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3 mistakes dental billing services make working with your practice

November 10th, 2022 | 5 min. read

3 mistakes dental billing services make working with your practice Blog Feature

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When you outsource dental billing services, you’re looking for all of the amazing benefits the salesperson promised you in the initial phone call. You’re hoping to see your numbers climb, and your dental team less stressed by insurance claims work. 

But preparing for potential mistakes the dental billing service makes is important as well. 

Dentists struggle because insurance billing drains too much time and money from the practice. To alleviate the stress from this, Dental ClaimSupport works with teams to streamline their insurance billing so that they can focus on providing amazing patient care. As a dental billing service, we have seen and heard from teams what mistakes they face from services. 

In this article, we are sharing 3 common mistakes dental billing services make when working with dental teams. The consequences of these mistakes typically lead to dental teams giving up on outsourcing dental billing services altogether. This puts your dental team right back to square one on getting your insurance claims handled. 

When you understand these common mistakes, you can decide if it’s something that can be fixed through a conversation, or if you need to find a new dental billing service provider. Let’s dive in.

1. Lack of communication from the dental billing service

Because a dental billing service is typically working on your dental billing remotely, communication is paramount. Every dental billing service is different, but communication between the billing service and the dental team should be a top priority. 

Communication can still fall through the cracks, though. Especially if the dental billing team is zeroed in on a big project for your practice such as cleaning up an extensive insurance aging report. 

Ideally, you hear from your dental billing service at least once a day with a daily deposit report, or some kind of report explaining all of the payments posted that day to your practice management software. This way you can keep tabs of the service’s progress on your insurance claims. 

If you hear from your dental billing service less than once a week - this could be a problem. And even though communication is a two-way street, the dental billing service should be taking the time to let you know of the work they’ve completed one way or another. 

How to address the mistake: Agree upon your method of communication

Reach out to your dental biller and let them know you were expecting more regular communication and would appreciate it in the future.

Related: Working with a dental billing company: 3 tips for dentists

As we mentioned, it could be that the dental biller was wrapped up in a time-consuming project for your dental practice. If this is the case, try giving the biller the benefit of the doubt that it won’t happen again and still express your expectations for communication. 

If the lack of communication continues, reach out to your biller’s superior or look into finding a new dental billing service. 

2. Lack of explanation concerning new dental billing processes

When a dental billing service begins working with your team, there is going to be a transitional period. This can be a challenge to your in-house team because your billing processes are likely going to change. It’s a learning experience! 

Ideally, the dental biller you’re working with properly explains how the new process will work, and what your team will be responsible for in order for the outsourced biller to do his or her job. 

But this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes a dental biller assumes that the salesperson already explained all of the processes to the in-house dental team, or that the team remembered every part of the orientation. 

And this is a mistake because - as we mentioned - it’s a learning experience - and the in-house team is going to need a period of time to get used to the new dental billing process where a remote biller is involved. 

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How to address the mistake: Reach out to the biller about walking the team through the new processes

You’re new to this dental billing service - it’s only natural that you don’t 100% understand what your new dental billing process is going to look like. When confusion arises with your team, reach out to your biller about it. 

This way the biller knows you are not clear on who needs to be doing what regarding your billing. Ideally, the biller will take extra time to help your team adjust to the change and help them through the process by sharing their expertise and best practices. 

If they do not take the time to do this, it might not be the dental billing service for you. 

3. Falling short on the dental billing expertise your practice needs

When working with your practice, your expert dental billing specialist needs to know much more than how to file claims. Posting payments correctly, making proper adjustments, and appealing denials are part of the job of collecting fully what you’ve earned. Common claim mistakes include:

  • Sending claims without the documentation to get them paid the first time
  • Making improper adjustments
  • Not knowing when to close claims vs appeal denials

For example, when monitoring, we often see a biller fail to appeal a denial when the EOB is requesting a seat date for a crown. A biller who is trained to resolve requests for additional information will know what to send and where to file the appeal, and get your office paid for the work you’ve performed.

It’s important that the biller recognizes opportunities to overturn denials and takes action. 

Another common mistake: incorrect adjustments. While account adjustments are necessary, a common billing mistake is to deduct significantly more than necessary from the fee, so the practice collects much less than it’s entitled to.

You want a biller trained to avoid costly missteps, especially when adjusting fees. 

How to address the mistake: Regularly audit your dental biller’s performance

Have the office manager run an internal audit of the adjustments on patient ledgers (or find a consultant to do this). A policy to run through internal checks and take training on proper write-offs can help identify and address mistakes. 

The service may not be worth the fee if there are frequent mistakes. You may want to raise your concerns with your billing service provider, and ask about how they can resolve them. 

Not all dental billing companies hold themselves to the same high bar for service quality. Talk with service providers about how they maintain a high level of quality to find a trusted billing partner.

Related: 5 dental billing questions to ask when you're thinking of outsourcing

Dental billers are ideally experts in their field. They keep up with any and all insurance industry changes, CDT coding changes, and the best billing practices. In a well-run service, they also work closely with other experts every day - learning from their fellow billers! 

Ready to successfully work with a dental billing company?

The transition to outsourced dental billing services can be a big adjustment for your in-house team. A few rough spots can be expected. As long as there is a clear solution and strategy to prevent mistakes from repeating, you should be able to work successfully with a dental billing company. 

If you’ve faced several mistakes from a dental billing service, you are wise not to give up on outsourcing dental billing altogether but to find one that better meets your needs,  – which is our goal at Dental ClaimSupport. Everyone’s needs are different, and the right dental billing company is out there for you. 

You can build your practice with confidence when you have cash flow you can count on, and that’s what dental billing services provide for you. Learn more about our services by visiting our website.

Find out how to increase income, lower costs on dental billing when you schedule a call

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