Aside from the obvious ideology that we need to keep work here in our own country, there are many other important factors providers should consider when they are contemplating outsourcing to offshore medical billing or coding companies.
Can you oversee day-to-day operations of offshore medical billing or coding companies?
No, of course not, unless you plan to spend all of the savings they promise you on travel. If you outsource offshore, and do NOT plan to oversee day-to-day operations, you are putting yourself and your practice at critical risks! Overseas companies do not HAVE to adhere to our federal government mandates. Sure, they may promise you, “assure” you, or maybe even guarantee it in their contracts, but it won’t be worth the ink used in that contract. The bottom line, again, is that offshore medical billing companies do NOT have to adhere to US federal guidelines or rules! If you are not able to oversee operations of an offshore medical billing company, than you are not able to oversee such operations as patient demographic entry, charge entry, payment posting, account follow-ups, etc.. This is most likely going to lead to decreased reimbursement and an increased risk of liability for HIPAA and OIG breaches.
With offshore outsourcing comes increased risk in regards to many legal U.S. regulations including HIPAA, this affects the integrity of a practices data. In fact, any legal problems could, and may very well, mean the practice or entity would need for a foreign attorney. Just research the wait times for courts in other countries.
Offshore outsourcing companies will always come in with a price that will likely get the attention of most healthcare providers, there is no denying that, Reasons for lower pricing are simple. Offshore workers are far less trained in the complex details of the US Healthcare system, and are MORE likely to create costly billing mistakes, which could end up costing your practice a lot more than just money. Another thing to consider are your patient’s. Will the majority of them be satisfied speaking with someone overseas about their medical information here in the U.S? Will they appreciate not being able to speak with a representative they can’t understand? Will they appreciate the fact that their personal health information is across the continent? I am guessing the majority of patients would NOT appreciate it at all.
Offshore medical billing companies cannot appreciate the responsibilities we have here in the US, there will always be communication issues, language barriers and increased risk of compliance issues which could literally end a provider’s practice. Consider your practice and most of all consider your patients.
Although a practice or billing company may outsource it’s business processes, they are ultimately responsible for privacy. When outsourcing within the united states a company will present and sign accountability with a Business Associates degree. Offshore companies are not held accountable to US laws. They are merely a cost savings benefit to the US healthcare provider or billing company. Their compliance may be indicated but is not necessarily “mandatory” in it’s outside US boundaries.
So why are other companies within our industry supporting it?
It wasn’t that long ago that I realized that there were actually associations that represent our industry fully supporting offshore entities either by listing or supplying providers with a listing of companies overseas. Associations such as the AAPC are providing offshore entities, billers and coders with education and certification! The only response from these associations as to why they are educating and certifying overseas is “someone has to do it.” In my opinion these trade associations should be rallying AGAINST offshore outsourcing at a great benefit to their members! Aren’t associations supposed to stand up for issues that affect their members and their industry? I would think so.
We have, and continue to rally against offshore outsourcing. We do not process any memberships, sell any services, certify, list, advertise or network to any company or entity doing business offshore to the best of our knowledge. We will continue to uphold this promise! None of our billing companies listed here, OR otherwise, do business offshore to the best of our knowledge.