The focus of behavioral health is on the treatment of long-term conditions like schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorder.
But too often, behavioral health billing consumes a lot of time because of its complex nature.
Pre-authorization issues, errors in coding, and inefficient or inaccurate documentation, to name a few, are issues faced by behavioral health practitioners in regard to billing.
And it’s a well-known fact that insurance companies reimbursing practitioners for mental health services are strict. That means any errors or delays in submitting claims can result in lost revenue.
Because behavioral health practitioners find it challenging to juggle between filing claims and rendering patient care, optimizing billing practices has become a necessity. This way, you’ll spend less time billing and more time taking care of your clients.
A streamlined billing process also improves cash flow, as you’ll receive compensation for services you provide without delay.
But, like medical coding, behavioral health billing is complicated. Understanding which practices will boost efficiency and which will hamper productivity is difficult. That’s why we’ve put together a guide discussing five tips and tricks to simplify your billing process.
5 Tips to Simplify Behavioral Health Billing
Among the numerous ways to streamline and simplify the behavioral health billing process, here are five tried-and-tested tips and tricks to improve cash flow. Let’s check them out.
1. Update Patient Information Regularly
Updating patient information doesn’t only entail their insurance coverage, but their personal details, such as date of birth, address, marital status, and SSN, should also be updated on the reg.
Update all these details at the beginning of each year because that’s the time when insurance coverage is renewed.
Also, make sure you review and update patient details at regular intervals. By keeping patient records up to date, you’ll be able to file claims accurately and prevent errors that might lead to delays in compensation.
2. Identify Inaccuracies
One significant reason that leads to claims being denied by insurance companies is inaccurate billing. Whenever a claim is denied, a reason is provided for the same. Rectifying the problem will help you prevent the same mistakes in the future, which, ultimately, would improve the billing process.
Practitioners with busy schedules can prevent errors in billing by using behavioral health billing software. Software providers like Psyquel offer a web-based platform that streamlines the process of billing and submitting claims.
Psyquel uses a team of medical coders and billers who file claims accurately and submit them the same day a patient visits the clinic.
Features that have made their platform reliable are managing insurance claims, storing patient records, credit card processing, and more.
3. Pre-Authorize As Needed
As far as initial basic or initial behavioral health sessions are concerned, pre-authorization isn’t needed.
But in certain cases, like if a patient requires multiple sessions a day or one long session exceeding 45 minutes, pre-authorization may be needed. To a large extent, this depends on the patient’s health care plan.
Whenever you start working with a new client, always make sure if pre-authorization is needed or not. In particular, you should check for pre-authorization before conducting a non-standard therapy session.
4. Know Your CPT Codes
CPT codes, or current procedural terminology, are numerical codes that identify the services rendered to patients by healthcare professionals. It is on the basis of these codes that insurance companies decide whether they should reimburse claims or withhold them.
Staying updated about the changes in CPT codes, which happens once a year, is important for every healthcare provider. Using codes that correspond to the pre-authorization will save you time, money, and a lot of hassle.
5. File Insurance Claims on Time
Claim submission requirements in regard to mental health services differ from payer to payer. However, the majority of insurance companies dictate that claims must be submitted between 30 days and 18 months after the service is rendered.
Failure to submit claims on time means your claims will be denied, and if that happens, you won’t be compensated for the service provided. In this regard, creating a fixed billing schedule will help you file claims on time, so you won’t have to deal with lost revenue.
As a piece of advice: file claims every month so that you will receive compensation for every service without delay.
As is evident, mental health billing isn’t as simple and straightforward as medical billing due to the type of care offered. Often, in an attempt to manage the two, practitioners end up ignoring patients or making silly errors while filing claims.
Taking all the challenges faced by practitioners in regard to billing, every practitioner must make efforts to optimize their billing process. By implementing the tips and tricks mentioned above, you’ll be able to streamline your billing process and boost revenue.
But if you find the task too overwhelming, joining hands with a behavioral health billing software provider will be the best bet.
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