Billing is the life’s blood of any medical practice. After all, without revenue, your office will soon wither and die. However, when it comes to the question of whether you should outsource your mental health practice’s medical billing, there are a number of pros and cons to consider. This administrative decision, like your choice of business insurance for mental health, can have a significant impact upon the operation of your clinic.
In-House Billing Pros & Cons
While the size of your billing staff will vary according to the volume of patients your practice serves, the basic rule of thumb usually recommends two billers for every three providers in residence. This means you’ll have the costs associated with payroll, equipment, records storage and reference materials to support those people. This is the biggest con associated with in-house billing for most mental health practitioners.
However, on the positive side of the equation, you’ll have your revenue gathering function right there where you can keep an eye on it every day. You can get answers to financial questions right away and, if you sense a need for a change in the process, you can put it into effect immediately. You’ll also have more precise control over your collections processes.
In some cases, a billing company might even put off pursuing a debt because it is perceived as being too small to bother with. However, if you get enough of those “small debts” on the books they add up pretty quickly. An outsourced operative might overlook them while in-house staff is more likely to notice.
Outsourced Billing Pros & Cons
As you have probably surmised, the cons of in-house billing are the pros of outsourcing. You won’t spend money to support a staff, you can skip investing in equipment a staff would need to function and you won’t need to provide a space within which they can work.
You’re also freed of the management functions associated with having that group of people in the office. Further, if you choose a particularly strong company, they’ll have a staff of professionals well versed in billing and collections, which is likely to be more efficient quicker than ramping an in-house team up to speed. If your practice is on the smaller side, these advantages can also give you the heft of a much larger practice.
Of course, you’ll also give over control of one of the most vital administrative functions of your practice to people who have true vested interest in seeing it done well. They’ll keep their jobs regardless, but your practice could go under if they aren’t effective at what they do.
Further, while the up-front costs are lower, you’ll pay a percentage of your income for the privilege of having these people working on your behalf. Depending upon the size of your organization, that percentage might well pencil out to be more than you’d pay to maintain the function in your office.
The Bottom Line
So, should you outsource your mental health practice’s medical billing? Ultimately it depends upon how comfortable you are with someone else being responsible for collecting your revenues. Hands-on people will want to keep it close, while extremely busy people who would rather their focus centered more on patient care will likely prefer the latter. Whatever your choice, consider it carefully, as it can have a definite effect on the profitability of your practice.
Whether you opt to outsource or handle billing in-house, you’ll still need business insurance for mental health to protect against lawsuits and liability. Find the best policy fit with CoverHound.
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