How to Hire a Billing Team
By: Candice Smith Your billing staff can make or break the cash flow and revenue of your facilities. So it probably goes without saying that hiring the right people for your billing team is very important. There are three easy steps I recommend for Medical Practice owners who want to keep their billing in-house. Step 1: Analyze Your Volume Before you know how many billers, coders, and patient account employees you need to hire, you need to know how many patients you are seeing at each of your clinics. Once you have those volumes, you can use these guidelines for determining the number of people you need to efficiently work your accounts. ► Billers should be able to work at least 75 accounts daily. Working an account includes making phone calls and interacting with patients as needed. ► Patient Account Representatives should be able to work at least 200 accounts daily. Working these accounts means they handle all patient responsibility invoices and make calls on past due accounts. ► Coders should be able to code an average of 150 charts a day. Step 2: Hire the Right Employees Selecting experienced billers can be beneficial, but sometimes you may not have a super experienced pool of applicants to select from. Analyzing your AR will help you determine the level of experience needed for each position. If you have big payers, you may want to put more experienced billers on those accounts. For smaller payers, that require less monitoring, you may be able to utilize less experienced billers. In either case, having medical office experience is always a plus. Since there are no educational standards for medical billing training, you must rely on experience. Potential sources of employment with experience that would help in the billing position would be: • Doctor’s office • Hospitals • Medical testing facilities • Pharmacies • Nursing homes • Rehabilitation Clinics • Insurance companies I started my billing career 15 years ago as a medical records clerk at a nursing home. I saw codes and charts daily and asked questions to ensure I was learning weekly. My next position was a unit clerk at a hospital, where I learned even more. From there I started working admissions at a rehab Clinic before being promoted to patient accounts. My next position was working as a biller at a doctor’s office, and now I run an entire billing department for several Medical Practices. At each step along the way, I learned skills and tools that aided me in my next role. Having experience in the medical billing is a must when hiring. Most billers are experienced in one specialty, but that experience prepares them for working in other areas, too. Step 3: Training No matter how experienced your biller or coder is when hired, they still need training. Just the same as hiring any other employee as part of your medical team. Your billing team members will need to learn: your EMR, processes of your facility, and the types of payers accepted by your Medical Practice clinic. At HealthCARE Express Billing, our billers go thru a mandatory two to four week training program. No matter how long someone has been in medical billing, they learn something new frequently. Therefore ongoing training of your billing team is important. Our billing team attends webinars, conferences, and workshops on things like payer issues or new changes with the payer. If you are looking for a great training program to send your billers to, check out the Medical Practice Billing Summit. The summit is designed for both Medical Practice owners who need to know how to speak and understand the language of medical billing, and also for billers already in the Medical Practice industry. One of the highlights of the 2 day event in September is a billing panel, where you can bring your billing questions and have them answered by the experts in the Medical Practice billing industry. Hiring billing staff is not an easy job. Because of the wide range of positions offered as a biller, they tend to stay with their current employer longer. I cross train my billers in all departments, so they are able to utilize their potential not just in our billing department but also at our front desk if needed. LIKE THIS ARTICLE? Click here to register for your complimentary subscription to Medical Practice Success. In addition to getting the latest article every Tuesday morning in your inbox, you'll also be given a free copy of our e-book The Five Mistakes Medical Practice Owners Make, and What You Can Do to Avoid Them.