The skills needed for medical billing have changed dramatically in the last fifteen years. Even after the dawn of the new millennium, most medical billers were little more than data entry clerks who filled-in paper forms or keyed information into basic software programs. Today, a successful biller needs to understand (and be proficient) in using technology, applying deductive and critical thinking skills, and be an excellent communicator. As a result, many entry-level billers today have specialized vocational training or college degrees.
According to a major job site, the average biller in the US stays at a company on average between one to three years. Additionally, the average billing specialist (entry level) salary is around $15 an hour;1 however, when you factor in costs such as benefits, other overheads, the actual total to a company is up to $30 per hour or more.
Recruiting the best talent can be a struggle now, more so than in years past, because of low unemployment. The experience level and training required to handle today’s revenue cycle management is higher than ever due to shifting reimbursement models. As a result, companies that want to remain successful need to recognize the importance of recruiting, training and retaining the best billing & coding talent.
What to look for in a Medical Billing employee
Everyone needs to start somewhere, and entry-level employees can be an asset to your team. They are commonly assigned to take care of lower-level tasks such as eligibility checks and first-pass claim corrections. Although this employee level usually has no previous industry experience, successful candidates should be able to demonstrate basic math skills, be able to follow direction, be comfortable using technology and work efficiently. Although this seems straightforward enough, it can be surprisingly tricky to find!
More advanced employees, such as those that post payments, handle denials and oversee appeals, need to have more advanced medical billing knowledge. For example, payment posters need to be comfortable reading a variety of ERAs and EOBs – discerning payment groupings such as allowable amounts and contractual adjustments can be confusing because of different formats. Denial and appeal specialists need to understand the unique requirements of the payer they are working with, as well as proper coding, and the concept of medical necessity to be successful.
In addition to directly relatable previous experience for higher-level billers, we recommend billing companies and departments look for a track record of consistent continuing education and industry certifications. Certifications from associations such as the AAPC and AHIMA are a real achievement because of the rigorous standards of a passing score. Also important are association memberships such as the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) or the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) to keep up to date on current trends.
Ongoing Medical Billing training
Successful billing organizations understand that ongoing claims management training not only demonstrates a commitment to the growth of its employees, but it also benefits the company through new ideas and strategies. Especially in industries such as medical billing, where vital information is pumped through newsletters, emails and other payer-specific messaging daily, taking the time to look beyond your organization for answers and strategies is invaluable.
It is also important to recognize the value of ongoing internal training – especially around billing software updates. Huge inefficiencies in billing are due to employees not understanding how to use their billing software efficiently and effectively. Ongoing training, of both new features and reviews of commonly-used functions, is vital to keeping a billing department on-track.
Ultimately, you need to find the best path forward for your organization – be it that you continue to hire and train for your company or decide to use an outsourcing solution. Outsourcing has benefits such as a lower overall cost for labor, avoiding the headaches of constant hiring and training, and keeping your billing on top of industry trends. If you would like to know more about outsourcing billing functions, please contact us at https://medicalbillingwholesalers.com/
1 “Salaries.” Jobs. Accessed March 01, 2019. https://www.indeed.com/salaries/Medical-Biller-Salaries.