As you start a physical therapy practice or look to expand on your current business, it’s important to review your operations, see what processes are working and which aren’t – and, as always, find areas to optimize results based on productivity, profitability and overall experience. In most cases, billing is one aspect of physical therapy that can affect all three of those factors, and it’s rarely firing on all cylinders.
To help, we’ve compared the different ways that physical therapy billing can be handled. Our goal is to show how the right billing solution can help improve your ROI and patient experience.
(Please Note: For this blog’s purposes, we’ve reviewed these three options for a private practice: in-house billing, outsourced billing, and MEG Business Billing, a PT-specialist billing provider).
The Physical Therapy Billing Comparison Guide:
Payment Posting for Physical Therapy Billing
- In-House Billing: Payment posting can be delayed due to staff members being out sick, on maternity leave or on vacation.
- Outsourced Billing: Payment posting is typically done once a week or once a month.
- MEG Billing: We post payments within 48 hours of receipt so accounts remain up to date.
Monthly Meetings for Physical Therapy Billing
- In-House Billing: Regularly scheduled staff meetings are done in-house.
- Outsourced Billing: Most outsourced providers offer no standing meetings unless there is an issue.
- MEG Billing: We hold monthly billing meetings with owners to go over reporting, goals and problems/solutions.
Account Follow-Up for Physical Therapy Billing
- In-House Billing: Lack of billing knowledge might prevent staff from appealing claims that did not process correctly.
- Outsourced Billing: Most outsourced providers only work “low hanging fruit” accounts, or money that is easily obtained.
- MEG Billing: We work EVERY account at least every 30 days. To ensure that no account is missed, our work is based on processes that include follow-ups and documenting in the system.
Daily Billing for Physical Therapy Billing
- In-House Billing: Billing might be halted if a staff member is out sick, on maternity leave or on vacation.
- Outsourced Billing: Billing may be done daily/weekly/monthly but lacks a scrubbing process.
- MEG Billing: We bill all claims daily. If a claim is not billable, we will send you a detailed unbilled report stating reasons a claim was held that day.
Transparency for Physical Therapy Billing
- In-House Billing: Biller is located in the office for management to oversee billing process.
- Outsourced Billing: Some outsourced providers take your data and put it in their own software leaving you with no access and no ability to provide real time data or reports on demand.
- MEG Billing: We work directly in your billing software and send real time reports. You can easily access all information pertaining to actions taken on a claim and see activity on accounts.
Communication for Physical Therapy Billing
- In-House Billing: It’s easy to communicate with billing staff since they are located in the office.
- Outsourced Billing: Usually involves 1-800 numbers to call and no direct contact with the staff members who handle your billing.
- MEG Billing: You have direct lines of communication to every staff member on your billing team. This includes the monthly billing meeting with your RM to work through problems and solutions, A/R, etc.
Accounting for Physical Therapy Billing
- In-House Billing: In-house typically lacks the billing knowledge on the management side to hold staff members accountable.
- Outsourced Billing: Lack of access to billing data and lack of communication make it hard for owners to know if the billing team is being held accountable for work done on account.
- MEG Billing: Regional Managers perform monthly billing audits and hold staff members accountable for work done on your account. This dedicated team is chosen to perform specific functions of your billing so that it is not all on one person to solve.
How MEG Compares with In-House vs. Outsourced Billing for Physical Therapy
Pros and Cons of In-House Billing:
- Ability to control day-to-day billing operations (if knowledgeable) but requires constant oversight and management which may divert attention from practice
- High over-head due to employee salaries, benefit packages, vacations, maternity or sick leaves, equipment, constant training and tracking with market trends and changes
- Cash flow and support can be interrupted or halted due to sick days, vacations, leaves of absence, or employee turnover
- In-house biller often wears many hats in the office, leaving less time to dedicate to billing which is the financial support for a business
- Liability of underpayment from insurance companies or revenue streams without attention being put on the outstanding A/R
Pros and Cons of Outsourced Billing:
- Higher collection rates than an in-house solution
- Trained billing professionals keep their focus on a specific area of your business
- Known for a lack of communication compared to an in-house solution
- Known to only chase low hanging fruit (ie. the revenue most easy to obtain)
- Covers billing for a variety of specialities, yet may lack knowledge of specific specialities to therapeutic codes, reimbursements, etc.
Finding Your All-in-One Solution with MEG Billing:
- Complete transparency with a high level of communication
- Operates directly within your existing billing software so you can clearly see all actions taken on claims as well as notes from MEG regarding follow up.
- Direct contact with a dedicated team, including monthly meetings with your account manager to review previous month stats and address any problem/solutions.
- Works exclusively with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices, keeping 100% of focus on the billing, so you can focus on the patient care
- Aligned with MEG Academy so staff can be trained to provide above and beyond customer service for a full patient experience, enhancing overall care and referrals.
At the end of the day, Physical Therapy practice owners are trained to provide the best patient care and outcomes possible – not handle billing and collections. As you seek to optimize your practice, leave your billing to the professionals so you can focus your attention on expansion, marketing & branding thereby enriching your patients, staff and community.
Download our Physical Therapy Billing Toolkit for a handy comparison chart along with other great PT billing resources to help you get started.