You might not think of it this way, but optimizing your billing process can help your mental health practice become more sustainable. The less time you spend on mental health billing, the more time you have for your patients. Furthermore, you will be reimbursed more quickly with a streamlined mental health billing process, thereby improving cash flows. However, mental health billing has numerous moving parts and pieces. So, it can be challenging to determine which process improvements will have the most significant impact. This blog post will look at the top strategies for increasing efficiencies and making mental health billing easier.
# Establish a Clear Collections Process
To ensure your practice’s financial health, you must have a collections process. Establishing a step-by-step approach clarifies procedures for all stakeholders involved, and it can improve revenue cycles significantly by ensuring patients are properly and thoroughly informed of their responsibilities.
All collection processes of your mental health billing should include the following steps:
- Establishment of clear terms
- Collection of patient information
- Verify address
- Get permissions
- Remind patients about co-pays
- Verify eligibility regularly
- Collect up-front
- Payment options
Although this process is detailed and time-consuming at first. But implementing a standard collections process can assist you in collecting reimbursement more quickly, better identifying when to send a bill to collections, and eliminating lack of communication or knowledge as a cause of patient delinquency.
# Manage Claims Properly
Approximately 80% of all mental health bills contain errors, and insurance companies are so strict about proper mental health billing and coding that they will almost certainly be rejected. The cycle of submission, rejection, editing, and resubmission can take weeks, leaving you waiting months to be paid for your services.
Some of the most common sources of error are as follows:
- Incorrect patient information
- Incorrect provider information
- Incorrect insurance information
- Duplicate billing
- Lack of documentation
- No EOB on a denied claim
- Missing or unclear denial codes
As huge time and effort are involved in editing and resubmitting claims, claims must be correct and complete the first time. This includes correctly entering information for any potential errors before submitting them. To avoid mental health billing issues, double-check your claims before submitting them and communicate with the insurance provider if any information is inconsistent, incomplete, or unclear. After submitting the claims, follow up with an insurance company representative to keep them informed of any errors that may have occurred.
# Look for More Ways to Improve
The mental healthcare industry is constantly changing, and physician practices must adapt to maximize efficiency and revenue. You can identify problem areas and implement new solutions by tracking performance and staying up to date on the latest healthcare regulations.
You should take the following steps to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy:
Monitor pending accounts receivable:
The amount of money owed to you is an important figure to monitor to determine the effectiveness of your collection procedure. Tracking this amount from quarter to quarter and comparing it to the previous year’s figures is an excellent way to determine how well your practice’s revenue cycle is performing. An analysis of this type can also assist you in assessing the impact of any newly implemented procedures.
Keep up to date:
Mental health billing rules are constantly changing, and staying current may necessitate ongoing education and training for staff, along with software updates. Keep up to date on any changes that may affect your mental health billing and coding protocols, and seek training if necessary — this is less expensive in the long run than resubmitting claims repeatedly.
Determine problematic accounts:
By establishing clear procedures for dealing with your patient accounts, data will become available to aid in identifying potential issues. Implement methods for tracking problematic behaviors such as late payments, frequently declined payments, or frequent changes in contact information to better target such patients for additional reminders and prepare your mental health billing efficiencies personnel to outsource collections.
Know When to Outsource!
Many healthcare providers are falling behind despite their best efforts to implement proactive mental health billing practices. This is frequently due to the costly time and labor involved in submitting and editing claims and staying up to date on current regulations — duties often piled on top of medical office staff’s existing responsibilities.
If you are also falling into the same trap, it is the right time to outsource your mental health billing and coding to 24/7 Medical Billing Services. They are constantly concerned about your patients, current medical trends, and proper staff management. They also stay updated on the latest coding standards, insurance companies, and mental health billing regulations. It must be remembered that details can slip through the cracks with so much to keep track of, resulting in rejections, denials, and underpayments that cost your medical practice time and money.