medical billing assistant guide

Top 6 Tips for Efficient Medical Billing: A Guide for Medical Billing Assistants

Efficient medical billing in healthcare is vital for practices not just in the present, but also for the future. Medical billing allows providers to both facilitate the flow of revenue through their practice and generate financial forecasts for the future. However, we all know medical billing is complex, and mistakes can be costly. This is why a medical billing assistant should be a crucial element of any healthcare business.

Why is Medical Billing So Important?

A central part of the healthcare process, medical billing is a practice which involves reviewing a patient’s medical record in order to determine how their care is billed and to whom. Without medical billing, it would be next to impossible to recoup costs incurred by healthcare providers. At the heart of this billing is a standardized set of medical coding, this is used to translate care procedures into a recognizable code understood by insurance providers, government bodies, and healthcare companies.

Medical billing and coding may seem straightforward to a medical billing assistant, but the truth is it’s a complicated practice. But efficient medical billing is paramount for the following reasons:

Accurate Billing:

Healthcare providers, along with patients, can suffer significantly when it comes to medical billing errors. This can be avoided when the correct medical codes are applied, making the billing process easier to complete and with less room for error. Additionally, if you can successfully combine medical billing and coding together, you will quickly discover your billing process is completed more quickly.

Up to Date and Accurate Records:

While medical coding is essential for accurate medical billing, it also ensures patient records are kept up to date. Therefore, if a patient has to see another service, the universal language of medical coding removes any confusion over the description of symptoms in the electronic health record (EHR). Promoting this consistent approach delivers up to date health records and enhances patient care going forwards.

Connects Healthcare Providers and Insurers:

Medical insurance is always subject to change, and it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to keep pace with this. You also have to take into account the fact physicians are focused on providing the best possible care for their patients. Not surprisingly, this can lead to confusion and errors between healthcare providers and insurers. But efficient medical billing and coding minimizes this. Both parties can use the medical coding system to confirm the correct costs are applied to a patient’s care.

Generates Healthcare Insights:

The use of medical billing can provide organization with valuable insights into contemporary health and allow them to prepare for the future. Through the use of medical coding, healthcare providers can accurately identify common healthcare trends in their community. This allows healthcare services to regularly review their medical billing data to formulate strategies for the future e.g. bringing in specialists for specific illnesses or investing in medical equipment to cope with increased demand.

What is a Virtual Medical Billing Assistant?

The traditional medical billing assistant has been a mainstay of healthcare providers for many years, but there’s now an exciting alternative. A virtual medical billing assistant does everything their traditional counterpart does, but more effectively. The question is: how?

Well, thanks to advances in internet technology, remote working has been a reality for many years. The high speeds offered by modern internet connections allow huge amounts of data to be transferred in seconds. This means, regardless of geographic location, a virtual medical billing assistant can complete their duties as effectively as their in-house counterpart. All they need is a PC, an internet connection, and a set of login credentials for their client’s IT infrastructure.

How Can a Virtual Medical Billing Assistant Help?

When it comes to daily duties, there’s plenty for a medical billing assistant to take on:

Processing Insurance Claims:

One of the most common tasks for a medical billing assistant to complete is the timely processing of insurance claims. This involves checking a patient’s insurance coverage, verifying the patient’s record has been coded correctly in line with the claim, and submitting the claim. Additionally, a medical billing assistant will be responsible for chasing up any rejected claims.

Medical Coding:

It’s important the correct medical codes are assigned to claims, and these need to be based on the diagnoses provided by clinicians. These codes must match the standardized codes set out by the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision) and CPT (Current Procedural Terminology). Without the correct medical coding in place, claims are likely to be rejected or delayed, so this represents a critical task for a medical billing assistant.

Patient Billing:

A medical billing assistant will be responsible for generating and dispatching invoices to patients. These invoices will cover any services rendered by healthcare professionals as well as detailing deductibles and outstanding balances. Furthermore, patients will often have payment plans in place, so a medical billing assistant will need to factor this into the billing process. Finally, outstanding payments will require chasing up.

Maintaining Financial Documentation:

Governance is a central part of medical billing, and this is why a medical billing assistant needs to keep detailed records of all financial activities. This involves logging patient transactions, insurance claims, and incoming payments. This is usually achieved through medical billing software such as Dr Chrono, Kareo, and AdvancedMD. These systems allow you to track payments as well as generate reports on customer accounts.

Customer Service:

The medical billing process can be very complicated for patients, and this tends to generate numerous queries. And healthcare providers need someone to handle these professionally and efficiently. This is where a medical billing assistant can step up. Using their powerful communication skills, a medical billing assistant will be able to assist with billing inquiries, talk patients through their insurance coverage, and deal with any disputes.

The Top 6 Tips for Efficient Medical Billing

If you want to be the very best medical billing assistant you can be, you need to know the best way to deliver efficient medical billing. And even for a medical billing assistant who thinks they’ve seen and done it all, there’s always room for improvement. Accordingly, if you want to put yourself in that world-class category, you need to know all about these top tips:

Always Verify Patient Information:

Claim denials can be costly for healthcare providers, so it’s important even the very basics of a claim are completed correctly. Before you verify the medical coding required, always double check the patient information. Confirm their demographics and contact details are correct as a priority. Likewise, make sure their health insurance information is up to date, as patients can forget to tell their healthcare providers if their plans have changed.

Plan For Rejections:

Even the slickest operations can have claims rejected or denied, but the quality healthcare providers will always have a contingency plan in place. Therefore, establish a process for handling claim rejections. This could be as simple as always following the provider’s rejection notes or establishing a process whereby the claim is handed over to another medical billing assistant to verify before resubmission. Whatever your solution, it will save time and ensure rejected claims are quickly rectified.

Minimize Coding Errors:

Claims are much easier to process when they’ve been coded correctly. Unfortunately, coding errors are common as the incorrect codes are often selected. This means a medical billing assistant should always strive to scrutinize the codes assigned to medical documentation. If a code appears contradictory or ambiguous, always double check with the healthcare professional who assigned it. This will minimize coding errors and, in turn, enhance the acceptance rate of your claims.

Always Use Medical Software Platforms:

While it’s tempting to customize an Excel spreadsheet to your every need as a medical billing assistant, it’s far from ideal in practice. Instead, you need to utilize all the tools on offer from medical software platforms such as Dr Chrono, Kareo, and AdvancedMD. These platforms give you the opportunity to link data from the EHR, generate invoices, and enhance the accuracy of your medical coding. Relying on the powerful automation of these services allows you to save time and benefit from accuracy.

Establish and Monitor Patient Payment Terms:

It’s vital for healthcare providers to create an efficient workflow for patient payments. However, this isn’t always straightforward, and many patients are unable to pay straight after their appointment. But as long as you’re persistent and professional, you’ll be able to recoup this money. The best way is to regularly monitor where your outstanding payments lie and issue automatic payment reminders. Alternatively, you can contact patients to see if it would be easier for them to set up a payment plan.

Stay Relevant with Medical Billing:

An excellent medical billing assistant will constantly be honing their skills in the medical billing field. Healthcare can change very quickly, so you need to keep one ear to the ground about any developments. For example, changes in medical regulations or updates to ICD-10 codes could have a dramatic impact on the way medical billing is processed. If you’re not up to date with these changes, you could see an unnecessary rise in rejected claims.

Becoming a Virtual Medical Billing Assistant

If you feel you have the potential and skills to become a virtual medical billing assistant, your next step is to find a VA agency who can make this a reality. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place as Hello Rache has been connecting healthcare providers with healthcare virtual assistants for many years. This allows us to put you forwards to established and reliable clients who need a medical billing assistant. So, if you’re ready to take that next step, just click here to start chatting with us.