Laboratories are a very important cog in the wheel of the healthcare system. While only a small percentage of the overall hospital staff, their findings are incredibly important to all branches of healthcare. Their findings can make or break a patient’s case and provide doctors with life-saving insights and treatment options.
Lab work is so important, and yet, because most hospital labs are small, billing for these laboratories can be difficult. Often lab departments find that their invoices go unpaid and that insurance companies won’t cover certain charges.
The lab billing process
Lab billing is unique from other types of healthcare and hospital billing in some cases. Lab workers do not have direct involvement in lab billing. Usually, other departments oversee billing for laboratories. This allows lab workers to focus on what’s important – their necessary research. However, it can further complicate the billing process and stall invoices from going out.
This is because billers must carefully break down and implement coding for each invoice. This process is its own billing cycle that can take a while. First, the lab worker provides the codes. Second, the billing associate implements the codes and then generates an invoice. Third, the invoice is sent to the insurance company. Finally, the insurance company decides by deciphering said codes if they will pay the invoice or not.
This lengthy cycle between lab workers and billing associates can cause problems if not implemented correctly. Workers handling billing must be careful to use proper codes and generate invoices in a timely manner. Moreover, this is to ensure payments are made on-time. In some cases, lab billing providers must generate codes and bills many times before the invoice is finally paid.
Billing for lab work can be such a complicated and time-consuming process. This is usually why many hospitals, clinics, and labs choose to outsource their lab billing to a billing company. Utilizing lab billing services is a practical way to outsource invoicing and billing to a company that knows how to properly code and invoice your costs, working with insurance companies and paying patients to ensure that you can focus on what’s important: your research and findings.
Training for billing and coding is paramount
Billing companies undergo training in laboratory billing and coding and can handle your bill cycles easily and more efficiently. They’ll utilize the internal software, documentation, and systems that you use in the office. Further communications with insurance companies, doctors, nurses, and other staff have assurance. The patient communication process is more streamlined, comprehensive, and open.
Hiring a billing service saves time and results in more paid invoices. However, as a result, it also reduces operating costs and staff costs. Therefore, this reduces training time, eliminates billing and coding errors, facilitates faster-paid invoices, and faster verifications. It opens the door to easier communications between doctor, lab, nurse, insurance company and patient. Most of all, it ensures all-around quicker processing and paid closed invoices.
Billing shouldn’t be the primary focus of a lab. They have important work to do. Delegating billing and invoicing to a trained and experienced billing service is a major plus for any lab in a doctor’s office or hospital.