Why is Mental Health Billing So Complicated?

It’s most likely that you go into the mental health industry as a psychologist in order to help people and without really considering the billing side of things. Dealing with insurance companies, insurance claims, reimbursements, etc. are often not covered in your medical training, and they can become a hassle very quickly in your career, especially if you are running your own practice, or part of a small practice of only a couple professionals. Without access to the administrative teams that other larger doctor offices and hospitals have, you can get bogged down in the billing processes quickly, especially since mental health billing is often more complicated when it comes to getting properly reimbursed for your services. So, why is mental health billing so complicated?

The Treatment Varieties of Mental Health

Mental health, as you know, is a very complicated field of study in medicine with a huge variety of mental health topics and treatment options. If a patient goes to a doctor’s office, they always have a standard set of tests and procedures to go through, and then they have more specific tests for what the patient is worried about or showing symptoms for. Everything is straightforward and standardized with the billing for this. However, with mental health, when you have a patient come in, you can’t just give them a standardized test to narrow down their issues. Instead, you have to personalize every experience, meaning diagnosis takes a much more variable amount of time. Sometimes it can even take multiple appointments to come up with a diagnosis and a treatment regime. This becomes complicated when it comes to mental health billing.

Your session lengths with patients are going to vary a lot more, as well as how many sessions you will book with patients (could be once a week, or multiple times a week for months), and insurance companies will notice this difference more often. This can put claims under more scrutiny. Insurance companies are also often the determiner of how long treatments are allowed to take while still being covered, making it much more difficult for mental health practitioners to offer effective treatment while staying within the limits of insurance coverage for mental health billing.

Available Office Budget

Mental health practices often come in smaller groups or solo practices, so they may not have the office budget of larger group practices that would enable them to hire dedicated administrative staff for medical billing. This means, you may be doing mental health billing forms yourself, rather than having someone specifically trained in handling the billing. This could lead to issues with forms being improperly filled out, or time management issues—you do still have a practice to run, after all.

Avoiding Denials with Outsourcing

Getting paid for the work you do for other people’s mental health is important because it allows you to continue running your practice so you can continue helping others. If you are a small practice, and if you find yourself doing mental health billing yourself and starting to notice more and more denials from insurance companies, it might be time to consider getting help for your mental health billing from an external company. With help from an outside company, they will deal with the billing so you can focus your time on developing treatment plans and appointments with patients.

If you need help with your mental health billing, contact Talisman Solutions today, one of the country’s leading medical and mental health billing solutions.

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