When you run an independent physician practice, accurate patient billing is essential.  A failure to keep on top of this can lead to severe consequences, and not only with a lack of financial funds.  Errors with Medicaid and Medicare billing, for example, could lead to your practice being unable to bill for these entities for several years, especially if the fault is deemed to be caused by negligence.

However, it is possible to reduce the number of medical billing errors that your practice makes.  We have explained some of the ways to do this below.

1. Perform a Medical Claims Audit

There are a few different types of healthcare audits that you could consider implementing in your practice.  These can help to ensure your practice is adhering to regulations and managing money correctly, and can also help you discover areas where internal improvements can be made.  A medical claim audit of any kind can be completed in-house or by a medical claims auditor, and they are useful no matter how large or small your practice is.  It’s best to commit to doing these on a regular basis so as to reduce risk and ensure your practice is billing as it should.

2. Conduct Regular Training

Healthcare is a continuously changing industry.  Because of this, it is vital that you keep your healthcare staff trained and up to date with the regulations, especially when it comes to Medicaid and Medicare.  It’s also important to ensure your staff are aware of the regulations they need to follow when coding and billing updates occur.  Often, a one-day course is all that is required, so this is not something that your practice should neglect.

3. Make Use of Technology

EHR (Electronic Health Record) systems can aid your practice massively.  Not only do they make it easier to access patient data, but they also help physicians to automatically check for billing errors before bills are sent out.  In addition, because a patient’s data only needs to be entered into an EHR system once, there is less chance of there being any issues concerning patient data.  In fact, so long as the patient data was entered correctly, this error should be virtually eliminated.

4. Always Verify Insurance

One of the main reasons that medical billing claims get denied is because the practice failed to verify the patient’s insurance before the procedure took place.  It is therefore very important that you perform due diligence with both new and existing patients.  Before you provide a service, take the time to phone the insurer to ensure that the service is covered under the patient’s insurance plan.  You should also check the coverage period, assess copayments and deductibles, and request information on any exclusions.  As the number one reason claims get denied, verifying insurance in advance could save your practice a lot of time and money.

While mistakes in medical billing are very difficult to completely eliminate, it’s definitely possible to reduce them.