The process of dental billing holds significant importance within a dental practice. It is essential to have an efficient dental billing system in place to ensure the timely collection of payments for the dental services provided. Dentists can entrust the responsibility of managing intricate claim
submissions to expert dental billing firms. Claims may be rejected by insurers for various reasons such as incorrect or incomplete claim details, down coding, and delays in submission, among others. Implementing effective revenue cycle management strategies is also crucial to maintaining the profitability of a dental office.
A few best practices for dental billing and collection
Make it easy for patients to pay
Offer a variety of payment options to ensure that patients can easily settle their bills promptly. There might be some patients who are not comfortable with online payment methods. It is hence essential to provide a mix of online and traditional payment choices that cater to a broad range of preferences.
Focus on pre-authorization
Getting authorization from the payer in advance, prior to the delivery of medical services, helps in smooth claim processing for treatments conducted later. This step also keeps patients updated about their anticipated co-pay amount.
Implement streamlined dental billing processes
Assign responsibilities to team members to handle responsibilities such as dental eligibility verification, assigning codes, and submitting claims among others. As the dental billing process is quite elaborate and complex, it needs a systematic approach with close attention to detail. The dental software needs to be updated while the staff needs to be abreast of current billing and coding changes.
The team needs to have a strong understanding of each step in the dental billing process. Dental billing includes many services such as enrolment, insurance verification, scheduling of appointments, insurance claim processing, and payment follow-up among others.
Outsourcing these billing processes frees up valuable time to connect with patients, increase treatment plan acceptance, and much more.
Follow-Up on receivables
A strict check on accounts receivables is critical for maintaining cash flows for the practice. Timely monitoring of claims is key to avoiding cash flow issues. In addition to the collection of payments payable from patients, follow-up for claims unpaid by the insurance companies.
If payments from insurance companies have not been received within the stipulated period, then necessary steps need to be taken such as
Stay up to date with coding changes
One of the primary causes of delays and rejections in claims is the incorrect assignment of codes. Numerous new ICD, CDT, and CPT code revisions are getting introduced annually. It is imperative for both a practice’s billing teams to remain updated with these coding guidelines.
Streamline the claims submission process
Successful dental billing demands a streamlined process for submitting claims. Having designated individuals accountable for overseeing each claim from inception to completion is essential for efficient processing and income from insurance claims. The claims need to be filed within 24 hours of the treatment being completed followed by other subsequent steps. The quicker the claim is prepared, the faster the practice will receive payment.
Completed clinical notes and documentation, x-rays, and images have to be accurately stored in the relevant section of the patient’s electronic chart in the software used by the practice. The clinical team must document any replacements for prior dental treatments in the clinical notes. This information needs to be included when submitting claims to insurance, along with the date of the previous treatment.
Reconciliation of payments on a daily basis
There are a lot of payments coming into the dental practice. It is important to keep track of them, especially your insurance claims payments. This can be done through payment posting to the dental software and reconciling the payments daily.
Such a report can outline all earnings for any particular day and the corresponding payment received for that service rendered. If there are at least two staff members reconciling the payments, it can ensure negligible errors or lapses.
Investments in training
Investing in periodic training for your dental staff is vital as there are constant updates and changes in dental insurance regulations.
To ensure the team is performing at optimal levels as well as maintaining high levels of patients’ satisfaction of your patients, it is important to keep the team abreast about the latest developments in dental insurance education. This could include enrolment in online courses or attending conferences.
Given the increasing prominence of technology and automation, the dental team can leverage these tools to enhance their efficiency and streamline the billing process.