Medical Insurance Billing Services Selection: Reference Checks

by Brad Ferth

Insuring that you utilize a systematic and well designed process for reference checking will dramatically improve your success in selecting a medical billing services company. Using an interview guide is a key element of successful reference checking.

There are many critical stops to make in the journey towards your medical billing company selection. Reference checking is one of the most important stops along the road. There are several steps that must be taken to ensure through reference checking.

Proper reference checking requires selecting the parameters that make a reference interesting (i.e., do they have to be in your zip code, be the same size), insuring that you speak to at least one ex-client, deciding what type of individual at a client you want to speak with, writing an interview guide, making reference calls, writing up the summary of your findings and determining what the take away is form the reference calls. Today’s article is primarily about creating the interview guide.

Without a good interview guide you could easily finish your reference check process and not have gathered the right information for your final decision. So, before you start the reference calls make a list of your top hopes and fears concerning your new medical billing company. Next create a few questions that will allow you to come away from the reference check with the information you need to assess how your potential medical billing company has performed in these areas for their current clients.

You can start by simply writing out each fear and hope as a question. For example, if one of your hopes is that you will be able to spend less time managing and worrying about billing your would start with the question, “Have you spent more of less time on billing since your outsourced to company X?” This question, however, is a bit too subjective. You do not know how much time they spent before or what they consider time spent on billing (for example, is reviewing your coding a billing related item in their mind or a compliance related item).

To insure you have the information you need at the end of the interview process use narrow questions such as “What were you days in AR before you outsourced and how did they change 3 months after you outsourced?” This gives you specific and actionable data.

Once you complete the list of questions and make them specific enough to gather objective data type them out in a logical manner and leave the space required to jot down the answer right on the interview guide. Before the first call sit down and look at the questions one final time. Make sure that the answers to these questions will give you the comfort you need to make a final decision. Start making the reference calls once you are confident your interview guide is ready.

It is your job to make sure you get specific answers to all of all your questions. Think of yourself as a reporter and do not let the call end until you have all of your questions specifically answered. You will need to practice good time management to make sure this happens in the period the person is allowing for the reference call. If you do not get all of your questions answered, then ask to schedule a second call.

Do not hesitate to call back your earlier references if one of the later ones brings up an important potential benefit or concern that you had not considered. You want to insure you hear what all of the references have to say about this new point.

If you follow these guidelines you will conduct a set of references that will give you the information you need to be confident in your medical billing company selection.

Copyright 2008 by Medical Billing Services Buying Guide.

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