Physical Therapy Billing Services: How to select the right RCM partner for your practice
Before we dive into physical therapy billing services, let’s be honest... If you’re reading this, you most likely went to school to be a therapist. You did that because you wanted to help people get better, move better and feel better. Likely not because you wanted to be an expert on claims, insurance companies and “the revenue cycle.”
Managing the billing and revenue cycle for a physical therapy practice is a complex and but crucial aspect of a successful PT business. Efficient and billing processes are essential for maximizing reimbursements, reducing claim denials, and maintaining a healthy cash flow. However, the intricacies of medical billing and ever-changing insurance regulations can be overwhelming for practice owners.
Hiring employees to manage your billing can also be a challenge! How will you judge their billing knowledge? How do you monitor their work or performance? How do you incentivize them to work the challenging denials? Can you trust they won't write off claims that should be paid? This can be even more challenging than doing it yourself.
That's where partnering with a reliable and experienced Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) company specializing in physical therapy billing services becomes invaluable. By outsourcing your billing needs to a trusted RCM partner, you can alleviate the burden of administrative tasks, gain access to industry expertise, and streamline your revenue cycle. But with numerous options available in the market, it's crucial to know how to select the right RCM partner for your practice.
Benefits of Outsourcing Physical Therapy Billing Services to an RCM Partner
Expertise and Focus: RCM partners that specialize in physical therapy billing possess in-depth knowledge of the industry's unique requirements and regulations. They stay updated on the latest changes, documentation guidelines, and insurance policies specific to physical therapy. With their specialized expertise, they can navigate the complexities of billing and maximize revenue opportunities.
Time and Cost Savings
Managing billing in-house requires significant time, resources, and staff training. By partnering with an RCM company, you can redirect your resources toward patient care and practice growth. RCM partners have dedicated teams who handle all aspects of billing, including claim submission, denial management, and patient invoicing. This allows your staff to focus on delivering quality care while saving time and reducing operational costs.
Accuracy and Compliance
RCM partners have extensive experience in accurate coding, proper documentation, and adherence to industry regulations. By entrusting your billing to experts, you can minimize errors and mitigate compliance risks. This ensures that your claims are submitted correctly, reducing the chances of denials and audits.
RCM partners have a deep understanding of the reimbursement process and can help identify potential revenue leaks. They analyze claims data, identify trends, and implement strategies to improve your practice's financial performance. Their expertise in denial management and appeals can significantly increase your reimbursement rates and reduce the number of unpaid or underpaid claims.
Access to Technology
RCM partners leverage sophisticated billing software and technology systems to streamline processes and improve efficiency. These systems often include features like automated claim scrubbing, real-time eligibility verification, and customized reporting. With access to comprehensive analytics and key performance indicators, you can gain valuable insights into your practice's financial health and make data-driven decisions.
Partnering with the right RCM company can be a game-changer for your physical therapy practice. Lets discuss the criteria you should consider when evaluating RCM partners and guide you through the selection process to ensure the best fit for your practice's specific needs.
Understanding Your Practice's Needs
Every physical therapy practice is unique, and understanding your practice's specific billing challenges and pain points is crucial in finding the right RCM partner. Take the time to evaluate your current billing processes and create improvement goals to take into your RCM partner evaluation. Consider goals and challenges such as:
Minimizing Claim Denials
Set a target for reducing claim denials and improving the first-pass acceptance rate. Understand denial frequency and root cause issues. Find an RCM partner with a strong track record in denial management and proven strategies to address denials effectively.
Improving Cash Flow
Assess your practice's cash flow situation and set goals for improving cash flow through efficient billing processes, timely submission of claims, and effective patient collections.
Staffing and Training
Evaluate the expertise and resources available within your practice for handling billing tasks. Consider how your potential partner will work with your staff to improve outcomes.
Free Up Your Resources
How much time do you or your staff spend managing or researching denials? Make note of all the tasks that take time away from you or your staff and compare this list to the RCM partner’s services offering.
Increasing Reimbursement Rates
Determine if your practice aims to negotiate higher reimbursement rates from insurance companies. If so, look for an RCM partner with experience in reimbursement negotiation.
Understanding your practice's needs and specific goals will help you identify the most suitable RCM partner that aligns with your requirements.
Key Criteria for Evaluating Physical Therapy RCM Partners
When evaluating potential RCM partners, consider their experience in the healthcare industry and specifically in providing billing services for physical therapy practices. Look for companies that have a proven track record of working with physical therapy practices of similar size and specialty.
Duration of Operation
Find out how long the RCM partner has been operating in the industry. An established company with a long history suggests reliability and experience in navigating the complexities of billing processes.
Physical Therapy Billing Specialty
Physical therapy billing has its own unique set of requirements and regulations. Ensure that the RCM partner has specialized knowledge and expertise in physical therapy billing, including a deep understanding of the relevant codes, modifiers, and insurance policies.
The healthcare industry is continuously evolving, and billing regulations and policies can change frequently. Determine how the RCM partner stays up-to-date with industry changes and adapts their processes accordingly to maximize reimbursements and minimize claim denials.
Technology and Integration
Assess the RCM partner's technology infrastructure and systems. Look for partners that leverage advanced billing software and technology solutions to streamline processes and improve efficiency.
Billing Software: Inquire about the billing software used by the RCM partner.
Clearinghouse: What clearinghouses does the RCM partner have experience with?
Integration Capabilities: Determine if the RCM partner's software integrates or passes information to your practice management system. Seamless integration allows for the secure exchange of patient information, claim status updates, patient balances, etc..
Partnerships. Does the RCM partner have any partnership, reselling or discount options with other billing softwares?
Evaluate the features and functionality offered by the RCM partner's technology platform. Look for the following capabilities:
Claim Scrubbing. Ensure that the software includes claim scrubbing functionality. This feature helps identify and correct errors in claims before they are submitted, reducing the risk of claim denials.
Real-Time Eligibility Verification. Real-time eligibility verification allows for instant verification of patients' insurance coverage and eligibility for services. This helps prevent claim denials due to coverage issues.
Reporting and Analytics. Robust reporting capabilities are essential for monitoring the financial health of your practice. Inquire about the reporting options provided by the RCM partner, such as customizable reports on key performance indicators, revenue metrics, and aging reports.
Workflow Automation. Automation features, such as automated charge capture and electronic claim submission, can significantly improve efficiency and reduce manual errors in the billing process.
Patient Portal. A patient portal can enhance the patient experience by providing access to billing statements, payment options, etc...
Claim Submission and Denial Management
Claim Submission Process. Assess the RCM partner's claim submission process to ensure timely and accurate claim submission. Consider the following factors:
Electronic Claim Submission. Confirm that the RCM partner has the capability to submit claims electronically. Electronic submission expedites the processing time, reduces errors, and improves efficiency.
Timeliness. Verify that the RCM partner has a streamlined process for submitting claims. When are claims submitted? Daily? Weekly? Immediately upon finalizing note?
Denial Management Strategies. Denial management is a critical aspect of the billing process. Understand the RCM partner's strategies for managing claim denials effectively:
Denial Analysis. Inquire about the RCM partner's approach to analyzing claim denials. They should have a systematic process to identify trends, root causes, and recurring issues contributing to denials.
Appeals and Resubmissions. Determine the RCM partner's expertise in handling denials through appeals and resubmissions. They should have a proven track record of successfully overturning denials and maximizing revenue recovery.
Denial Prevention. Assess if the RCM partner proactively implements measures to prevent claim denials. They should have processes in place for conducting internal audits, optimizing documentation, and identifying areas for improvement.
Reporting and Analytics
Robust reporting capabilities are essential for monitoring the financial performance of your practice. Evaluate the reporting options provided by the RCM partner:
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Inquire about the availability of customizable reports that highlight important KPIs, such as collection rates, reimbursement amounts, accounts receivable aging, and claim submission metrics. These reports enable you to track the overall financial health of your practice.
Revenue Metrics. Verify if the RCM partner provides detailed reports on revenue generated, including reimbursements from insurance companies, patient payments, and outstanding balances. This information helps you assess the effectiveness of your billing processes.
Identifying Denial Patterns. Assess the RCM partner's ability to analyze claim denial patterns and identify recurring issues. Ask for examples of other clients' denial trends that could be corrected. This information helps you address root causes and implement strategies to reduce denials.
Performance Reviews. Ask about the frequency and format of performance reviews conducted by the RCM partner. How often do we meet? Who do we meet with? What happens in these meetings? Regular reviews allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of their services, address any concerns, and identify opportunities for improvement.
The RCM partner should provide regular updates and transparent reporting on claim status, denials, and appeals. Ask for example reports and updates that are given to other clients. What is the method of communicating this information? Is this an email summary? Are there customer success meetings or check-ins?
Customer Support and Communication
How is customer support provided? Does that match your practice’s needs? Consider the following factors:
Accessibility. Inquire about the availability of customer support channels, such as phone, email, or online chat. What are the options and channels to receive support? Does that align with how our team operates?
Prompt Issue Resolution. What is the RCM partner’s Service Level Agreement (SLA)? In other words, how long does it take them to respond to you or your staff? What is the understanding or agreement of this SLA?
Account Management. Is there an individual dedicated to our practice? Is there a team that assists us? Look for the availability of dedicated account management with the added support of a team that supports the account manager. The account manager should act as the quarterback of your team, making sure everyone is performing to make you successful.
Ongoing Support. Verify that the RCM partner offers ongoing support to address any questions or challenges that may arise. They should be readily available to assist you in maximizing your revenue potential.
A strong customer support and communication framework ensures that you receive the assistance you need throughout your partnership with the RCM company. By selecting an RCM partner with responsive customer support, dedicated account management, and comprehensive training and support, you can foster a collaborative relationship and optimize your billing processes.
Evaluating Physical Therapy Billing Partner Cost and Return on Investment (ROI)
Pricing Options. When considering an RCM partner, evaluate their pricing structure. Different RCM companies may have various pricing models, such as flat fees, percentage-based fees, or transaction-based fees. Most companies will over a flat percentage based on total collections. However, some companies may offer strict reimbursement or weight differently for denials. Understand the pricing options available and determine which model aligns best with your practice's financial goals and needs.
Transparency. Transparency in pricing is vital to avoid any hidden costs or surprises. Seek an RCM partner that provides transparent pricing information, clearly outlining what services are included in the fees and any additional charges that may apply. All fees should be clearly outlined in a Statement of Work (SOW) document.
Return on Investment
Consider the potential return on investment (ROI) that partnering with an RCM company can bring to your practice. Evaluate how the RCM partner's expertise and specialized services can enhance revenue generation. Look for evidence of improved reimbursement rates, decreased claim denials, and increased cash flow from their previous clients.
Cost Savings: Assess the cost savings that can be achieved by outsourcing your billing processes. Calculate the resources, time, and expenses currently invested in managing billing in-house and compare it to the cost of partnering with an RCM company. The goal is to achieve cost savings by reducing staffing and training costs, minimizing billing errors, and optimizing revenue collection.
Consider the following ROI formula
(Additional Revenue Collected + (Hours Spent Related to Billing x Hourly Pay)) - RCM Fees = $ ROI
Example: 20% increase with a starting revenue of $50k
($10,000 + (150 hrs x $15/hr)) - $6,000 = $6,250 ROI
Other PT RCM Considerations
Value Adds. Consider the value-added services provided by the RCM partner. Look for additional benefits beyond standard billing services, such as patient eligibility verification, patient statement generation, or assistance with payer contract negotiations. These value-added services can contribute to increased efficiency, improved patient satisfaction, and overall practice growth.
Scalability. Evaluate the scalability of the RCM partner's services. As your practice grows, it's essential to ensure that the RCM partner can accommodate the increased volume without compromising the quality of their services. Partnering with a scalable RCM company ensures a seamless transition and continued support as your practice expands.
By carefully assessing the cost and return on investment of partnering with an RCM company, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your practice's financial goals. Consider the pricing structure, transparency, potential ROI, cost savings, and the value-added services offered by the RCM partner.
Top 3 Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Companies for Physical Therapy (PT)
When it comes to selecting the right Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) partner for your physical therapy practice, having a list of trusted companies can be helpful. Here are the top three RCM companies known for their expertise in serving physical therapy practices:
#1 PatientStudio (PatientStudio.com)
PatientStudio is a leading RCM company specializing in providing comprehensive billing services for physical therapy practices. They have a deep understanding of the unique billing requirements in the PT industry and offer tailored solutions to optimize revenue and streamline the billing process.
PatientStudio is in the unique position to offer both software and services to its customers. By offering integrated solutions such as online patient intake, eligibility verification and patient collections. With this value added technology, PatientStudio can truly support your entire revenue cycle, from scheduling to collections. This makes for a powerful “one stop shop” for growing PT practices.
PatientStudio's technology-driven approach, coupled with their commitment to exceptional customer service, makes them a standout choice for PT practices seeking reliable RCM support.
#2 Physical Therapy Billing (Physicaltherapybilling.com)
Physical Therapy Billing is a reputable RCM company exclusively focused on serving physical therapy practices. With their extensive experience in PT billing, they bring industry-specific expertise to help practices maximize reimbursements, reduce claim denials, and improve cash flow. Their executive team consists of successful PT business owners who have first hand experience on what makes a practice successful. Through their own offerings and partner network they can provide consulting, coaching and mastermind groups tp boost profits and efficiency.
#3 Timber PT Management (Timberptmanagement.com)
Timber PT Management is recognized for its comprehensive revenue cycle management services tailored specifically to the needs of physical therapy practices. Their experienced team understands the nuances of PT billing and employs proven strategies to optimize revenue, reduce denials, and enhance operational efficiency. Timber PT Management takes a personalized approach, working closely with practices to deliver exceptional results and foster long-term success.
These top RCM companies have established themselves as leaders in the PT billing industry, earning a reputation for their expertise, reliable service, and dedication to helping physical therapy practices achieve financial success. It's essential to thoroughly evaluate each company based on your specific requirements, goals, and budget before making a final decision.
Choosing the right Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) partner is a vital decision that can greatly impact the financial success of your physical therapy practice. By carefully considering the key criteria discussed in this article, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your practice's unique needs and goals.
Evaluate factors such as the RCM partner's experience and expertise in physical therapy billing, their technology infrastructure and integration capabilities, their strategies for claim submission and denial management, the quality of their reporting and analytics, the level of customer support and communication they offer, and the cost and potential return on investment (ROI) of their services. Take into account the value-added services they provide and their scalability to support your practice's growth.
Outsourcing your billing services to a trusted RCM partner can bring numerous benefits, including expertise in billing regulations, improved accuracy, streamlined processes, and increased revenue optimization.
Remember, selecting the right RCM partner is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Carefully evaluate and compare different RCM companies based on your practice's specific needs, goals, and budget. Conduct thorough research, seek references, and schedule consultations to ensure a well-informed decision.
By choosing the right RCM partner, you can streamline your billing processes, maximize reimbursements, minimize claim denials, and ultimately improve the financial health of your physical therapy practice. Take the time to make a strategic choice and set the foundation for a successful partnership that will support your practice's growth and allow you to focus on what you do best – providing excellent care to your patients.
Interested in partnering with PatientStudio RCM? Schedule a free consultation here.