Physical Therapy Billing Part 1
By Nitin Chhoda
Physical therapy billing is the most important part of a private practice. It is the bottom line as to whether your therapy center will be able to operate. Yes, the physical therapy component is important as well because without that you wouldn't have a business at all. But you need to really monitor and keep track of the billing because that will allow your business to operate, paying the staff and paying the overhead expenses.
Many therapists take for granted the billing issue and don't keep track of what was paid to them and what is owed to them. Therapists generally focus on the treatments and the physical side of therapy business. They don't keep track of the billing aspect of the business and usually just appoint staff to do the billing.
Establishing an efficient system of billing will allow you to take care of both the therapy and billing aspects of the business. Billing is important to the practice as it needs to be maintained daily and all forms and documents need to be complete with proper diagnostic codes and CPT codes.
Keep organized paper work on the patient history forms, insurance information, proper forms are filled out, billing status of the patient (whether they co-pay or not) etc. The more complete your information is, you have better chances of being paid as oppose to having it rejected for lack of information and having to resubmit.
A good billing software that is licensed is a great way to start. Make sure all patient interview forms, fee slips and documentation forms are complete along with patient bills and collection of patient portions at time of billing. It is important to keep track of the co-pays and deductibles and other insurance information.
To allow for the billing system to run smoothly, make sure that the billing person in the clinic receives the patient charges and codes daily. Bills that are electronically submitted are paid within 14 days, while paper claims take as long as 60-90 days.
Always try to collect 90-100% of your billed charges. Make sure that the insurance companies pay and don't accept excuses like: untimely submission, not medically necessary etc. If the insurance company refuses to pay, send them an appeal letter. If they keep denying payment, then send a letter to the patient and the insurance commissioner.
Insurance companies will try to delay by requesting for more information from you. Charge them a fee for any extra information. This will keep them from delaying and send you payment.
It is important that you keep track of your billing to make sure that your practice has a steady source of income. Always try to have an in-house billing person so that you have control over the billing procedures rather than having an outside company do your billing for you. In the end, it's your time and money. By keeping track of your billing, you save time and make sure you get your money.
Nitin Chhoda has a blog on physical therapy marketing. Get a free audio program on how to market your physical therapy private practice at his blog, only available to the first 100 visitors.. His physical therapy newsletter can change the way you market your clinic, and is available with an unconditional 30 day money-back guarantee.
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