Weigh the pros and cons of product-line billing

Before you rush to overhaul your practice’s billing system in favor of a product-line model, it may be helpful to review the advantages and disadvantages of using such a system in your practice, advises consultant Heather Auld of Physician Billing Solutions of Wayne, PA. (See related stories on pp. 20-21.)

Traditional Billing Office Setup

Advantages:

• Staff get to know a specific function or payer

• Repetition of specific functions increases speed at which tasks are completed

• Lower staffing costs due to more limited skill level demands

Disadvantages:

• Minimal accountability

• No clear career opportunities

• Difficulty in developing good working relationships between physicians and billing staff

Product-line Billing Office

Advantages:

• Intimate knowledge of specialty or product line

• Provider service orientation

• Promotes feeling of ownership

• Encourages cross-training and higher- caliber staff members

Disadvantages:

• Work can be more difficult to distribute

• Steep learning curve

• Substantial training often required

• Higher salary requirements due to higher skill level