I got a call a few months ago from a potential client. She got right to the point. She said she pays 3% to her overseas billing team and pointed out that we charge a little more than that. So she asked, “What makes you worth more?”
I get it – when you start talking about a percentage of your business, every point matters.
I love getting this question because I believe wholeheartedly that a US-based billing provider is not only worth it but actually far less costly than sending that work overseas.
These are the 4 reasons I shared with her:
Overseas billing companies aren’t inherently bad, but I personally haven’t had positive experiences with any. My exposure is usually after someone calls me to do a review of their billing.
My experience tells me that an overseas biller is much more likely to accept a denial from the insurance company. They are not going to call a US number during US office hours to wait on hold for 40 minutes to question the denial and have it reprocessed.
My experience is that these tend to be written off or will go to patient responsibility.
So… let’s say you collect $1,000,000 from your overseas biller at 3%. You pay them $30,000 and keep $970,000.
A US-based billing company charges 6%, but because they aren’t writing as much off, collects $1,300,000 for you – 30% more. You pay them $78,000 but keep over $1,200,000.
That’s an extra $250,000 for the same work you did.
What could you do with an extra 250K?
2. Security & Compliance
With the exponential increase in healthcare data breaches, both domestic and offshore entities are at risk. But IT experts generally agree that the risk is intensified with overseas contractors for several reasons:
- On average, overseas billing employees are less experienced than American billing professionals, leading to more errors – including security-related ones.
- Overseas billers have little to no understanding of the complicated and ever-changing laws regarding protected health information.
- Overseas companies often work on their own EMR systems leading to less transparency.
A quality, HIPAA-compliant biller will go the extra mile to keep your patient data secure, with policies and procedures in place to protect all of it. That means your biller should be aware of both data breaches and just flat-out unsecure practices.
Once your information leaves the US, you have no protection. Overseas billers may have indemnification clauses in their contracts and even sign a Business Associate Agreement, but your options for recourse are where things break down. Depending on the country’s own laws regarding data security, you may have little to no regulatory support.
If a HIPAA violation is made by your overseas biller, the chances of the OCR (Office of Civil Rights, which oversees all things HIPAA) taking legal action are slim to nil. Experts have never seen OCR pursue recourse; instead they would hold the provider liable for not accounting for a breach in their risk analysis.
Don’t be left on the hook by an overseas biller thinking you were saving money.
4. Did We Mention the $$?
In addition to collections being higher by a US-based biller, the productivity and expertise of a US-based team far surpass that of a foreign company, which means more money in your pocket.
In a recent study performed by American Health and Information Management Association of hospitals that used both domestic and overseas billing companies, they found that:
“The savings realized from employing lower-wage offshore coders was lost to productivity issues and lower reimbursements. All variables considered, offshore coders cost hospitals $3.10 per hour more than their domestic counterparts.” (Source.)
At Altus, we guarantee that we will never outsource your billing overseas. Our team of US-based healthcare professionals is regularly trained and kept up-to-date on the latest regulations. We have multiple levels of encryption on all computers and run scans daily to ensure no patient data is at risk.
We have a security consultant with an intelligence background providing extra accountability to make sure we are staying compliant and secure. In addition, we have pediatricians and a JD on staff who understand the ins and outs of healthcare compliance. On top of that, we partnered with a tech company that provides continuous, real-time monitoring on every one of our machines.
Set up a call and let’s talk about how we can limit your liability and increase your collections by keeping (or bringing back!) your billing in the US.