5 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Billing Company as a Result of COVID-19

Below are 5 critical questions you should be asking your billing company, as the answers will help you determine the financial viability of your organization during this crisis and potentially beyond.

  1. Is my billing company communicating with me regularly and updating me on their status?
    • Silence or lack of regular communication during this crisis is a signal for concern.
    • If they are not reaching out to you with answers to these and other questions they may either be overwhelmed or not comfortable sharing information on their status.
    • In either case, if they are not proactively communicating with you, you should be reaching out to them.
  2. Is my billing company specialty specific?
    • Certain specialties have been hit excessively hard and reduction in volume will continue for several months
      • Most specialties heavily dependent on elective procedures (i.e. Anesthesia, Surgery, Plastics, and ASCs) have experienced a significant reduction in volume.
      • If your billing company specializes in a specific specialty or healthcare sector, now is the time to proactively communicate with them about how they are reacting to this dramatic reduction in cash flow – Are they financially positioned to continue to be “open for business”?
  1. Is their staff still working (in the office or remotely)?
    • Notwithstanding the reduction in volume, some of your old A/R will now be a source of interim cash-flow while your practice activity is reduced. You still need to make sure the billing company is “open for business”
    • If they have laid off staff, how do they intend to ensure that as volume begins to increase, they will be able to ramp back up to meet those needs? Don’t forget; they will need to hire back and pay employees before they generate payments on your behalf and cash flow for their company.  Are they financially positioned to achieve this?
    • If they have staff working remotely, what security provisions have been implemented to ensure they are operating in a HIPAA compliant environment?
  2. Is the processing done in a geographically distributed model?
    • Billing companies with multiple locations may be in a better position to redistribute work to unaffected (or less affected) offices if one or more becomes a COVID-19 “hot spot.
    • Some states with Shelter at home mandates will “open” before others. Therefore, having multiple locations increases the likelihood that your work can be processed in a normal state sooner and reduces the risk of the prolonged impact of the virus on your cash-flow prolonged shutdowns will lead to gaps in claims processing resulting in delayed payments and significant cash-flow issues.
    • What is your billing company’s disaster recovery or business continuity plan?
  3. Does my billing company outsource work to a 3rd party?
    • If so, what controls (and visibility) do you/they have over the 3rd party to which they outsource your claims processing?
    • How would that third party answer the questions above and how much influence over their actions/plans does your billing company have?
    • Shutdowns are in place in many countries where these 3rd parties operate. You should know whether this is happening and how your vendor is responding.

If you find your current in-house process or billing company may be vulnerable in any one of these areas, it may be time to look for alternatives or a least a contingency plan (Plan B).   Having a Plan B doesn’t mean you’ve given up; it means you’re strategic and realistic about current events and their potential impact on the viability and success of your organization.

Adapting to change, such as major healthcare disruptions by COVID-19, is essential.  Groups and healthcare organizations need to continue to monitor the situation, identify acute threats and modify current processes and business relationships to address areas of their business that are susceptible and could be negatively impacted by acute and potentially chronic threats to their business.

If AdvantEdge can be of resource to your organization, feel free to contact us at info@ahsrcm.com

 

 

Who is AdvantEdge Healthcare Solutions?

AdvantEdge Healthcare Solutions is a national, top 10 medical billing company that provides billing, coding, and revenue cycle management solutions for specialty medical practices for over 50 years.

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