One of the most important things in a medical practice is hiring billing staff. This task may sound easy, but it’s not. In today’s medical environment, knowing even basic things to look for when hiring billing staff will help you establish a practice that runs successfully.
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Explore This IssueFebruary 2010
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The Desired Qualities
The first thing to look for, above all else, is knowledge of the industry, because the medical billing industry is filled with rules and regulations. Medicare regulations alone are incredibly complex, and the last thing you want is a biller who has to look up every regulation before sending out a bill. Your new hire will need to have a solid command of the rules of the industry, or productivity will suffer greatly.
Excellent typing skills are also essential, because most medical billing involves typing—and a lot of it. Your new billing staff will have to type order pages, patient accounts, and many other items. Plus, they will be doing this all day. Fast and efficient typing skills are critical, because your practice will depend on its billing staff to be able to file a certain amount of claims each day in order to stay profitable.
Hiring someone with a keen eye for details is crucial. When a bill charged to an insurance carrier is missing the smallest detail—such as the correct patient identification number—the claim will be denied. Many payers have a claim filing limitation, and if your biller is not detailed or organized, he or she could miss a filing deadline, resulting in missed revenue.
Because the medical billing world deals with a great deal of private information, hire medical billing staff that are trustworthy. Your billers will see information such as patient files, and you must be confident that they will keep everything confidential to avoid any lawsuits.
Rheumatologists may find it daunting to interview and hire new medical billers, because having the wrong person as your biller can cause major trouble for a medical practice. Obtaining answers to key questions will help you ascertain if you have a good, bad, or great potential biller, and if he or she will fit into your practice. Here are some questions to ask billing candidates:
- Do you have any billing experience and, if so, how much?
- Do you know how to run an accounts receivable report?
- Do you have any experience with the practice’s billing software?
- Do you have any experience in rheumatology?
- Do you know the correct diagnoses codes?
- Do you know the common rheumatology procedure codes?
- Can you decipher an explanation of benefits from different carriers? Do you know how to tell what the physician is owed by the carrier and what is owed by the patient?
- Do you know how to research medical policies to aid in the rebuttal of denials?
- Do you have good organization skills? (This is needed because the biller will have to deal with multiple insurance carriers each day.)
Medical billing is harder than most people think; this is why it is important to hire medical billing staff who can handle the job well.