Medical billing is a complex, time-consuming and expensive process when completed in-house. Unfortunately, employee turn-over, leaves of absence or lack of skilled talent, which have become more and more prevalent in recent years, can lead to serious shortages within a practice’s medical billing department.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to bolster your billing resources. You can hire general billers from a temp staffing agency. Or, you can hire experienced medical billers from a medical billing company.
Weighing your options
Although there’s nothing wrong with choosing the temp agency route, there’s a classic saying to keep in the back of your mind: “You get what you pay for…”
While temps certainly fill a talent void by starting right away, they’re typically inexperienced when it comes to medical billing and the software systems your facility is using. These problems translate into low productivity with high oversight and training on your end.
A smart option is to contract with a medical billing company, which provides experienced, turn-key medical billing specialist – or team of specialists, if needed. These specialists, who often work from a remote location, hit the ground running and yield tremendous results with absolutely no supervision or training. Yes, the hourly rate for a medical billing specialist could be 2-3x the cost of a temp agency staffing person. However, the results are 5-10x better.
Understanding the differences: Temp agency vs. medical billing company
As you can see in the chart below, temp agencies and medical billing companies differ in a number of ways. It’s pretty clear that highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced medical billers have a much higher probability of strengthening your revenue cycle management, plus other areas of your practice. Finding this level of talent within a temp agency isn’t impossible – but very unlikely.
Here, we’ll continue to break down some of the key differences between temp agencies and medical billing companies so you can make the best decision for your practice.
Generalists vs. highly trained specialists
Medical billing specialists require no training. They’re also experts on specific components within the revenue cycle (AR, payment posting, coding, etc.) and immediately get to work. In contrast, generalists possess minimal experience in medical billing and may require extensive training to get familiar with industry terms, payers and processes. They’re probably not familiar with your software system(s), either.
Why waste your valuable time training someone when you can have all tasks lifted off of your plate right away? You and other staff members can actually focus on your own responsibilities (insurance pre-authorizations, scheduling, patient inquiries, etc.), leading to better results.
Industry expertise vs. general expertise
As evidenced by the introductory email below, temp agencies offer generalized expertise across a variety of industries from finance and legal to non-profit and technology. Medical billing isn’t the primary area of focus.
Medical billing companies staff their teams with people who possess extensive experience in medical billing. They understand the current rules and regulations and stay up to date with the ever-changing healthcare landscape. They also pay keen attention to payer habits and idiosyncrasies, which can be critical to speeding up the claims submission and payment processes.
Here’s another way to think about it. If you had an alarming medical issue, wouldn’t you prefer an experienced specialist who can analyze your symptoms, order the right tests and develop an appropriate treatment plan compared to a generalist who may not have dealt with the issue before…or ever?
Office space requirements vs. remote working
With staff from a temp agency, you typically have to make room for them within your office and order equipment, costing you space and money. On the flip side, medical billing companies take care of all of this for you. Their specialists work from a remote location in the U.S. and they already have all of the equipment needed to get the billing work done.
No added value vs. extra perks
After some training, temp agency billers can handle the majority of tasks but they offer little to no added value. Their only focus is getting the to-do list done whereas a medical billing expert can advise on best practices and trends, thus elevating the knowledge of your team. They also offer a host of other capabilities such as a dedicated call center for patient questions, practice management consulting, reporting and workflow recommendations.
Often times, these extra perks are offered by medical billing companies to foster a positive and long-term working relationship. They come at little to no extra cost on your monthly invoice.
Low productivity, high oversight vs. high productivity, low oversight
Do you or other staff members have time to manage a temp agency staffer? Probably not. But constant oversight is common when going with a temp agency for medical billing. They require frequent check ins, come to you with questions and cause errors that result in claim denials or delays. You don’t have time for these interruptions, especially when patients are your top priority.
A medical billing company can get everything done without you having to look over their shoulders. You can breathe easier knowing that medical billing is 100% off of your plate.
Low fees, low ROI vs. higher fees, high ROI
A temp staffing agency may come with lower fees, but that’s only a short-term benefit. Given their billers’ lack of training and expertise, you may end up experiencing long A/R delays, coding deficiencies, lower reimbursements and reduced cash flow. Again, you don’t have time for any of these problems.
If you’re looking to maximize ROI, spend the extra dollars to get a specialist in the door. A medical billing company comes in and quickly optimizes your coding and billing workflows for long-term gains. Timely, clean claim submissions pave the way for maximum reimbursements in the shortest period of time. Denied claims aren’t ignored, they are corrected and resubmitted daily. Claims requiring appeals are also worked on every day. All of this leads to greater cash flow and increased revenue.
As with any big hiring decision, it’s important to take your time vetting potential partners. Given the complexity of medical billing, we highly recommend contracting with an experienced and specialized partner who can impact your cash flow and financial health from the start.
Since 2003, CPa Medical Billing (CPaMB) has elevated the financial health of private practices, health centers, and medical groups across the U.S. Our highly trained, highly experienced medical billing specialists are all U.S. based and operate together from in one office. Our engagements are flexible and tailored to your specific needs. If you have questions or would like to contact our team, please call 203-678-9616 or visit https://cpamedicalbilling.com/contact-us/