Majority of providers keep business functions in the US

Friday, March 17, 2017

YARMOUTH, Maine – Outsourcing business functions may be on the upswing, but outsourcing them out of the country is still a rarity in the HME industry, according to a recent HME Newspoll.

Seventy nine percent of respondents to the poll reported they don’t outsource any business functions out of the country, though they’re increasingly tempted to, due to razor-thin margins.

“We chose not to outsource out of the country, although we have reviewed it several times,” commented one respondent. “For us to do so, when serving Medicare, especially did not seem right. That being said, because we did not, we were not able to participate in the latest rounds of bidding, which in our category, reimbursement is barely covering the cost of goods.”

For the 21% that do outsource out of the country, the most common business functions to outsource are billing and collections, followed by insurance verification.

The combination of steep reimbursement cuts with, in some states, a high minimum wage, means outsourcing out of the country is a necessity for some respondents.

“Medicare reimbursement cuts + California $15 minimum wage = offshore labor,” commented one respondent, who outsources basic data entry, insurance verification, documentation, and billing and collections. “As of July 2016, we are actively replacing American workers with offshore labor. We anticipate replacing 20 jobs with 30 offshore jobs at over half the cost.”

While there may be a stigma associated with outsourcing out of the country, one respondent said the quality of work is high and the cost is low.

“We employ nurses with four-year degrees (BSN) to do insurance verification, billing and collections, clinical support and intake, because we can employ them very inexpensively,” said Pamela Bowen of Classic SleepCare in California.

A number of respondents also noted that, while they don’t personally outsource out of the country, the billing and collections companies or software companies they use do. For one respondent, that was a deal-breaker.

“I was unaware that our billing company outsourced our work,” commented the respondent. “We now use a company located in New York state.”