The Intake

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10 questions to ask before hiring a medical billing service

Looking for the right medical billing service? Check out our list of 10 essential questions to ask before making your decision

questions to ask medical billing company

At a Glance

  • The blog post provides a guide to help healthcare practices select a medical billing service.
  • Ask about services, cost, references, data ownership, staff training, professional affiliations, compliance plans, transparency guarantees, electronic services, and limitations.
  • Cost of service should ideally be under 8% of the collected charges, with lower percentages as collections increase. Other potential costs like start-up fees and termination fees should also be clarified.

If you have decided to hire a medical billing service for your practice, you now have a big decision to make — who will you choose to manage this crucial aspect of your business’ success? 

There are a lot of choices out there. 

You may have some questions specific to your needs, but the following 10 questions should apply to any practice. 

1. What will medical billing services cost? 

This is always the main thing on everyone’s mind. The rate should be under 8% of the collected charges. A percentage is a better option than a flat rate — the percentage usually goes down as your collections go up. Also, ask about start-up fees, termination fees, data conversion fees, and any other additional costs. Some companies charge extra for patient collections follow-up and other services.

2. Can the medical billing company provide references? 

Have they worked with practices similar to yours in size, scope, and/or specialty? Do they have testimonials, or can you call someone directly for a reference?

3. Who owns your billing data? 

Your billing data should belong to you, and you should be able to take it with you if you choose to change services or bring your billing in-house.

4. What kind of training does the staff have? 

Are they certified? What type of ongoing training do they receive? Are they using the most up-to-date resources and guidebooks? For example, Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)  and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)?

5. Do they have any professional affiliations?

Does the service or its employees maintain professional affiliations such as Healthcare Business Management Association (HBMA)?

6. Do they have a compliance plan in place? 

Are they HIPAA compliant? What are their security protocols?

7. Who will actually be working on your account? 

Can you meet (on the phone or in person) the actual people who will be working on your account?

8. Can you get a guarantee of transparency? 

How often will you receive reports showing the financial state of your business and the billing service’s progress? How will they communicate with you, and how involved will you be in the billing processes?

9. Are most of their services electronic? 

Nowadays, most of the processes should be electronic, from eligibility verification to remittances. They should also offer credit card processing and online bill pay for patients.

10. Are there billing follow-up items that they don’t handle? 

Don’t assume that a billing service will do everything or that everything is included in your rate. Ask upfront and be sure you know if there are services that they don’t offer.

Use these questions to help guide your decision when selecting a medical billing service. It’s worth it to take your time evaluating your options to get the best service possible from the start. 

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Written by

Lea Chatham, medical practice writer

Lea Chatham writes educational articles to help medical practices improve their businesses. Lea has written for Medical Manager Health Systems, WebMD Practice Services, Emdeon, and Sage Software.

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