Daily business demand #3: Billing

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When I was a solo practitioner there were times when my insurance billing got months behind. Doing therapy was my focus. I ignored my billing 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 a billing system.” I know providers who are far worse than me at logging sessions and filing insurance and billing claims. They hate paperwork. And they are so bad at it as to regularly lose money for services they have provided but did not bill. 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

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 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 for 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

Also see:

Daily business demand #1: Scheduling

Daily business demand #2: Providing therapy

Weekly business demand #4: Collecting

Weekly business demand  #5: Planning marketing

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