By Laura Lang, OD
June 26, 2019
I’ve been a co-owner and optometrist for my family eyecare practice for the last six years. From day one of opening our practice doors we have outsourced our claim filing and billing to a third-party service.
I realized this was the right choice for my business when I was at Illinois College of Optometry, and had just a brief time to learn about the business side of optometry.
When it comes to filing medical claims, there is so much to learn in order to get correct and maximum reimbursement. As an OD, business owner and mother of three, I knew I didn’t have the time to learn everything there is to know about claim filing, so I decided to leave that up to the experts.
In the last six years of outsourcing our claim filing, I’ve seen it impact my business in three big ways:
1. My Practice Grew Its Focus on Medical Optometry
Outsourcing our billing allowed us to comfortably delve into medical optometry instead of shying away from it and accepting only vision-care plans. With so much competition in retail with online eye exams, online glasses and online contact lenses, we are able to set ourselves apart in a way that not everyone can. I’m proud to say that we have become quite the urgent care resource for ocular emergencies in our area and see many of these types of patients every day.
2. Opportunity for OD Emphasis on Patient Care and Business Growth
As a business owner and OD, you wear many hats and the list of responsibilities is long. I knew that adding “claim filing expert” to the list was not the best use of my time. Hiring an employee dedicated to billing in your practice is a unique skill and expertise to find, and then your business and revenue becomes very dependent on one person who could end up leaving, or just doesn’t manage the billing cycle as effectively as they could.
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We knew outsourcing with a billing company was the most reliable and profitable way for us to maximize insurance reimbursements. During my clinical rounds I was able to witness other practices utilizing third-party billing services in their practice and I noticed the positive impact it was making.
3. Lower than Ever Accounts Receivable
A main goal for any practice is to maintain a low accounts-receivable number. When we first opened our practice, we started with a billing company that we no longer use now. We were a pretty small account for their big business and weren’t a priority for them, so our AR wasn’t as low as we expected it to be when outsourcing our billing services.
When we made the switch to our current Revenue Cycle Management company, it was like night and day. Our AR lowered immediately, we received a dedicated account manager whom we can rely on when we have questions, and they work with us to make sure that we are doing everything right on our end, like pulling benefits and coding diagnosis codes to get the maximum reimbursement.
On top of those three big benefits, not having to spend time on the phone with insurance companies is a huge time saver for myself and my staff. My billing service gives me piece of mind that my claims are being paid and gives me the freedom to focus on patient care and growing my business.
Laura Lang, OD, is co-owner and optometrist at Lang Family Eye Care in New Berlin, Wis., specializing in customized contacts using corneal mapping and medical ocular emergencies. Dr. Lang graduated in 2012 from the Illinois College of Optometry.