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Medical Insurance Billing Services Selection: Reference Checks

Sep 11, 2008
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.

These elements include properly defining the type of references that will be meaning for you (e.g., what specialty, geography, length as a client, number of providers, primary payers, etc), obtaining success and failures as references, determining with whom you wish to speak at the references, developing an interview guide for your reference calls, conducting the reference checks, synthesizing the results of the checks and making a final decision about the billing company. The main focus of this article is creating an effective interview guide.

An interview guide is your roadmap for the interview calls that insures you ask everything required to make a good decision. The first step in developing the interview guide is writing out the best and worst case scenarios for the potential billing company. With this in hand create a list of questions that will help you determine where along the spectrum between your two scenarios your potential medical billing service may lie.

It is critical to ensure that your questions are specific enough that you can come away with real facts from the reference calls. You do not want to ask broad questions like "Are you happy with this company's performance?" Such questions are open to much interpretation and are driven by the individual's previous experiences.

You can overcome this problem by asking targeted questions that get to the root of what is important to you. If you really care about timely filing issues ask "How many times has this billing company missed a timely filing deadline?"

With your list of questions completed you need to put them in an easy to use form. The best approach is to print them out with about four questions spaced out on a page. This allows you to easily write the answers nest to the questions. Do not make any calls until you do a final read through of your questions and ask yourself, "will I have what I need to make a final decision if I get these answers?" If the answer is "yes", then pick up the phone and start dialing.

It is critical not to allow a good meaning but talkative reference to keep you from getting all of your questions answered. Make sure they know you have a pre-determined list of questions you need to address. Find out how long they have to speak with you and keep an eye on the clock to make sure you get all of the information you need. You should leave the door open for call backs by letting references know you may need to speak with them again.

You may find that one of your references brings up a point you had not considered. If they do, add the relevant question to the end of your interview guide and call back any individuals with whom you have already spoken to get this additional information.

With your well planned and structured reference checks complete you will be in a position to make an informed medical billing service decision.

Copyright 2008 by Medical Billing Services Buying Guide.
About the Author
Brad Firth is a Researcher with Medical Billing Services Buying Guide. He discusses the buying guide and how to select medical billing companies at the Medical Billing Blog
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