Medical billing errors are rampant throughout the industry, and few claims are quite as tricky as mental health, substance abuse, and behavioral health services. Diagnoses are complicated. Treatments are complicated. Coverage is complicated. That makes coding for all three incredibly messy, and when claims are messy, they’re often denied. It can take long enough to solve these issues to cause critical disruptions in patient care, so providers must do whatever they can to avoid errors.
Avoiding Billing Errors in Therapy Practices
First, it’s important to take stock of the most common reasons for denials and claim rejections. These include:
- Clerical errors such as name misspellings
- Outdated information for patient, insurer and provider
- Incorrect or mismatched codes
- Missed filing deadlines
- Double billing
Unfortunately, creative billing can also lead to problems — and even jail time! All of the following situations are considered fraud:
- Undercoding — Billing for a service that is less expensive than the treatment performed
- Upcoding — Billing for a service that is more expensive that what was received
- Unbundling — Billing for individual services covered under a less expensive packaged treatment plan
Avoid these risks by hiring a professional medical billing service to help handle your claims paperwork. Not only will you avoid errors — and with them everything from disruptions in processing to the threat of large fines — but you can also streamline your staff toward other tasks, saving money and reducing workforce stress.
One of the easiest ways for support staff to help prevent mental health billing errors is to verify information during patient intake. This means double-checking the spelling of a patient’s name, birthdate, address and social security number. It also means calling their insurance company before treatment is rendered to ensure their policy number and coverage are the same, and that you have updated billing contact information.
Another clinic policy that will help you keep bills under control is to determine who, how and when bill information is compiled. If a provider, support staff, and your clerical team are changing documents, it won’t be long before you’re charging patients for the same treatment twice. Make sure one person is in charge of compiling the final billing notes so double-charges and mismatched diagnoses are cleared up.
You need to invest in constant training for your staff to be up-to-date with the latest insurance codes. Skipping this step is bound to cause problems. Chances are, you can’t afford them. Instead of jumping ship and joining a large hospital or medical group staff, consider the affordable options available to private practices.
Enlisting Professional Mental Health Bill Error Help
At BPS Billing, we keep our software updated on the latest changes so your profits aren’t tripped up by incorrect ICD, CPT, HPCS or Place of Service codes. We conform to insurance industry schedules as well, so you’ll never forfeit profits by missing deadlines again. These mistakes lead to rejected claims, which takes time to correct and resubmit. Denials, on the other hand, take months and quite a bit of legwork to fix.
Get ahead of billing issues before they take a bite out of your budget. Contact BPS Billing today at (860) 659-5805 and request a quote on specialized mental health billing software and complementary services.