Podiatry Practice Billing
Small practice billing for the podiatry practice
As a podiatric physician, your goal is to provide patients with the best care and outcomes possible. However, any medical professional must also be a business professional when they operate their own practice or serve as a partner in one. Thus, you have to be aware of the many administrative areas, and costs, in your business.
One of the most important components of practice administration is the billing and collections. It is where all of the money, so important to remaining in business, is managed. And yet, many podiatric physicians or practices are not giving enough attention to this area.
For example, some small medical practices allow far too much employee time for billing, or they rely too heavily on just a single member of the staff. This can cost too much over the long-term, and may be a reason to consider billing services or updates to your system.
What it Should Cost
According to Podiatry Today, the “benchmark for billing and collections in a well-run practice is 6 to 8 percent of gross income.”
Naturally, that makes most ask just what this six to eight percent should cover. Generally, this is going to include data entry, the production of insurance claims (whether manually or electronically), billing for any balances due, collection of any overdue accounts, posting payments to accounts, postage, collection of money for amounts due, and the cost of personnel for all of this work. It also should include the costs for any office space rental and the utilities for this department.
What that list of tasks demonstrates is clear – with up to eight percent of your gross income meant to cover so many things, it is likely that you are not remaining within that recommended window.
Naturally, the type of practice can also make it more challenging to meet the suggested six to eight percent framework as well. For example, if you are strictly offering podiatric surgical treatments, you will take in higher fees for your patients and have a significantly shorter paper trail than a standard podiatric practice with much greater medical detail and treatment per patient, i.e. your office may see many more patients, deal with many fees, and require more staff.
How to Tackle Billing
The options that most small medical practices consider when dealing with their billing operations are:
- Utilizing one staff member specifically tasked to do all billing and deal with insurance issues.
- Utilizing multiple employees and a “billing office” space. Staff typically includes a manager/receptionist who divides time between billing and other office tasks, or a single full-time biller with assistant.
- Billing services done outside of the office through a subcontractor
There are pros and cons to each scenario. For one thing, having limited numbers of staff handling all of these tasks puts you at risk for “hijacking” during reviews. As an example, you have one person doing all of the billing, and when it is time for annual reviews, you need to tread on thin ice because you count on them for so much.
The one or two staff members tasked with this work can also leave without warning by quitting, having an emergency or illness of some kind, or even an argument with another member of the staff or you yourself. They may just decide to quit, and then you are stuck with limited options.
Also, keep in mind that billing rules and regulations are constantly changing. Code changes and updates happen throughout the year and every practice must be in tune with any changes impacting their specialty. Not doing so puts you at risk of denied claims and loss of revenue. Billing staff should routinely attend continuing education seminars to help keep current with changes in coding, billing rules, and standard practices of physician billing.
Keeping everyone happy, at work, and up to date is also costly. This is one of the biggest reasons that outsourcing is becoming the preferred option for podiatric medical billing and collections. Knowing what that six to eight percent window is can allow you to compare costs, and many small medical practices often find this option the most workable.
Medynamix specializes in providing billing services to small medical practices. With experience in Podiatry, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Neurology, Hopsitalists, Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Therapy, and many other specialties, the staff at Medynamix can help your practice improve its financial performance. Contact Medynamix today to discuss a billing solution for your practice. Fill out our online information request form or call our office at (423) 822-5655.