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mental health book

Mental Health Billing

A complete guide to everything you need to know to submit your claims and get reimbursed properly for your services.

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Mental Health Billing

Mental health billing is different in many respects than other medical insurance billing. The psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or psychoanalyst has an established client base that is returning for treatment on a regular basis. Many psychiatric health care providers will choose to do their own insurance billing.

The beginning mental health provider will have to make many decisions in starting their business as to whether or not they will accept insurance, participate with the insurance companies or to become a strictly cash practice. Most would like to work for cash only, but the reality is that those patients who are covered by insurance prefer to go to a provider who does participate and will bill their insurance out.   Here is more information on participating with insurance carriers.

If the mental health provider decides to participate with the insurance companies common to their area, they must now become credentialed with that carrier.   Here is more information of credentialing.

Psychiatric and psychological insurance billing is done on red and white CMS 1500 forms.  These forms must be completed in black ink as many companies scan the forms.  Some companies require that the claim forms are typed or generated from a computer if not sent electronically.  Here is more information on completing these forms correctly.   If the forms are not completed correctly, they most likely will be denied payment. 

When you run into questions on your mental health billing, you can often find the answers you need at a medical billing forum. If someone hasn't already asked your question, you can post it yourself and get notified when anyone posts answers to your questions.  You can sign up to access our medical billing forum here.

A mental health provider doesn't necessarily need any other office help.  Phone calls usually go to an answer machine and the provider will take care of appointments and patient notes themselves. Quite often as the practice grows, the provider finds that the income is not keeping up with the growth of the business.   He or she is seeing more and more patients and not bringing in as much income as should be coming in for the number of patients seen.

The problem with this is that as the practice grows, the counselor has less and less time to check to make sure he or she is getting paid for all the visits and to deal with the problems that arise with insurance billing.   It is not unusual to be on the telephone for 40 minutes or longer trying to straighten out an insurance issue when you are doing mental health billing. 

If you want to make sure you are getting paid for all your visits, you must have good systems in place. You need a system for billing out all your insurance and patient bills, a system for tracking them, and the time to take care of all this.   If you no longer have that time to devote to the insurance billing, you need to hire someone who will take care of this process for you. For more information on setting up good systems that work, check out our new book “Mental Health Billing Made Easy”.

We bill for many mental health providers in several states. If you are interested in contacting us about submitting and tracking your insurance claims call Alice or Michele at 1-800-490-4299

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Mental Health Billing

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