Medical Practice Management
Nov 08

Simple medical practice billing errors

As we call know, billing mistakes can cost your practice money, frustrate your patients and even put your relationship with insurance providers at risk; however, the vast majority of billing mistakes can be avoided.  Here are three of the most common billing mistakes operations can make and what you can do to avoid them:

1) Simple Data Entry Errors. In many cases, billing mistakes can be chalked up to data entry errors.  Over the years, missed or incorrect keystrokes can cost a practice thousands of dollars.  Data entry errors are also the most difficult type to catch.  Making sure your staff are proficient with office equipment and software will help. One of the best ways to avoid billing errors due to incorrect data entry is to utilize a front end claims scrubber to identify potential key entry errors prior to submission into your practice management system.  In the event scrubbing software is not an option, a audit process of reviewing data entry should be considered.

2) Incorrect Coding. Your billing staff should be highly trained professionals with an expertise in coding. With the rapid changes that occur in medicine, medical billing becomes increasingly complex as services are added and removed.  The best solution to solving incorrect coding issues is use of a front end scrubbing software coupled with continuing education for employees.  The “scrubber” would identify potential coding errors prior to submission into your practice management system. Although coding expertise is paramount, many practices have an insufficient training budget.  An investment in the training budget will more than pay for itself through saved revenue.

3) Duplicate Billing.  While the billing applications used by medical practices have made great strides in the past decade, the submission of duplicate billings still occur. An example of a duplicate billing error is one service that may have been keyed or coded two separate ways, producing two billings for the same service.  System stability issues and human error are two of the most common reasons for this error.  Scrubbing software could be utilized to identify this error type. If scrubbing software is not available, the best way to avoid duplicate billing is through the audit process. The same audit process that protects you from simple data entry errors can help you identify and flag duplicate billing.

A key part of running a successful practice is educating your staff about potential billing errors.  Continuing to provide your billing staff with as much information and training as possible will surely result in billing mistake reductions.

About Reed Tinsley, CPA

As a top advisor to physicians, I help increase practice profits by delivering hands-on, expert medical accounting/tax support, practice counsel, and revenue-building strategies. Read more →