Here are five simple ways to get to know and appreciate a key member of your medical practice staff: your biller.
Every medical practice has a biller, but few understand just how valuable these people truly are. Having spent the majority of my life in medical offices, there are a few things I can tell you about medical billers that, if taken to heart, will greatly improve your relationship with your biller. Appreciating your biller can also improve your whole practice.
1. You should know that your biller is a performance-driven person.
To non-billers, this means "your biller likes to see the results of her work." She is motivated by the desire to make a positive impact using her skills and expertise. She most likely thrives on feedback. The old adage "no news is good news" is not helpful; you must make consistent efforts to give your biller feedback, whether positive or negative. Keeping the lines of communication open with freedom to speak candidly will be a huge boost to your relationship with your biller.
2. Make an effort to understand exactly what is required to accomplish his job successfully.
This would include knowing:
• That he has to read numerous articles to stay on top of insurance updates, governmental regulations, and coding guidelines
• What challenges he faces from within the office
• How many questions he gets asked every day
• How many insurance contracts/fee schedules he has to keep up with
• How many claims he has to appeal
3. Don’t just assume that she knows you appreciate her.
Tell her and show her, remembering that actions speak louder than words. Paying a salary commensurate with her expertise and work load is one way to show appreciation. Letting her know specific things that you are aware she accomplished or did an outstanding job on is another great way to show appreciation. A nice flower arrangement for her desk on Medical Billers Appreciation Day is a thoughtful gesture. (By the way, that day is the last Thursday in March.) If you can’t remember that day, at least include her in the Secretaries Appreciation Day. Believe me, billers are detail oriented; she will remember that you skipped her appreciation day yet heralded the coming of Nurses Appreciation Day with fanfare.
4. Treat him with respect and make sure that other staff members do as well.
The biller’s goal is to make sure you are paid correctly for the service you render. That sounds awesome, but many times it lands him in hot water with co-workers. He is the one caught in the middle when new policies have to be implemented to ensure compliance with ever-changing regulations. If these changes are not well received, billers tend to bear the brunt of co-workers’ frustrations. He is also often shunned for having to bring attention to recurring errors from other departments which end up affecting the billing.
5. Take some time to get to know her.
Doctors naturally spend more time with their clinical staff than their billing staff. That usually translates into knowing the clinical staff better than the billing staff. The only time you speak to your biller shouldn’t be when you are upset that the collection rate is down.
Your biller has a huge responsibility in making sure your practice is able to stay open. No matter how hard your clinical staff is working, if the biller isn’t making sure the money is coming in, then your doors won’t be open for long.
Any employee’s performance can take a nose dive when they feel unappreciated and unimportant, but especially so in billers. While no set of suggestions will apply to every single person or practice, I can promise you that building a better relationship with your biller will go a long way toward improving your medical practice physically and financially. Every effort you make and any time you spend improving that relationship is time and effort very well spent.