Replacing your billing company the right way

We’ve heard it before. A facility wants to replace their billing company, but they haven’t figured out what to do next.

“They screwed up so badly, I want out. I just gave them my 30 day notice that I want to end our contract.”

Substance abuse treatment center owner frustrated with billing companyProblems with your billing company

Many of our customers have faced the scenario above. The billing company they used was never great, but recently it got much, much worse. Sometimes it started off rosy, only to hit snags early on. In other cases, it was always rocky.

One of the more common problems we hear is lack of communication. It takes many forms. For one customer, it was the constant emails back and forth asking the same question over and over. For another company, it was a blackhole of information. They asked a question and never got a response.

One particularly vivid example comes from a prospect of ours who desperately wants to switch billing companies once their contractual notice period ends. They lost thousands of dollars on one claim alone because their billing company didn’t answer an insurer’s question in a timely fashion. A claim that should have paid $3,000 paid $800 because their billing company didn’t communicate with the facility. In fact, the billing company never told the customer they needed more information to get the claim paid. The customer only found out after the payment came back as a fraction of the amount they expected to collect.

Once a substance abuse treatment facility has a few of these sorts of incidents with their biller, the frustration builds. It only takes one small thing to go from frustrated customer to former customer.

The last (billing) straw

Once a treatment center hits that tipping point of anger, they often make a snap judgment to end their billing relationship. For the prospect that lost thousands due to their biller missing a deadline, it came when their biller told them they wouldn’t bill for the month of December because other customers needed their benefits reverified. Telling a customer they are less important than another is never a good idea, but this just added insult to injury.

One of our larger customers told a similar tale when they hired us. Their billing company simply stopped billing for them. No notice, no explanation. Our customer only found out when their bank account started to run dry. A strained relationship became a non-functional relationship.

Replacing your billing company the right way

One of the easiest things we recommend a treatment facility do is to know your options for billing companies. There are few things more stressful for a facility owner than making a sudden switch in how they collect money. Once you give notice to your billing company, they often stop work immediately on new claims. After all, their incentive is to reduce costs, which means they tell their billers to quit working on any new claims for you.

Having your biller quit on the job puts an owner in a bind. You need a replacement quickly or you’ll face a cash crunch. Where do you turn? If you have a few contacts before you need to make that decision will smooth the process considerably.

We also recommend you speak to other billing companies before that last straw gets added to your burden. You might not decide to take action, but at least you’ll have narrowed your options in a less rushed frame of mind.

If Inspira can help you think through your situation, please let us know.