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3 billing mistakes you can’t afford to make anymore

It’s hard to grow your business if it takes forever to process claims. The longer you wait for payments to come through, the more you have to put off investing in new initiatives like expanding your team, attending more conferences or moving to a new work space.

You need to address workflow issues and minimize mistakes if you really want to see a change in how quickly you can access payments.

Here are three billing mistakes to stop making right away.

1. Speeding through staff training

It’s hard to know which codes to put on a claim or which payer to send it to if you haven’t been properly trained. Unfortunately, this is the reality many medical billers are dealing with especially if they’re in entry-level roles.

When billers aren’t shown how to navigate a medical office’s billing software, it’s easy for them to make mistakes. They end up taking more time than average to complete claims and often find themselves re-submitting ones they’ve sent out. The cycle continues until someone steps in to offer better training, but these mistakes can be avoided if new team members are given proper guidance when onboarding.

This is true for long-time billers, too. As new regulations roll out and industry standards change, the people on your billing team are going to look to you for direction. Make sure you’re providing them with all the support they need to succeed. Consider providing quarterly training to cover new initiatives and go over the expectations you’ve set for your staff. Maybe send a few people to conferences and special training opportunities as well.

2. Duplicate billing

It’s worth training physicians and nurses in all parts of the billing process. This encourages better communication across different teams and increases the chances that someone will catch an error before a claim gets sent out. However, it can increase the likelihood of duplicate billing.

Duplicate billing hurts your business in more ways than one. First, it prolongs the billing process and causes confusion for both your staff and patients. Second, you can get fined for duplicate billing if it goes unnoticed by you, but a patient or payer fights the charges. Additionally, you risk losing patients to competitors. If someone has a negative billing experience with you, they’re likely to consider visiting other medical providers who can perform the same services.

Fortunately, you can prevent all these outcomes. The best way to do so is by establishing a clear protocol for how claims will go out. Once you identify the key people whose responsibility it is to send claims, the likelihood of others sending duplicate claims will largely decrease. You can also improve how you track claims as they’re created and when they’re being reviewed by payers.

3. Not verifying patient information including insurance

This is the simplest billing mistake of all, but it adds up significantly. All it takes is for a patient to forget a signature or not fill in all their insurance information for your billing process to get backed up. It’s also possible that a patient’s insurance information has changed since their last visit. And even when everything looks right, your staff has to verify every single patient form they receive.

Otherwise, you risk running into a pile of denied claims to go back through one by one. This hinders the patient experience and causes a lot of frustration for your staff, too.

Luckily, it only takes one or two extra steps in your billing cycle to keep your staff from starting the eligibility and claims filing process all over. Remind your team to confirm patient insurance before an individual is received for treatment. Set the expectation of photocopying insurance during a patient’s first visit and to verify insurance when making future appointments.

There’s no way to guarantee that absolutely no billing mistakes will affect your revenue cycle. However, there are plenty of opportunities for improvement when you’re able to pinpoint the biggest blockers in your workflow. Take a serious look at your revenue-related operations and identify where you can clean things up, then get to work.

By Inovalon