Missing Piece Blog

Recruiting and Retaining the Right Behavioral Health Billing Staff

As an ABA practitioner, it’s crucial that you’re able to focus on your patients and provide them with the highest quality care. However, many different elements of your practice may consume your time and prevent you from treating your patients with the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, billing is one of these elements because it can unexpectedly take up a large part of your day. 

By making sure you employ the best behavioral health and medical billing staff, duties and responsibilities related to billing will no longer be something you need to worry about, which will allow you to focus on other aspects of your business that need your attention. But how do you recruit and retain the best medical biller? 

We take a look at what you can do to find the best candidates, what to look for when hiring, and how to ensure that your staff stay.

How to find the best medical billing specialist candidates

When hiring staff for a medical billing job, there are various criteria you need to keep in mind when creating a list of candidates. Here are tips to find some of the best potential medical billers for your practice:

Use the right recruitment channels

In order to find the right people, you need to look for them in the right places. You can cast the net wide by advertising on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed.com, and Glassdoor. However, this is likely to attract a lot of applications – which you’ll then need to filter through. Consider posting on industry-specific job sites and reaching out through your personal and work networks as well.

Have a detailed medical billing job description

A vague or overly general job description will only result in a great number of applications, the majority of which won’t fit the bill. A detailed job description, on the other hand, will automatically filter out those applicants who don’t meet the minimum requirements and make shortlisting potential candidates much easier.

Include their entire compensation, including salary and benefits

Many employers who appreciate the importance of a detailed job description still leave out a detailed description of exactly how a potential employee will be compensated. Most good candidates will want to know up front what their potential salary is, as well as any other possible benefits the job offers, such as overtime, family and medical leave, and health and dental insurance. Save yourself (and applicants) a lot of time by including all this information in your job description. 

Screen each applicant’s credentials thoroughly

When you’re working through the applications, it’s essential to check all their credentials. When screening a resume, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure you’re getting a genuine candidate. 

  • Make sure they meet the minimum qualifications and experience as stated in the job posting.
  • Double-check that they have the other preferred qualifications described in your job listing.
  • Look out for quick changes between jobs or gaps in their resume and ask the applicant to explain why they changed jobs so quickly or didn’t work for a significant period. 
  • Perform reference checks to ensure that an applicant’s resume corresponds with the experience of past employers. 

Hiring the right candidate

You’ve managed to put together a list of candidates, but how do you choose the right one? Here’s what to look for to make sure you hire the right person.

Ask about their previous medical billing experience

When hiring the best medical billers, you’ll want someone who already has a wealth of experience. Such a candidate will have likely dealt with complex insurance claims before and have valuable knowledge about how to avoid or deal with difficult claims. A less-experienced applicant may not have this information, which means that certain claims may take longer to process or even end up getting denied.

Confirm that they are keeping their billing knowledge up-to-date

Healthcare practitioners know that medical billing in the US is regularly being updated, which is why it’s critical that you hire someone who understands that they need to keep their billing knowledge current. For insurance, there are specific areas, such as the coding system that switched to ICD-10 in 2015, which will be updated at some point to improve claims and cater to additional treatments. 

Enquire about the types of software they are familiar with, including billing and medical record software

It’s important that you hire someone familiar with the different digital tools you need to use — such as the most popular billing and medical record software — as this will make their integration into your practice much easier. However, there are many different billing tools on the market, so at the very least, you should try to hire someone knowledgeable enough to quickly adapt to whichever software suite you’re using.

A reasonable level of computer literacy is important because you need your staff to adapt to software changes as they occur. Even though many software developers avoid major updates to their programs and platforms to avoid unintentionally alienating less computer-literate users, there will come a time when they will need to make significant changes. For example, operating systems such as Windows will release a new version every couple of years to cater for the latest technological advances and offer enhanced security. 

Billing systems will periodically undergo similar overhauls and you need to be confident that your staff can adapt to these changes as quickly as possible in order to avoid any delays in revenue.

Look for these general traits

In addition to billing-specific skills and experience, there are general characteristics you want to look for in a potential employee. These include:

  • a professional attitude,
  • care and precision,
  • excellent communication skills,
  • good time management, and 
  • strong problem-solving skills.

How to retain the best behavioral health billing staff

Once you’ve built a great billing team, the next challenge will be to keep them. They’ll likely be presented with other tempting employment opportunities, but there are actions that you can take to make sure you retain your staff. Here are some of the steps you can take to retain the best behavioral health billing staff:

Pay them a competitive salary

In most fields, the main reason people change jobs is money. Either their current paycheck is inadequate to meet their needs, or a new potential employer reaches out to them with a better deal. To ensure you keep your staff, you must offer them a competitive salary and be willing to negotiate a pay raise when necessary. 

Offer a good onboarding experience

As we all know, first impressions matter, and a bad onboarding experience can affect the way a new employee views their future at your practice. To avoid them starting with one foot out the door, avoid throwing them into the deep end. A good onboarding experience will teach them not just about the way your practice works but also introduce them to the people they’ll be working with and give them a sense of the work culture. 

To improve the onboarding process even more, you may want to consider partnering your new hire with a mentor to whom they can turn when you’re too busy to help them out. 

Ensure you have a healthy work environment and work culture

While a good salary and putting a good foot forward when onboarding new staff are both important, very few people will tolerate a toxic work environment for long, even if you pay them well and welcome them into the company. To ensure your best employees, who often have the most opportunities, stay, it’s important to check in regularly with your staff to address any potential issues that may have arisen in the workplace. Some of these challenges may be work-related, while others may be interpersonal issues between staff members. Regardless of the cause, you’ll need to have processes and tools in place to resolve these situations and ensure a healthy work environment.  

Equip your billing staff with the right tools and equipment

In order for your billing staff to do their job, they’ll need the right tools. This includes the right billing software, computer hardware, and office equipment, as well as the correct import and conversion tools. If your medical biller has a great deal of experience in the field, you can also ask them what they need in order to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.

Offer rewards and incentives for good performance

It undoubtedly helps to offer a good salary and benefits from the beginning, but in order to retain your best employees, you’re going to have to provide them with additional incentives.  The easiest way to do this is to reward them for quality work. Whether it’s once-off bonuses, raises, additional vacation days, or other perks, you need to find a way to show them that you appreciate their hard work.

Work with the best behavioral and medical billing staff at Missing Piece

If all of this sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. Recruiting and retaining the best behavioral health and medical billing staff for your ABA therapy practice is undoubtedly incredibly challenging. But with Missing Piece, it doesn’t have to be.

Missing Piece is an ABA billing services provider which has over 10 years of experience working with healthcare practitioners. We offer an expert-driven, scalable turn-key solution that not only saves you the time and energy of recruiting, hiring, and retaining the right billing staff for your practice but also handles the complexities of ABA billing for you, allowing you to focus on providing your patients with the time and attention they deserve. 

Contact us to find out more about our ABA therapy billing service and other ways in which we can assist your healthcare practice.