(Washington DC/ Virginia)
I am interested in starting dental billing from home and need some guidelines. I have been doing dental billing for a dental office for the past 7 years and would like to start my own. I am nervous and need some guidelines.
I don’t know what software to get and how to get office to trust me. Do I start giving offices some free billing to get their business? Also is there a success rate for dental billing or do dentist prefer to do it in house ? How do I charge my clients? I appreciate you help.
When we first started I intended to offer dental billing services – we even purchased PractiSoft software for dental billing. My thinking was that because of the shear number of dentists, there would be many opportunities. But after soliciting dental practices – mostly through mail – we didn’t get any response.
The owner of a billing service I eventually went to work for advised me that dental required sending image files in addition to the claims which made it a more complicated and labor intensive process. Also many peoples dental insurance usually has higher deductibles and patient responsible that by the time you billed insurance and the patient, the payments weren’t as high and therefore the compensation wasn’t as high. This combined with the additional labor really just didn’t make it worth it. Again that was just our experience and the market we were in.
Getting a doctors (or dentist’s) to outsource their billing is one of the biggest challenges in this business. Having some experience in the field is a big plus in that you can sell your experience and the results you’ve delivered working for a practice. Offering free billing or other services for a short amount of time on a trial basis is a good idea also if you can afford to.
When we were trying to enlist dentists, I noticed dentists were reluctant to outsource their billing. I think maybe they feel it was more economical to keep billing in house and with the additional documentation required by many insurers, it also makes it more difficult to outsource unless the billing service has access to medical records – and most dental offices probably haven’t implemented Electronic Medical Records Software.
That being said given your knowledge and experience in dental billing, you may want to consider offering other services to dental practices. Selling and servicing dental practice management software is possibility – most practices need help with the installation, training, upgrades, etc. There’s also EMR software. And HIPAA compliance is an area many practices may be deficient in. Try to think of anything when you were billing for dental that the practice needed but didn’t have the expertise or time to do – those are areas where offering consulting services is an opportunity. Another possibility is insurance or patient accounts payable. Many practices don’t have the time or resources to pursue this and would be happy if at least some of the $ could be recovered.
With regard to choosing dental software at the time we really didn’t find much in the way of software reviews or user info on dental software to give us much guidance – we just downloaded some demos and checked them out. These days I would defer to someone like the folks at Software Advice to make some recommendations and save the time and effort.
Hope this helps answer your question and gives you some insight based on our experiences.