A medical billing company: a service everyone’s vaguely aware of, but also something the general population may not have a clear picture of. From small, home-based operations to large national companies, there’s a lot to learn about. First of all, a company that handles this aspect of the healthcare process is an outsourced option for a hospital or doctor’s office. While some hospitals and doctor’s practices have in-house specialists, many choose to, as stated before, try to focus on patients or simply make their business more efficient by letting an experienced third party handle claims. An effective billing company increases the percentage of collections, which is important for any health care organization that is looking to increase their profits. In the past, some companies performed billing by mail, but new guidelines laid out by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) require work to be processed online for privacy. It’s important to make sure any prospective billers are well-versed in this important privacy act, which may mean asking about certifications or accreditation by professional organizations. Next, a medical billing company can be distinguished from its counterparts in a few ways. Some are differentiated based on their work area, which may include specialty areas such as anesthesia, OB/GYN or orthopedics. Some offer a comprehensive solution, which may include facets such as proprietary software, daily updates and financial reporting. Others offer basic solutions and charge for additional services. It’s important to assess the needs of your practice to understand which solutions might fit both your current needs and your potential future needs. Currently, services can be divided into three types: small home businesses, standard services, and full-fledged practice management companies. Small home businesses are best for small practices, such as a private practice with one or two doctors. A mid-sized or standard service company usually has more than a 20-person staff and are the preferred providers for practices seeking personalized service; these firms are also great for healthcare practices that need an organization that can help with specialties. A third option is a large national firm. They’re often branded, offer less personalized service and happen to be a bit more expensive. The last, and newest, option is geographically outsourced; these are the ones based in other countries and attract customers with their low prices. Their performance can be weak and their services limited due to language barriers and a limited offering of services.Why do many companies choose to outsource and introduce a third party to the process? There are a few reasons. One is that administrators no longer have the burden of trying to perform their normal duties in addition to time-consuming follow-up calls and training new employees on the system. Another reason to outsource is the incentive for success that a third party has; a medical billing company provides efficiency and results. This should be a good base to get you started in learning more about the role of the medical billing company. There’s much to learn, as healthcare is a constantly changing industry!