Deciding between keeping billing in-house or outsourcing is a big one for ASC administrators and a choice that can only be made after considering numerous factors.
Here, Larry Parrish, administrator of Illinois Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Surgery Center in Morton Grove, discusses why he decided to outsource billing services for the ASC.
Q: Why did you decide to outsource billing services at your ASC?
Larry Parrish: When our surgery center was preparing to open, we realized that we did not have the physical space or the expertise in-house. If we had the physical space to accommodate the billing activity, we might have seriously considered it. However, accurate and effective billing is a very complex process, and you want to make sure you have very capable individuals providing those services. Since we didn't have the space, we never really considered performing this critical function in-house.
Q: Which company/organization do you contract with for billing services?
LP: Regent Revenue Cycle Management also known as Regent RCM..
Q: What are the advantages of outsourcing billing?
LP: The advantage is that we are able to provide effective and efficient billing services five days a week and not have to worry about training or staffing. Not every facility has access to personnel with the skills necessary to do perform billing services effectively.
We were one of the first customers for Regent RCM and the other companies that I had spoken with did not have a lot of experience in billing specific to ASCs. They had more experience with physician practices and other specialty services. But Regent was in a unique position given that they have ownership in a number of ASCs. They understand the nuances of ASC billing and over time the sophistication of their services grew exponentially.
Q: In retrospect, was this the right decision for your ASC? Why?
LP: Yes, since we didn't have administrative space large enough to establish an office for billing, I would have had to find office space off-site from the ASC, which would be problematic for our business office manager. Also, a typical ASC is large enough to employ only one person in that capacity, which then raises the question of how to provide services when that staff person is sick or on vacation. When you contract with a third party, staffing and handling turnover becomes their issue. We also wouldn't have the professional oversight and expertise that managers working for a third party billing company have in place.