7 Signs It’s Time to Update Your PT Billing System

Problems with your current physical therapy billing system? PTs can look for these 7 signs that it's time for an update.

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It’s Time to Update Your PT Billing System

PT billing systems aren’t cut from the same cloth, as outdated solutions are running rampant through the physical therapy community. In today’s digital world, patients and regulators expect practice owners to keep up with the latest diagnostic codes and every billing claim submitted while sifting through mountains of patient data. It's in your best interest, too. As practice owners with the right billing system can analyze trends, stop mistakes before they occur, and run a more profitable clinic over time. So, what are the tell-tale signs that you need to update your current billing solution? Let’s take a look:

1. Unhealthy Accounts Receivable (A/R)

Practice owners who notice their accounts receivable (A/R) start to tick upwards (both in time and amount) should be waving red flags. And fortunately for most PTs, proper billing procedures can solve many issues with A/R.A proper system will organize the financial health of your practice in an easy-to-use fashion. Tracking what’s been billed, what needs to be billed, and how collections are progressing is critical. For example, if claims are sitting in limbo, it’s imperative to review, follow up, and figure out why they aren’t getting paid. PTs rely on great cash flow, so if insurance companies hold onto claims for too long, the billing team needs to know—so they can put the spurs to them. Following up on unpaid claims promptly is key to resolving them. If your billing system isn’t tracking outstanding claims and you notice your AR slowly creeping up, it’s time to make a change.

2. Compliance Issues

If your billing system is a compliance time bomb ready to blow, it’s probably time for an update. Here are a few compliance issues to look for:

  • Every practice’s billing routine—first and foremost—should protect patients under HIPAA. HIPAA alone can cost thousands of dollars and even result in jail time for PTs who exhibit blatant negligence, so keeping your patients’ information under lock and key is priority.
  • Another compliance issue PTs face is using the proper code. ICD-10 feels infinite at times, with over 70,000 procedure codes and 69,000 diagnosis codes. Making a coding mistake could result in a claim denial, which can seriously impact the bottom line—especially if it’s happening consistently.
  • Practice owners should be mindful of potential Medicare audits. Utilizing the proper billing system can ensure data is detailed, complete, secure and ready for inspection.
  • Finally, with the ever-changing regulatory landscape, the busy practice owner needs a flexible billing system (or a professionally managed one).

3. Inaccurate Recordkeeping, Reporting and Analytics

If your practice is making recordkeeping blunders or doesn’t have the reporting capabilities to analyze the data, it might be time for a new system. Data is everything in today’s digital world. Outside of mishandling patients’ information (which is a serious problem in itself), inaccurate data can make it harder to give patients the proper care or pinpoint problems within the organization. Physical therapists who can keep their data on a digital platform can manage their practice more efficiently and profitably. Most billing platforms provide unique insights into patients' data—resolving billing conflicts and getting you paid faster. If your data is falling through the cracks currently, unorganized, and provides little insight into your organization, it might be time for a change.

4. Bad Patient Experience

If patients are stuck calling Monday through Friday or need to mail a check to make a payment, it’s probably time to update your billing system. People expect convenience, which is why an online bill pay platform is essential. Paying someone your hard-earned cash is always a pain point; making this transaction easier for patients could improve retention and satisfaction.

5. Lack of Efficiency

This is the meat and potatoes of billing—how well are you getting paid? Your billing software should allow you to submit unlimited claims, check patients' eligibility, and include an integrated clearinghouse. These tools should be met with excellent customer support and an easy-to-use system that limits human error from a data-entry standpoint. However, with great power comes great responsibility. All billing software, especially platforms loaded with features, should run with minimal downtime and buggy-ness. Billing patients and receiving payments is too important for your system to crash. It’s also vital for your billing solutions to be transparent about costs. Practice owners shouldn’t need to move their clinic onto a new billing system because sneaky fees are written in small print.

6. Unscalable

It might not be an issue now, but what happens when you outgrow your current solution? If you add 50 employees, 2 clinics, and 500 patients, will your system be able to keep up? If practice owners have aspirations of expansion, it’s important to take a hard look at your current system before making any moves. Ask yourself, "Will it scale to the level I need and then some?" If the answer is no, implement the right solution before you make a move. You’ll be able to learn and understand the system fully before training the new staff.

7. Not Web-Based

Are your practice and billing solutions constricted to the office? Many billing systems are tied to inflexible software systems only available during work hours. And while taking your work home with you isn’t always ideal, accessing it from anywhere—securely—with a laptop and an internet connection can change how you can manage your billing (and hopefully allow you to take a vacation or two as well).

The Bottom Line

Billing mastery is difficult for every physical therapy clinic. If your current system isn’t moving you in the right direction, you might consider switching services. If you’ve noticed bloated A/R, compliance pitfalls, and inaccurate data, it might be time to update your system. You should ensure your billing is more of a daily solution than a technology headache. Great billing solutions go above and beyond, providing you with the insight needed to improve your business. It's also a good idea to consider the user experience and how convenient the system is for your staff and patients. If you’re having issues with billing and looking for an all-in-one software solution, compliance, EMR, and just about everything else—try MWTherapy’s physical therapy software. It’s an easy-to-use platform loaded with powerful features built to boost efficiency and profitability. Check out the free demo here to see for yourself.

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