The Best Billing Tools for Your Therapy Practice
As a therapist in private practice, you face many challenges…
Providing effective healthcare. Building relationships. Nailing your marketing to find and keep clients. Deciding on sustainable financial solutions. (Breathe!)
Billing is another important piece of the puzzle. One that can be easy to overlook. Or should we say, not prioritize?
If you’ve got a shoebox stuffed with receipts and use old-school methods to track client payments (pen and paper, anyone?), we’re glad you’re here! It’s time to embrace a simpler, less stressful way of monitoring and growing your practice income.
Certain companies specialize in therapy billing software and services designed to streamline this critical business process. This article discusses leading industry tools that offer a solution. But before diving in, let’s discuss some common billing challenges.
Common Billing Challenges
We know delivering client care is your primary focus. It’s why you became a therapist. But overlooking your financials is ill-advised. Accurate payment acceptance and tracking are central to all successful businesses. You won’t stay in practice for long without knowing where your money comes and goes.
If you’re a therapist in private practice, your billing should run like clockwork. Headache-free. The busier you become, the more urgent the need.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Therapists often face the following billing challenges:
- Trying to do everything themselves (and failing)
- Lack of integration with clients’ insurance companies
- Billing mistakes (including forgetting to bill clients, which means you’re working for free)
- Time-consuming management practices
- Irregular payment frequency (which hurts your cash flow and may appear unprofessional to clients)
- Lack of support for Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) codes
- A significant effort to generate and send invoices, superbills, and statements
- Trouble locating billing details
- Lack of ready access to billing and other financial information
- Trouble finding where the business is leaking — even hemorrhaging — cash. (If you can’t find problem areas, you can’t fix them)
- Imperfect claims and payment tracking (which can lead to missed payments through, for example, rejected claims)
Thankfully, you don’t need to hold an accounting degree to succeed. Harnessing the power of dedicated billing software will take the weight off your shoulders and free up a ridiculous amount of time. Billing software is available from many third-party providers. Integrations, on-time, accurate tracking, depth of available and searchable data, and more will keep your business on track.
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As with all things in practice, there are best practices to follow. Here are eight that we recommend…
- Billing transparency is key. Your fees and financial processes should be upfront and clear. Dedicate space on your website to explain everything in lay terms. If you don’t wish to publish this information, ensure you have hard copies to share with clients. This is part of informed consent.
- Use professional therapy billing services and software. We believe this step is necessary for all practices that plan to succeed. (We share recommendations shortly)
- Once you’ve chosen your therapy billing software, get to know the platform well. Find out what you need to do, what benefits it offers, and how to streamline and perfect your billing.
- Get your billing and coding right.
- Send invoices in a timely manner.
- Embrace automated billing services when available.
- Understand any variance in the insurance companies you deal with. Keep insurers happy.
- Decide on, share and, when necessary, implement a non-payment plan.
Therapy billing units
For services billed according to time, therapy billing units are used. An example is shared at Medicaid.nv.gov.
One “unit” is considered 15 minutes; however, it must last at least eight minutes. For example, if a session takes between eight and 15 minutes, it is considered one unit. If therapy takes between one unit and eight minutes (23 minutes) and 30 minutes, it is considered two units. It should be classified as one unit if it lasts for 22 minutes — under one unit and eight minutes.
The therapist must record the time spent on services based on time or “billing” units.
Note: Always confirm requirements with the payer.
Therapy billing codes
You’ve no doubt heard about therapy billing codes. The set of codes therapists (and other health professionals) use to describe the specific procedures or services they deliver to clients. CPT® codes enable therapists to report the treatment succinctly to the federal government or private payers and thus allow payment.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “CPT® Codes 90832-90838 represent psychotherapy.”
For example, 90832, 90834, and 90837 are used to report psychotherapy without medical evaluation and management services.
90833, 90836, and 90838 are used to report psychotherapy with medical evaluation and management services (with codes for evaluation and management services in addition to a psychotherapy add-on code).
Make sure to confirm and accurately report these codes. They may be updated annually, at least.
Therapy Billing Software
Medical insurance is central to billing as a healthcare professional in the United States. Despite its importance, medical insurance and billing are convoluted subjects. You need a simple solution to look after your interests and meet your client’s needs.
For example, you may need to get insurance information from your patients. You may also need to file a claim on their behalf or follow up with insurance providers. Sometimes, you may need to appeal claims with health insurance companies before receiving payments. This process can be time-consuming and stressful for you as a business owner and your clients.
Software tools, then, should always integrate with medical insurance systems. This is true for general billing packages and dedicated healthcare billing services. Third-party billing providers can process and handle claims with major insurance companies. This will streamline revenue collections and simplify therapy billing and finances.
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When claims are generated and billed to the insurance company, you are less likely to experience billing errors. You’re more likely to receive payments on time. You’ll be understandably less likely to suffer from literal and metaphorical stress headaches that accompany billing issues.
So, are you ready to transform your practice? To welcome therapy billing software for private practice?
The following therapy billing services are well-established and used by many private therapists.
SimplePractice is a popular cloud-based billing and management system. It is designed specifically for therapy practices. This software is easy to use, HIPAA-compliant, and able to cope with CPT® codes and all aspects of insurance claim management. SimplePractice helps you manage the (previously) time-consuming tasks associated with running a therapy practice.
It also has much functionality. On top of billing, it offers scheduling, appointment reminders, payment processing, and reporting.
- Deep service integration
- Easy-to-upload documents
- Provides a centralized, secure digital portal for client communication
- Offers a HIPAA-compliant Telehealth video platform
NextGen Office is a powerful billing application created specifically for the healthcare industry. This tool is ideal for private therapy practices.
It includes ample functionality, including billing tools and integrated claims. Their platform provides cloud-based, award-winning electronic health records. NextGen is a fully integrated practice management solution used by a reported 124,000+ providers across the United States.
- Great customer support
- Training available
- Provides a secure client portal
- Text and email appointment reminders
- Offers virtual consultation capability
If you want a general billing solution for your healthcare business, FreshBooks might be the answer. This service is not dedicated to therapists or other health professionals like other options on this list, but it does provide extra functionality and comprehensive support.
FreshBooks offers an attractive double-entry accounting experience. It includes invoices, estimates, expenses, time tracking, project management, etc.
- Attractive and easy-to-use interface
- You can customize it for your business
- More affordable than other options
It’s time to transform your practice!
Getting the right systems in place is crucial to private practice success. Whether you’re just starting out or wish to scale rapidly, the right therapy billing software and services will ease billing nightmares, reduce mistakes and lost revenue, and allow you to focus on what you do well: treating clients.
Many of our customers tell us how frustrating they find the non-therapy essentials of business. They want their practice to thrive and last and income that allows enjoyable luscious holidays and puts their kids through a good school. But it’s easy to get lost in the complexities.
Quality therapy billing software is crucial because it places you in the driver’s seat.
With success in mind, check out our other articles to set solid, successful foundations.
- Our Guide To Setting Your Therapist Rates
- How To Set Goals To Supercharge Your Practice Success
- Time Management Tips for Therapists – Make More by Doing Less
- How To Make Your Practice Financially Secure
As a private therapist, dealing with your finances is an important part of your business. Get your money ducks in a line so that you can thrive!
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