In today’s medical practice landscape, it is clear that earning a healthy bottom line goes beyond just the practice of medicine and into the administrative task of collecting revenues. Where billing for the medical industry continues to become increasingly difficult and time consuming, this has caused a reduction in productivity for medical staff and other in house employees from providing optimum patient care. It is no secret now that effective medical billing, that ensures a healthy and smooth return of medical office revenues, can require skilled, qualified billers and coders to accurately record register and keep track of patient accounts.
Medical billing and coding today has become more and more complex that it requires a billing professional to handle it. Every duty performed in a medical office has a special code that is assigned to it and must be coded properly to perform proper billing functions. The World Health Organization (WHO) who has created this common language used for medical billing, called the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), assigns these codes. Billers and coders need to understand and stay on top of the thousands of codes that exist and continue to be created and improved. The 10th and latest revision of these codes is called ICD-10 and compliance with it will be required by all medical practices by October 1st, 2014. ICD-10, with approximately 68,000 available codes, will be much more complex than its predecessor ICD-9 with only about 13,000 codes and will be a more flexible system to allow for new codes to be easily added and will require much more specific detail when logging. The effect of these changes will require a much greater proficiency in billing and coding than already exists to collect what has been earned for services rendered.
Utilizing a billing and collections management service can have extensive benefits to practices small and large. Some important benefits include: 1) proper attention can remain on the patient due to reduced amounts of time by in-house staff to handle billing and collections and staying abreast of the ever-changing law, rules and regulations pertaining to insurance, billing and medical records, 2) reduction in expenses including training and staffing of an in-house medical biller along with their salaries accompanying taxes and benefits, and 3) increased and timely cash flow due to immediate submissions and proper follow ups.
With the continuously changing medical billing and claims practice with its accompanying laws and regulations causing a loss of practice productivity due to its complex processes, it is clear the need, and almost requirement, for professional assistance in this field is rapidly growing. With the many benefits that can come from this type of service, it should be forethought of every thriving practice to employ the professional assistance of a medical billing and collections specialist and management service.