When I was a solo practitioner, there were times when my insurance billing got months behind. Doing therapy was my focus. I ignored my paperwork until I was in a desperate financial state. The simple reality that my billings will determine my income in the upcoming weeks did not motivate me.
No one got into a mental health discipline thinking “It will be so fun to create and maintain systems.” I know providers who are far worse than me at logging sessions and filing insurance claims. They hate paperwork. And they are so bad at it as to regularly lose money for services they have provided but did not do the paperwork. They regularly delay billing for months. And in some cases, they never submit their bills at all.
While it is understandable that therapist-types do not naturally take to billing, we usually do want the money that comes in that allows us to pay our bills and ourselves. The bottom line is that we must find a way to regularly do billing, preferably on a daily basis. Otherwise, income will needlessly fluctuate.
Getting consistent with Billing
It really does not much matter what the system for doing billing is as long as bills go out as often as possible to both clients and insurance companies. I learned the hard way. Any time frame longer than a week will create problems with collections. And with all the software packages that are available today, the maintenance of a billing system should not take near the time that it once did. We just need to do it consistently.
We developed a billing process that submits claims and bills every day. Our insurance claims are submitted electronically. Then we set up direct deposit with most insurance companies so they can deposit payments directly into our checking account. This process of daily electronic submissions with direct deposits adds up to a very efficient system with a short turnaround on each submission.
Also, with each client, we solicit permission to charge any client financial obligations to the client’s credit card on file. This too, allows for rapid and efficient collections of any balances that clients may accumulate.
For more on how to manage unpleasant tasks and avoid self-sabotage, see “Getting myself under control: Solving my self-imposed roller coaster”