Thinking of outsourcing your medical billing to an overseas company? Before you do that, read the alarming disadvantages of overseas medical billing.
Over the past few years, the healthcare industry has grown with the integration of advanced technology, which has improved treatment planning and external collaborations. However, this innovation has also led to many regulatory compliance issues. The utilization of computing devices and software has somewhat complicated the medical billing process.
Hence, many healthcare facilities have learned to rely on third-party medical billing service providers. This is because they optimize their administrative workflow and also fulfill their staffing requirements. If you work with a reliable local medical billing agency, you can surely benefit a lot from their involvement. You will be able to improve the efficiency of collections, streamline the billing process, and free up your existing resources.
However, healthcare agencies tend to overlook local medical billing service providers and opt for overseas medical billing agencies due to their lower-cost services. This tendency can prove to be quite damaging for your company. Overseas healthcare billing providers are simply not as reliable as a local provider. You also cannot possibly confirm their reliability or capability based on their word. If you get into business with an unreliable overseas provider just to leverage cheap labor, then you can end up facing several issues.
Here are some serious disadvantages that you can face when opting for an overseas medical billing company:
1. Cybersecurity Risks
This is perhaps the most prominent risk that a healthcare facility faces when working with an overseas medical billing business. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires healthcare providers to safeguard and secure their patients’ health information. However, when you trust an overseas medical billing company, there is always an increased risk of this information being leaked.
Billing companies handle a huge amount of PHI (protected health information). This information is quite sensitive and it simply cannot fall into the wrong hands. Otherwise, you will have to face countless lawsuits, which will land you in hot water. You also run the risk of harming your standing in the healthcare community.
When you transfer your billing solutions overseas, the risk of a data breach increases. This is because you don’t have any guarantee that a medical billing company running its operations overseas is HIPAA compliant or not. You also cannot possibly surmise whether it even understands the US federal and state laws or not.
You won’t be able to find out if the overseas company that you are trusting is proactively taking steps to establish technical, administrative, and physical safeguards to protect your patients’ PHI. Even if they claim to be HIPAA compliant, you cannot possibly verify it.
Your chosen overseas healthcare company might even be willing to sign a contract that covers you in case of a HIPAA breach. However, when something goes wrong, you won’t be able to obtain a judgment against an overseas company so easily. It will be a taxing, time-consuming, complex, and expensive task that you can avoid altogether by hiring a local medical billing agency.
2. Extortion from Offshore Workers with Low Salaries
This is one of the most common disadvantages of overseas medical billing. Foreign medical billing companies often don’t pay their employees enough for their labor. This is why employees with low wages often end up extorting US healthcare providers by threatening to leak their patient’s PHI.
They demand a significant sum of money from the healthcare facility and threaten to release the patient records on the internet if their demands aren’t met. If you attempt to report a foreign extorter to your local authorities, it will be a long and winding process.
Similarly, suing them will also be difficult and expensive and you run the risk of information being leaked anyway, which will be a major HIPAA violation.
3. Poor Communication
You also need to consider the fact that many overseas medical billing companies are located in time zones that are quite different from the US. Some companies are situated in countries that have a time difference of an entire day from the United States. This can easily hamper your communication with the company. So, you need to ask yourself whether you can reach your medical billing company whenever you need them.
This factor will limit your access to patient accounts and revenue cycle management reports.What’s more is that oftentimes, you can also face a language barrier, which can affect your chances of easy communication with your medical billing team. This can easily affect your communication with your patients as well.
Moreover, many overseas workers that are working for offshore medical billing companies aren’t well-versed with the complexities of the ever-changing US federal and state laws related to healthcare. This can often result in a lot of unnecessary and damaging miscommunication and errors, which you simply won’t have to face if you work with a US-based company.
4. Bait-and-Switch Marketing Techniques
Some offshore medical billing companies use a “bait-and-switch” technique to attract unaware healthcare providers. They advertise exceptionally low rates, but the real story is hidden in the fine print. They usually have unusually high revenue requirements against which they offer those compelling low rates. Most clients simply aren’t eligible for those rates.
Overseas medical billing companies might also offer limited services, such as one-time submission and processing for each claim without any resubmissions or appeals, for the advertised minimal rates. This essentially means that you will have to deal with the unpaid balance collection and claims follow-up.
Additionally, overseas healthcare billing companies might also assign their top-tier workers to you just to reel you in. However, after you start relying on them, they might switch those workers with their lowest-paid, inexperienced workers who will continue to use the ID of the original workers. This leads to an increase in medical billing errors and a decrease in productivity. It also increases the risk of a security threat.
You can avoid all of the aforementioned disadvantages and risks if you simply opt for a reliable and professional medical billing agency based in the US. PCS Revenue Cycle Management can provide you its excellent medical billing services. You can trust us to safeguard your patent’s PHI and fulfill all of your medical billing needs!