My biller, my husband

March 8, 2010

After careful consideration, we (meaning my husband and I) decided that my husband would do my billing. After all, other than me, who else truly has an interest in how much gets collected? Who’s going to look at every claim, every invoice, every EOB? And who’s going to figure, yes, it is worth the 44-cent stamp to send that statement for $2.29.

After having paid about 10 percent of collections to our billing department when I was at my old group practice, I had to make a decision about who would do the billing for my new practice.

I had found a couple of billing companies that would take less (heck, no one I know has a company that takes 10 percent). But even 5 percent seemed like a lot. And I was pretty jaded after my prior experience. You know there was a time that our collections were way down one month, allegedly because the person responsible for our billing went on vacation and stuffed our billing slips in a drawer instead of delegating them to someone else.

Plus, anything less than $10 was just written off apparently. I know $10 may not seem like much, but let’s say that even two patients a day owed $10, that’s more than $7,000 a year! Now, I understand, if you’re paid hourly, you don’t care if you collect $10 or $10,000, you shuffle your papers and make an occasional call, but if you get a denial, then so be it.

So, after careful consideration, we (meaning my husband and I) decided that my husband would do my billing. After all, other than me, who else truly has an interest in how much gets collected? Who’s going to look at every claim, every invoice, every EOB? And who’s going to figure, yes, it is worth the 44-cent stamp to send that statement for $2.29.

Now my husband’s not a biller by trade. But he took the requisite courses and is proficient at math, and quite honestly, I think he’s got a little obsessive-compulsive trait in him. This of course is great in a biller. But my husband also has a full-time “real” job, and because of my hours, he is also a very hands-on dad. So he does the billing during his lunch hour (he’s always grateful for the drug rep lunches), in the evenings, and on the weekends.

We had some technical difficulties at first, as he learned the practice management system and our clearinghouse’s software, but he has it down pretty good now. Sure, he gets frustrated at making phone calls to insurance companies, especially when he can’t get a human on the phone (which is all the time), and the phone calls from patients who say they shouldn’t owe anything because they have a secondary insurance (which would have been good to know when they came for their visit).

But he says, strangely enough, that he kind of likes doing my billing, and I like having him come to the office everyday. And if the time ever comes that the world doesn’t need engineers, he has something to fall back on.