a company that thrives and serves their clients as a team.
Reliability & Responsiveness
Going hand in hand with Account Manager availability, reliability and responsiveness is something that you can also evaluate upfront. First things first, how was the sales process? Did the person you were in contact with answer you in a timely manner? Were they honest and upfront during your conversation or were they overembelishing what they could really do for you? If you have been billing burned before, why not ask for a reference? If a billing company is reputable and provides a good service, they shouldn’t have a problem finding one of their current clients to give you a truthful overview of their experience.
Talk To Your Colleagues
Last but not least, networking. The very best thing to do is speak with colleagues who you trust will tell you about their experiences, good and bad. This will not only help you understand what you want but it will also give you more questions to ask when you have a conversation with a potential billing company. Before the internet, there was this thing called ‘word of mouth’, and it still works today! It’s likely you will feel more comfortable moving forward with a service that was recommended to you by a valued friend or colleague.
Choosing a billing provider isn’t as scary as it seems! Ensure you take the right steps and ask the right questions beforehand and you’re likely to have not only a pleasant onboarding process but an efficient and meaningful professional partnership as well.