I do a great deal of analysis on radiology group and imaging center billing. My estimate is that I’ve done well over 100 in all my years in this business.
The results during this time have been very predictable—about half the groups were doing better than average and about half less than average.
Related: Is Above-Average Good Enough?
Doing this analysis is part science and part art. The hard part is typically not in running the metrics, although, depending on the quality of reporting, this can be difficult as well. The challenge is assessing what the results should be based on the circumstances (i.e. patient mix, location, etc.)
As a rule of thumb, my recommendations fall in to four buckets.
- Top Quartile (Best): Do nothing except take your billers out for dinner.
- Second Quartile (Better than Average): Potentially point out a few areas of improvement but stay with what is working.
- Third Quartile (Worse than Average): Give your billing entity a specific list of required improvements and a timeframe in which to accomplish these results. If they don’t make the improvements, make a change in the billing entity.
- Fourth Quartile (Worst): Change billing entities.
Not all billing environments are created equal
A group in a private imaging center in an affluent suburb should be collecting close to 100% while a hospital-based group in a rural, low-income based facility might be lucky to be “average.” This is the part where you have to know what you are looking at rather than comparing apples to oranges.
Changing a billing company or moving from internal billing to outsourced billing (or back again) can be disruptive and cause cash flow issues. The biggest problem, of course, is that the old billing entity will not work well during the transition. This being the case, there should be a compelling reason to make a move.
In my experience, a few common threads are identifiable.
Most radiologists don’t have a good handle on their billing. Don’t feel embarrassed like you are the only one if that is the case. Most people didn’t go to medical school and a radiology residency to spend hours and hours going over billing metrics.
I had one radiologist call me and say he was ready to move billing companies immediately as his billing company was “horrible.” I ran the numbers and informed him he was on the top end of the top quartile. He is still with them as far as I know.
Getting help with radiology billing
If I can offer one piece of advice it’s that the problem is not that you don’t know all about billing, the problem is not asking for help from those who do.
Speaking of which, unless you ask me to do a deep dive in your billing (like an audit), the cost of the analysis is free.
Why? Because probably a quarter of the people that ask me to do it can benefit from my service.
Reasons groups don’t seek radiology billing help
Those radiology groups and billing centers that still have bad billing don’t or can’t act on it for some reason. The motives behind this lack of action are all over the place. These include...
- They have a relationship with their billing staff or billing company.
- They are nervous of potentially going from bad to worse.
- They don’t trust the analysis.
- They are paralyzed over making a decision.
- The decision gets caught up in the politics of the group.
Tackle billing problems with a free billing analysis
My take on this is that if you know you’re getting bad service, don’t hesitate to act. It’s not unlike a patient when you tell them that they have a serious medical problem and they refuse to act.
If you would like a free, no obligation billing analysis, please contact Dexios. Our promise is that you will get a professional, unbiased assessment of your billing and we won’t harass you for years to come with a barrage of sales pitches.