How is Medical Billing for Behavioral Health different from conventional Medical Billing?
In hindsight, both medical billing and behavioral health billing are not that different from each other. However, they do differ in certain crucial aspects of their functionality. This distinction is primarily dictated by mental health billing’s relatively more complex, challenging nature. Although traditional medical billing is complicated, it also has a distinct advantage over behavioral health billing.
For instance, the concept of medical care isn’t new to us. Unlike mental health awareness, you can expect some form of uniformity with most issues about medical care. One can anticipate medical care to progress in a typical fashion, regardless of the problem. Medical care will always begin with a simple check-up.
They were perhaps followed by blood pressure measurement later, an interpersonal evaluation with a doctor, and so on. Doctors have performed such assessments in the same manner for so long that the entire process behind medical care has become almost predictable.
A doctor administering medical care will more or less follow the above routine to arrive at their diagnosis or advise appropriate treatment. This predictable nature of medical care also makes billing associated with the process predictable and thus relatively simple than mental health billing.
Why is Mental Health Billing So Complicated and Difficult?
We’ve already mentioned the advantage traditional medical care has over mental health billing solely because of its uniformity. As such, what makes mental health billing more challenging is the lack of uniformity in its administration. Mental health is often described as a science that’s not exact. We live in arguably the most progressive era, yet mental health awareness is still treated as a taboo subject in many developed regions of the world.
Only now are we witnessing open conversations on mental health? Topics like depression and anxiety are rightfully becoming more mainstream. Civil societies around the globe are taking essential steps towards de-stigmatizing issues about mental health. Our perception of mental health disorders and our knowledge of what causes them is still evolving. This constant change in our understanding of mental health disorders is reflected in the change their definitions undergo in the DSM.
DSM, also known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, has been under constant evolution because of the volatility displayed by CPT and mental health billing codes. Practitioners have to keep themselves up-to-speed with the latest changes in these codes. This is easier said than done as doctors have to pay heed to patient care as well. The use of a wrong code can often result in a patient being billed incorrectly or billed for the wrong service.
Error in mental health coding permeates every aspect of billing. The biller, the insurance company, and the clinic feel the negative impact of an inefficient behavioral health billing system. It costs time, labor and results in the loss of revenue needed to run a practice smoothly.
Fortunately, these challenges around mental health billing aren’t without their solutions.
Tackling Mental Health Billing Issues with a Robust Software and Outsourcing.
Many of the headaches mentioned above plaguing the behavioral healthcare sector can be avoided if one decides to outsource their medical billing service and adopt intuitive billing software specializing in mental health billing.
The right software, for instance, can considerably simplify the process of medical billing for mental health. We’ve seen many examples over the years of mental health practices strengthening their presence in the industry with the help of good software.
Medical billing software for behavioral health must fulfill the following three criteria to be considered efficient.
1-Specialty Specific Coding
Specialty Specific Coding is an integral part of medical billing for mental health. Mental Health Practitioners do not refer to codes that are primarily designated to PCPs. Many systems make the mistake of presenting information and billing codes that are ultimately irrelevant to specialists. They will never use it, then why bother crowding their interface with such useless data.
The system should instead only present specialists with a well-curated list of codes that are more frequently used in behavioral health. It should proactively disqualify codes that a mental health specialist cannot use, thus saving valuable time and making the billing process less frustrating.
2 – Tailor-Made Dashboard
Aside from the above feature, a dashboard tailor-made to meet needs specific to the field of mental health is a huge bonus. This dashboard should be designed to provide specialists with as much convenience as possible. It should reflect stats and other essential data that convey the progress made by a practice’s billing program. It should also highlight the blind spots in billing and suggest remedial actions to alleviate them.
3 – Claims Improvement Tools
Maintaining a healthy claims acceptance rate is a surefire way of assuring a consistent influx of revenue. Things have changed for the better in the mental health industry. Insurance providers are now providing cover for more and more mental health diagnoses. As such, a growing number of mental health practices from around the world are now accepting insurance.
Therefore, it is essential for the software specializing in behavioral health medical billing to provide tools tasked with ensuring claims are clean before they are submitted. The software should also verify coverage before services are rendered and allow your practice to recover payments from patients.
On the other hand, Outsourcing has also proven to be a cost-effective and time-efficient way of undertaking medical billing for mental health. There are several advantages to outsourcing that have tempted practices to seek out their services in recent years.
The following are some of the benefits outsourcing helps mental health practices reap:
1 – Reduce Administrative Burden
Medical billing is an overwhelming task. Most healthcare practices aren’t well equipped to handle, thus resulting in error-filled coding, claim rejections, and payment delays. Your staff might not possess the skill or time necessary to execute medical billing efficiently. With outsourcing, you alleviate your team’s billing burden and place it on more reliable shoulders. As such, healthcare staff have the time, they need to provide better care to their patients.
2 – Access to Experts
Most third-party medical billing companies are home to professionals in the field of coding and billing. They possess the knowledge, expertise, and confidence needed to execute billing and coding tasks effectively and efficiently. There is little to no chance of errors; billing is done promptly, and practices can hope to get paid on time for their services.
3 – Claims Management
The claims and denial management process is an essential part of medical billing. Incorrectly filled claims can have disastrous consequences. It is vital to ensure these claims are processed accurately. If they are denied, they must be rectified and resubmitted as quickly as possible. Outsourcing to medical billing companies makes the entire claims and denial management process extremely simple as you now have experts working on your claims.
Reliable Medical Billing Services for Behavioral Health by DENmaar
As the principles surrounding Medical billing for behavioral health continue to shift dynamically year after year, it is important to seek out a billing software or a medical billing company whose services you can rely on. DENmaar is one such company that has made many strides in the behavioral healthcare industry by providing solutions that have considerably simplified mental health medical billing and coding.
If you seek to upgrade the medical billing process of your mental health practice or want to learn more about us, then get in touch now and let our representative explain how we can be of service to you.