If you’ve been thinking about starting a new ABA therapy business as a solo practitioner or you have a thriving ABA therapy practice and you want to bring it fully up to the speed of 21st Century business, then you need to abandon the outdated paper or pencil form of documentation. This is an essential step toward a lot of other important innovations. Not the least of which is streamlining your medical billing practices for decreased errors, as well as a more consistent revenue stream.
Of course, ditching manual documentation and the data entry process isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Especially if you’ve been ingrained with the old paper and pencil method for years. If you’re ready to go digital, with your ABA documentation and medical billing practices then you might want to consider adopting some or all of the following tips.
Audit Your Existing Software & Digital Documenting Processes
Automating your medical billing and documenting processes will allow you to securely store clients’ personal information as well as opening up access to online scheduling. This will instantly buy you a lot of time over the old-fashioned manual entry.
Auditing your current systems and embracing the will to change to more effective technology helps streamline the scheduling process. This will further help automate the billing process by seamlessly accessing key data that is directly connected to the patient. Many times, the form auto-fills all the essential contact information as it flows into your billing system. This then generates claims, according to services scheduled and annotates them with the services rendered.
While auditing your old software, consider the amount of time you are currently spending on manually billing for your funders and apply a dollar value to that time based on your average hourly rate. Make sure to take into account items such:
- Researching patient demographic information
- Calculating service units
- Adding pertinent claim information to your form
- The amount of time spent keying into payer portals
- Time lost to tracking billing compliance
- Time spent on tracking claim reconciliation
- Funds lost to claim rejections from manual coding errors
- The financial impact of delays in the claims process from claim errors
It’s also worth noting that these days a lot of payers have also been forcing providers to use electronic transmission systems for claim submissions. Most have gotten to the point where they are adding fees for accepting manual paper claims which should be considered when looking into your billing options. You need to also make sure that you are taking these fees into account when auditing the cost of your current manual system.
Investigate Automated Billing Solutions
A lot of digital billing systems typically have either a built-in billing module or some type of integrated connection to a billing system that allows for electronic claim submissions with state-of-the-art tracking. Availing yourself of these systems will go a long way toward helping determine the system that will best suit the needs of your business and will allow you to manage your revenue
Things you should look for in a billing software system include:
- Process automation
- Clearinghouse connection
- The payers available through that clearinghouse
- The Ability to handle unique billing scenarios
- Software for complex payor requirements
- Reporting visibility into key functional areas
- Systems for handling claim denials
- The ability to track & detect under or over payments
- Contract rate comparisons
- Claim denial and general A/R management abilities
- Claim tracking
- Easy ERA connections for payment and posting reporting
- Patient billing features
- The ability to produce electronic statements
- Giving payers and patients the ability to pay online
Assign Someone To Manage the New Billing Process
As an ABA practitioner, and a real-world small business owner your focus needs to be on treating patients and expanding the clinical scope of your practice. Assigning an administrative professional to manage the billing process should be the point of contact during the implementation of the new system and should be ready to fully learn the system before anyone else in the organization.
This individual needs to be empowered and be responsible for creating things like digital workflows, tracking, scheduling, and new patient, and documenting processes that are established by your business. They should be prepared to create training documents on the system related to billing as it pertains to your ABA practice.
Create a Standards & Practices Manual for All Facets Of Your ABA Practice
Once you have the necessary tools, components, software, and administrative staff with proper access to your system you can set to work creating an SOP or “Standard Operating Procedures” manual. It is essentially a group of in-house policies that clearly outline steps to take within the system to manage the full RCM process.
This can include a broad range of things including how to handle:
- Patient intake procedures
- Documentation of billing information
- Verification of benefits
- Authorization Documentation
- Incomplete/Un-verified Appointments
- Claims Auditing
- Claims Scrubbing
- Policies for initial billing rejection
- Management practices
- Denial procedures
- Rejection procedures
- Patient Billing
- Audit Procedures
- Reporting practices
Outsource Medical Billing Practices to a Third Party Agency
Even the simplest of coding or medical billing errors can lead to claim rejections, claim denials, and painful delays in claims being paid. Any of these issues can cause inconsistencies in your new ABA practice’s revenue stream. This alone can make or break your success in the early years of establishing and growing your new business.
One of the best ways to prevent these problems is to outsource your medical billing and coding to a third-party agency like Operant Billing Solutions. These are highly trained and experienced professionals who know the finer points of the medical billing and coding process. They turn a trained eye to every claim produced to ensure that it is free of errors and coded in a way that a lot of insurance companies and public health institutions prefer.
This will go a long way toward preventing the kind of claim denials, claim rejections, and delays that can hamper your ABA practice’s revenue stream.