Monday, September 30, 2002

Selecting an HME billing company

Q. When it comes to my billing department, is there a size or time at which I should be looking at outsourcing the billing?

A. Generally, we suggest that all new companies entering the HME industry consider starting with an experienced consultant and billing company. In this manner, facilities have the opportunity to "do things right" from the very beginning. There is not really a particular or ideal point that we suggest providers take their billing back in-house. With regulations so complex in our industry, it is difficult to stay current with the issues. And, with the advent of HIPAA and the growing concern with the number of audits HME providers are experiencing, billing is not a headache many companies wish to deal with.

Let's look at some of the specific potential advantages of outsourcing your billing:

- Reduced claim filings costs.

- Reduced DSO (Days of Services Outstanding).

- Maintaining steady cash flow.

- Increasing the amount of reimbursements.

- Decreasing rejections (through claim accuracy checks).

- More efficient use of staff time.

It's important to select a billing company with homecare experience. Verify that the service you are selecting is based on a decision of experience and knowledge, and not just a price issue. There are many "consultants" who have never worked in an HME or pharmacy and do not understand how our industry really operates.

Jim Phillips is president of VGM Financial Services. Reach him at (319) 235-6727 or