Building a Stronger HME Billing Staff

The State of HME Billing

In the midst of increasing prices everywhere – a situation perpetrated by a growing inflation across the country – and coupled with an alarming shortage of skilled labor across many different areas of business, a result of the recent pandemic, healthcare providers are finding it hard to maintain profitability while keeping their operational expenses down.

When it comes to HME billing, the picture looks pretty grim. The average salary of a biller or a coder has increased manifold in the past couple of years. And if one is planning to hire only experienced and skilled personnel for the billing department, the cost can easily go through the ceiling. Add to that all the other usual expenses like providing employee benefits, worker’s compensation, paid holidays and overhead, and you’ve got a real worry. The cost of running your business can bite a large chunk off your revenue.

Balancing Out the Cost

As in-house staffing continues to prove increasingly expensive, a large number of HME providers are outsourcing all their HME billing requirements to dedicated, third-party billing specialists. In many cases, it’s 100% outsourcing where such specialized billing agencies are hired for turnkey billing services. In many others, a part of the billing process is outsourced just to help take some of the load off the provider’s shoulders. In such a scenario, the external billing agency works as an extension of the regular, in-house staff of the provider, providing critical intervention and assistance to ensure that the entire billing process flows smoothly and efficiently.

The main advantage of outsourcing HME billing is the distinct cost advantage it brings along with it. Owing to their off-shore location, such medical billing companies are able to provide services at a rate that is much lower than the domestic US market. Moreover, providers are required to pay (usually at a pre-agreed, flat hourly rate) for actual hours of work. This means that they do not need to worry about paying employee benefits or about hiring office space or equipment anymore.

Making Outsourcing Work for You

In many cases, such HME billing partners can choose to work on a fixed percentage of your total collections. This makes for a win-win situation where the billing agency gets paid only if they are able to collect for you, their earnings being in direct proportion to the amount of revenue they are able to generate for you.

So if your HME billing cost seems to be spiraling out of control, it’s time to consider outsourcing. You can start with a few components of your billing, just to ease the pressure on your billing staff and free up your resources to engage them in patient care or developing the business. As you start feeling more confident, you can then consider outsourcing further till your profits are back on track.

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