Evaluating the performance of their current billing company is quite hard for most anesthesiologists. At Fusion Anesthesiology, we’ve been serving anesthesiologists for over 40 years. Many of our clients tell us they didn’t realize what they were missing until after they switched.

So with that in mind, we’ve created a checklist of things that might indicate a problem with your current billing company.

1) Your billing company doesn’t answer the phone or know exactly who you are when they do.

In our minds, this is unacceptable for several reasons.

Like your realtor or a Hollywood agent, billing agencies get paid through a percentage of your overall income. Anesthesiologists make good money, and therefore their billing companies do too. From a basic customer service point of view, they should always be available to take your call and answer your questions.

More importantly, like realtors and Hollywood agents, your billing company is charged with representing your best interests in high-stakes transactions. How can they do that if they don’t know who you are? And if they can’t take your call promptly, what’s the likelihood that they are proactively working on your behalf?

At Fusion Anesthesiology, we pride ourselves on knowing each of our clients intimately. We provide full-service accounting, billing, and compliance services at no extra charge— we act as your back office staff. So when you call, we know exactly who you are and can provide you with the answers you need.

There’s no automated attendant for our main phone number. We don’t need one. If you call during business hours, we’ll pick up. What’s more, business hours or not, our clients generally just call the cell phone of their main contact—or the owner of the company— directly, whenever they have a question.

We may not be as flashy as most Hollywood agents, but we’ll take your call anytime/anywhere just like Ari Gold.

Go on, give it try: 262-787-4050.

2) Your billing company is too small. Or too big.

Every time Congress is in session, billing and compliance get more complicated. Healthcare continues to consolidate.

These trends have led to many anesthesiologists struggling to keep their independence. You need a billing company that can support your goals. That means you need a company that can provide you with the expertise and experience gathered from working with large numbers of anesthesiologist practices of all sizes.

You need a team; one person is just not able to keep up with the rapid changes in government regulations, corporate fine print, and technology.

At the same time, dealing with your local cable company is an object lesson in what happens when your business is not big enough to hold your vendors’ attention. You need a billing company who isn’t just pushing you through the system and going through the motions. You want someone who will prioritize and accommodate your specific requirements.

“Just right” will be a different size for every physician, but Fusion Anesthesia is likely in the sweet spot for most independent practices. We have hundreds of anesthesiologists so we know every relevant regulation and every payer’s nit-picky rules for submission.

At the same time, we don’t have thousands of doctors, so every client is a name, not an account number.

You need a billing company big enough to provide an expert team but small enough to work hard to earn your business every day.

3) Your billing company doesn’t specialize.

Pediatricians, oncologists, and anesthesiologists may all be doctors but that’s about where their commonality stops. The procedures, settings, and payers are all totally different.

So why would you hand over your billing to a company that doesn’t specialize in working with anesthesiologists? While there is some overlap between billing in different specialties, there’s no question that specialists can provide higher quality, faster service, and ultimately more take-home money for you.

For instance, a general biller may simply target the anesthesia base and time units for billing and dismiss items such as ASA physical status, line placements, or postoperative pain management services.  Without a proven track record in successfully collecting reimbursement for these services, the biller might lack the confidence to initiate a dialogue with providers about prior billing shortcomings or documentation questions.Fusion Anesthesiology capitalizes on our ever-evolving knowledge of the practice of anesthesia and billing to maximize provider reimbursement. We encourage collaborative communication with provider clients and exercise our thorough understanding of AMA, ASA, CMS and commercial payer billing guidelines to ensure all separately billable factors and services rendered during an anesthesia case are appropriately included on claims.

The idea that “all medical billing is basically the same” is just so… wrong.

4) Revenue, expenses, accounts receivable, or other important financial numbers seem really high, really low, or fluctuate without apparent reason

There are lots of good reasons that key financial numbers might fluctuate up or down. For instance, perhaps a payer is partially denying a claim and your billing company is fighting them for full reimbursement. Perhaps you took a long vacation or moved to a new contract with a major payer. Regardless, your billing company should proactively reach out to you and communicate what has changed and why.

If you have to call your billing company to ask for an explanation, then it’s quite possible that they weren’t looking into the issue on their own—and might have let it pass if you hadn’t picked up the phone. Of course, if your billing company can’t provide a good reason that your key financial numbers are moving around every month or shrugs it off as “well, that’s just how they pay” you should be running, not walking, to find a new company.

The bottom line is that you need a billing company who is as interested in maximizing your take-home as you are, by proactively asking the right questions and finding the right answers. That’s us.

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It’s okay for key financial numbers to change, but your billing company should call them out and provide the reason.

5) Reports are hard to read or understand.

Transparency in reporting is critical and any report that is hard to understand has already failed in its primary job of conveying information. You deserve financial reporting that shows you exactly where you are year-to-date for revenues, expenses, and take-home pay. It should be easy to understand how that compares to previous years and what that implies for your overall income picture for this year and the next.

What’s more, any questions you may have should be promptly answered by a senior member of the team. If you’re not getting all of this in your reporting, the best case scenario is that you’re getting short-changed in terms of customer service. But it’s quite possible that you’re getting short-changed in your revenue and take-home numbers too.

That’s what we call worst-case scenario.

Bad reporting is a huge red flag.

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See any red flags? Get the facts.

If you’re at all concerned that your billing company isn’t maximizing your take-home and/or providing the service you deserve, give us a call. We’ll happily provide you with a comparative analysis of your last six months clearly showing what your current company billed and collected versus what we would have billed and collected.

We won’t take a lot of your time and you’ll get a taste of our service culture and quite possibly an eye-opening opportunity to increase your take-home by 5-15%.

Call us at 262.787.4050 or email at jbuss@fusionanesthesia.com for a no-obligation 6-month comparative analysis. Find out if we can increase your take-home by 5-15%.

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