Hospital billing and coding is one of the most important services in the healthcare industry. It’s also a field that’s constantly changing, making it difficult to stay on top of. If you want your hospital billing and coding services to be as effective as possible, several tips can help you improve your overall business performance.
Hospital Billing Process
Hospitals are very busy places, and you can’t expect everything to go smoothly while trying to get paid. Hospitals have internal billing and coding systems, but they also have to adhere to federal regulations such as Medicare and Medicaid guidelines. The hospital billing process is a series of steps your hospital goes through to bill insurance companies and private payers for services. This includes patient data collection, coding, tracking claims, and sending invoices and medical records to insurance companies/private payers. There are a few things that you should know about the process of hospital billing and coding before you start working on improving it.
There are two main steps in the hospital billing process: bill processing and claim filing. The first step involves preparing the bills for payment and sending them to the patient or the insurance company. The second step involves filing claims with your insurance company and paying them directly or through your employer. The first step requires you to pay attention to certain things about each patient’s account, such as their insurance company name and number, address and phone number, and any other information that may be needed when processing their claim. You should also note down any special requests or instructions from the patient regarding how they want their bill processed so that everything can be done correctly without any mistakes occurring during payment processing or filing claim phases later down the road.
Common Errors in Hospital Billing and Coding
Your hospital employees may be concentrated on providing quality patient care and ignore billing problems. Adherence to hospital billing requirements may positively impact your bottom line.
The following are the most typical hospital billing and coding mistakes to avoid:
Duplicate hospital billing
It occurs when a patient is billed at least twice for the same test, evaluation, procedure, or therapy. It usually occurs because a staff worker fails to check to see if the patient has already paid for the treatment. This can result in more administrative work for your employees and payer.
Incorrect billing/coding issues arise when you bill a patient for services they did not obtain. Incorrect billing also refers to charging a patient for an arranged service but subsequently cancelling. Even minor mistakes, like erroneous patient information or provider contact details, as well as incorrect, mismatched, or missing codes (incorrect modifiers), can lead to refused claims.
Some hospital billing codes are intended to be used for a collection of regularly performed treatments. When these services are invoiced under different codes, this is called unbundling. It is an illegal practice because it can increase your hospital’s profits.
Upcoding and Undercoding
Upcoding occurs when you submit codes for more significant and expensive illnesses or treatments than what you diagnosed or conducted. This fraudulently expands your revenue by asking for bigger payments than you should get. Undercoding occurs when a medical billing code for a less expensive procedure is removed to prevent an audit or save a patient’s money. Although it may be due to a minor oversight, it can look suspicious and have huge consequences for your hospital.
As mentioned above, hospitals have internal processes for billing patients and insurers (such as insurance companies). However, errors sometimes occur – either through human or computer system malfunction – which means that your claim could be denied by either party involved in the process (the hospital itself or an insurer). This usually happens when there’s not enough information available about what happened during treatment; for example, if someone had surgery and died later on due to complications after leaving the hospital early because he wasn’t feeling well anymore despite having been given medication beforehand.
Tips To Improve Hospital Billing and Coding Process
Every step, from scheduling an appointment with the doctor, paying for treatment, and going through the billing process, makes the hospital billing process complex. There are many points at which something could be entered by mistake or misconstrued. Hospital billing is complex and confusing. Many companies are involved in the process, and it’s important to know what you are paying for. You should always ask questions if you need help understanding something and then ensure you get a receipt to track your expenses later. Here are the following tips to improve your hospital billing and coding process.
Review your bill for errors
Once you’ve submitted your invoice, it’s important to review it for errors. If any charges need to be clarified or if there are any questions about them, ask them in writing and get answers from the billing department. If you’re unsure how to interpret something on your bill, ask someone else with more experience with coding or billing services at your hospital—and then follow up with a written question if necessary!
Choose a physician in your network.
When choosing a hospital to treat your patients, it’s important to ensure that the physicians are on-board with your billing and coding services. It’s also important to ensure they have experience with hospital coding and billing processes, which may differ from other doctors in the same network. Your insurance plan should cover this type of visit as part of their policy; however, if there are issues with coverage or reimbursement, then it may be necessary for you to pay out-of-pocket so that your practice can continue offering these services without interruption or loss of revenue due to lack of availability within their network structure.
Understand insurance coverage
Before going to the hospital, ensure your insurance covers what you need. This can be a challenge if it’s been a while since you were last in an emergency room or doctor’s office, and you don’t remember how much of a bill they gave you. It’s also important to understand whether or not any coverage limitations apply when making claims on behalf of others.
If there are any limits on how much money they’ll pay out per visit or day, ask them before going into surgery or having any procedure done by them—and make sure they’re clear about what those limits are so that no surprises come later down the road with billing!
Keep up with changes in hospital coding and regulations.
Coding is an important part of the healthcare revenue cycle. Coders will enhance your hospital’s quality adherence by evaluating medical paperwork using established codes and norms. Compliant coding will help you expedite your business, reduce claim denials, and guarantee federal rules are followed. Staying aware of evolving protocols necessitates a committed team of professionals who can stay updated on new regulations as they are established and implemented, from payer rules and billing codes to fee schedules and other compliance needs. Having billing experts ensure that submissions are as clean and precise as possible while enabling your billing process to run smoothly.
Review the prior authorization process
Prior authorization is a process that requires a health plan to approve treatment before it is provided. It’s often required for drug and other medical services but can also apply to other treatments such as surgery, physical therapy or imaging studies. A prior authorization request may be made by phone or online; however, the patient should not contact the insurance company directly about this issue because they will have no control over their claim submission process during this time.
In conclusion, the hospital billing process is a challenging one. But if you’re willing to learn all about it and stay informed, then it can be less stressful and confusing! There isn’t any difference between how much money your health insurance will pay versus what they owe you. It’s worth noting that some patients are better prepared than others when it comes time for their bills – so don’t be afraid if something seems off or even wrong – just ask questions!