Join us for a discussion with Cecelia Renteria, CEO of C&C Associates Medical Billing Associates. Her firm specializes in billing and revenue cycle management for the Behavioral Health field – with a special focus on Not-for-Profit Community Mental Health centers.
Why is Revenue Cycle Management/Billing for Behavioral and Mental Health a passion for you?
I have a soft place in my heart for the Behavioral Health sector of healthcare. One of my son’s was diagnosed with dyslexia and an expressive language disorder. Counseling and speech therapy became imperative for him but we also needed counseling as a family. I found being a consumer of Behavioral Health services an invaluable part of my child’s life as well as the rest of our family. My background is in finance and the non-profit organization we went to for therapy needed help. It was easy to utilize my knowledge and expertise for something so important to me personally. From there C & C Medical Billing Associates was born and we’ve been proud to help agencies, especially non-for-profit centers, ever since.
How does much does it impact a practice or facility when you don’t have the right knowledge and/or understanding of a billing department?
I have seen many Behavioral Health organizations almost close their doors due to financial issues in their billing department. Either people have been hired that have little to no experience with Mental Health specific billing or they are using the wrong company for outsourcing their billing.
What recommendations can you give to help prevent this from happening?
Look for a company solely dedicated to billing for Behavioral Health. A firm that has a wealth of knowledge about billing for emergency rooms or the dental field, for example, simply aren’t going to be a good fit. Billing in Behavioral Health is extremely specific and, thankfully, more heavily regulated. I’d start with a firm that can hand over a list of excellent references from EHR vendors to consulting firms to Behavioral Health providers that have worked with the organization.
What would you say the percentage rate is that practices take a loss because of simple mistakes that were preventable?
Our team has taken over the billing for agencies that were writing off 35 to 45% of their denials. Most if not all of these write-offs could have been resolved with better and timely follow up. Something as simple as verifying insurance benefits, sending over a patient record, or calling the insurance payer for more information is ignored. Many Mental Health agencies – especially those in the non-profit sector don’t realize they can lose their payer contracts and, worse, be fined by insurance payers for writing off balances due to inaccurate claim filing.
How much stress can be relieved for a practice if they out-source their billing?
The stress off of the owner, CEO, and/or board of directors is tremendous with the right billing firm. Administrative expenses are reduced and they have a company paying attention to their cash flow – this is obviously extremely important for a non-profit agency.
How much would you say your team has helped practices grow?
It’s been such a pleasure helping those clients whose doors were almost closing. Imagine the impact this has on the providers, the staff of the agency, and even worse on the patients they were serving. We’ve seen a standard 30% increase in their growth because they allowed us to help.
Why has it been important for you to hire bilingual staff?
I am Hispanic so, of course, this was going to be important to me! On a serious note though – many, many agencies have a hard time finding a billing company that can answer questions of their Hispanic patients/consumers/clients about their billing. Patient portals and practice paperwork isn’t always translated into Spanish either and yet there is a huge Hispanic population needing the services of Behavioral Health centers. Those patients also need help when they have questions about their billing.
Cecelia Renteria, CEO