5 Answers to Questions We Heard at NACCHO 2014
By Cecelia Jacobson
Our Biggest Takeaways from this Year’s Preeminent Local Health Conference in Atlanta
NACCHO’s annual conference routinely brings together the largest gathering of local health leaders from every part of the country. And, with that much brain power under the same roof, there’s plenty of knowledge to walk away with.
As a proud NACCHO partner and a resource for revenue cycle management, we had the opportunity to learn so much about local health billing programs from conference attendees at NACCHO 2014. We had in-depth conversations with people who asked us “how do I set up private insurance contracts,” “what are other counties in my state doing,” and “what is the hardest part about starting a billing program?”
One of the biggest and most universal feelings amongst conference attendees this year is that billing for public health services can be a huge frustration. From getting the runaround by private insurance companies or trying to partner with surrounding counties, many people are simply frustrated and confused about the process of billing. Here is some easy to implement advice we took away from NACCHO on billing and claims management:
1. Successful Counties Partner with Other Successful Counties
Counties with successful billing programs that are generating significant revenue stressed that centralizing billing within a state or region makes everything more streamlined and efficient for individual counties. Banding together with other counties who are having similar barriers and challenges is a simple and effective way to overcome adversity, specifically with insurance companies and getting set up.
2. Administrators are Unsure about Their Authority in Contracting
When it comes to setting up contracts with private insurance companies in their state, health administrators and directors are unsure of their local authority. Successful counties noted that having third-party billing experts on their side to help them navigate their state regulations and payer regulations, helps to avoid confusion and frustration.
3. Don’t Take No for an Answer
A constant source of frustration for Local Health Departments comes from working with private insurance companies. We found that many people are frustrated by the fact that private insurance payers continually say “no” to giving them contracts or working with them on fee schedules. The answer is to persevere in the process of contracting and refuse to take no for an answer. Ask to speak to the right person who will tell you “yes.”
4. No Health Department is Too Small or Too Unique to Start Billing
Many health departments think that they don’t have enough volume to start billing. Many others think they have a special set of circumstances that would prevent them from being successful. While every organization is unique, there is no volume or difference too unique to delay starting a billing program. With the state of the healthcare marketplace in flux due to changes in the Affordable Care Act and reduced funding and resources for public health as a whole, departments have more in common today than ever before. There is also more incentive today in using your billing program to secure the financial well-being of your health department.
5. A Comprehensive Approach is Best
Health Departments gave the most positive and optimistic responses when discussing a comprehensive approach to billing. Comprehensive billing solutions that are tailored specifically to the existing process of an individual health department, no matter what stage of the revenue cycle, result in the most successful programs.
The Definitive Guide for Maximizing Billing and Revenue Potential
We recently debuted our brand new Revenue Cycle Playbook — a comprehensive approach to billing for local health departments. This is an easy-to-understand game plan that will help agencies of all sizes learn how to create new revenue and ensure that services are available to all patients in your community. If you didn’t have the opportunity to see the guide, schedule a meeting and we’ll take a moment to walk you through this exciting new Playbook.