You’re a dentist who has wisely chosen to outsource your dental billing work in order to increase your revenue and give better patient care. After several months (or years!) of outsourcing your dental billing, you’re thinking you want to bring your dental billing work back in-house. But is your team ready for this change?
When you work with us at DCS, we always want to set dental teams up for success. Even if you decide to take your billing back in-house, as a dental billing company, our job is to ensure your team can continue to get easy insurance claims income through a streamlined billing process.
That’s why in this article, we’re sharing 3 signs your in-house dental team is ready to take on dental billing work after you’ve outsourced it to a dental billing company. You outsource your billing for a reason, and the way it is handled directly affects your cash flow. Therefore, your in-house team must be capable of maintaining a steady revenue stream after the outsourced dental biller no longer works for you.
These signs will let you know if they’re ready for the responsibility and workload. Let’s get into it.
1. You have a person in place whose sole responsibility is insurance billing (an insurance coordinator)
One person needs to be able to dedicate their entire day, every day - to insurance billing.
So this either looks like hiring an insurance coordinator or transitioning one of your employees to that position, without other responsibilities on their plate. A good sign that you’re ready to bring your billing back in-house is if this person has advanced training with a proven track record of efficiently managing and maintaining healthy insurance receivables.
This is a huge issue we see when dental teams let go of their outsourced dental billing company. They outsource originally because they needed help with the tedious workload of dental billing, then they see their numbers start to increase and their insurance aging report cleaned up, then think they’re ready to let the company go.
And this can be possible, as long as you have an experienced and knowledgeable person in place that can handle the billing. If you don’t have this person available to be accountable for dental billing with zero distractions, you might revert back to where you were before you outsourced your dental billing.
2. Your in-house administrative team has been trained on billing best practices (and has plans to have continuous training)
Not only do you need someone in place to be accountable for your billing, but this person needs to be informed on the best billing practices and all things dental insurance.
It’s not enough just to have a warm body in place of your outsourced dental biller. The person getting ready to take the billing responsibilities back needs to know the job. This means they are up to date on CDT codes, dental insurance regulations for your state, and can confidently explain a patient’s dental insurance to them.
This person can calculate patient out-of-pocket estimates easily and knows how to create, batch, and submit dental insurance claims. They also know how to work the aging report efficiently and the best strategies for doing so.
This person also knows how to reconcile and balance your payments coming in from insurance companies and patients in the software and in the bank account. They also know which reports in your practice management software to keep track of to be sure your collections are steady and accounted for.
And of course, this person plans to continuously train on dental insurance billing and is prepared for the educational aspect of the role. Dental insurance and the industry are constantly changing, and part of the biller’s role is to stay up to date. This is not a job that someone can learn on the job, or else your numbers will suffer.
Having someone in place who is dedicated to the success of your practice, is a great team player, knowledgeable, and capable of maintaining a streamlined billing process is a sign you’re ready to take your billing back in-house.
3. You have a strategy in place for how and when dental billing tasks are completed
Another sign you’re ready to take your dental billing back in-house is that you have a strategy for your team. When you outsourced your dental billing, it was a big change that your billing company (hopefully) helped you transition into. Another change is coming if you let go of your dental billing company, so you need a plan in place.
This sign really depends on the first two signs we mentioned above, but you need a strategy for how and when dental billing tasks are completed. So having a dedicated person to your dental billing is the right move, but you also need to prepare the rest of your team.
While your insurance coordinator handles claims work, another team member might take over insurance verification, patient check-in, or any other responsibility the new insurance coordinator no longer will have the bandwidth for.
Having a plan or strategy in place for who is going to be responsible for what is crucial for avoiding any drops in productivity or profitability. If you let go of your dental billing services without a plan, your team isn’t going to be able to perform their tasks confidently - they might be confused about what their new responsibilities are. And not only can this lead to claim errors, but also disorganization that patients will notice.
In-house billers should have accountability, checks and balances, and oversight by the owner or manager.
Re-evaluate your dental practice expenses and their value before the end of the year
It’s natural to re-evaluate your expenses, especially around the end of the year. And typically, as a dentist, this includes your outsourced services. This is usually when you feel your team is ready to take back the dental billing responsibilities.
And with your numbers high and your aging report cleaned up - you might think outsourced billing is a good expense to cut. If you have an insurance coordinator in place who has the expertise to maintain your cash flow and a plan for the transition - you could be ready for this change.
But outsourcing your dental billing is a long-term, continuous service meant to give your time to focus on what is happening in your office rather than the status of your insurance claims.
Dental ClaimSupport is a trusted dental billing partner that helps dental teams get cash flow they can count on while your team focuses on delivering an amazing patient experience.