How to Control Billing Issues

You started your therapy business to help people overcome their problems and become the best versions they can be. You also have to pay clients to keep your business afloat. Let’s look some billing issues you might encounter.

Although treating clients is the best part, it’s important to ensure that your business is profitable. To do that, you need to iron out any billing  issues to ensure that clients know exactly how and when they’ll pay for each session and make sure you are paid correctly for your service.

If you’re looking to learn more about billing for therapists, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading to learn how to set up credit card processing for therapists, how to avoid fraud appearances, and what you can to prevent chargebacks. 

Billing for Therapists: Make sure you have the best setup 

When you’re focused on treating patients, the last thing you want to think about is whether they’re going to pay their bills. Unfortunately, when practices encounter billing mishaps, stress increases, revenue decreases, and therapists are forced to spend more time thinking about cash flow and tracking down payments than they’d otherwise prefer. 

With that in mind, let’s look at three tips to keep in mind to ensure your billing processes are set up to help you succeed and avoid potential billing issues.

  1. Describe your credit card billing process

To avoid wasting too much time on billing, you first want to clearly explain how you’re going to Clients are billed and have each new client acknowledge that they understand how and when you will bill them and charge their cards. Your clients will be able to understand what you are doing. how much they’ll pay for each session, you decrease the chances there are any billing surprises. To speed up the process, be sure to issue credit card authorization forms that clients can sign to show they consent to you charging their cards. 

You’ll also want to clarify your sliding scale, No-fee PolicyCancellation policy. If a client has any questions about billing, it is best to be open and transparent. 

  1. Take into account your merchant category code

If your practice uses cards linked to flexible spend accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts, make sure you have the best. Code for merchant category (MCC). If your bank codes you as 7277 (Debt. Marriage, Personal Counselling Services), you should ask the bank to recode to 8099 (“Health Practitioners, Medical Services Not Elsewhere Classified”)  

In most cases, a successful recode will require you to have a certain type of license. If you’re part of a group practice, use the most advanced diploma and license in your practice when you request a recode — even if the holder isn’t the principal therapist in your office. 

Remind your clients that if an FSA/HSA Card is declined due to MCC Coding, they can still submit the payment at their FSA/HSA Holding Bank for reimbursement. While superbills can be particularly helpful here, regular receipts usually do the trick, too.  

  1. Keep a log of each appointment

You should also keep track of your appointment times. Be sure to account for all cancellations — particularly if you charge a fee for them. That way, in the event a client has a billing complaint, you’ll have the data you need to make your case. 

Avoid Fraud Appearance 

Just because you’re trying to run your business as honestly, ethically, and by the book as possible doesn’t mean your activities will never look suspicious.  

Banks and credit card companies use algorithms, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. detect fraud. So, if your behaviors mimic fraudulent activity even if you’re doing everything correctly, you might run into billing issues that you’ll have to resolve. 

You can be sure to understand what banks are looking for by understanding the requirements of each bank. fraud detection and avoiding those behaviors, you can increase the chances your account is never flagged. Here are some tips: 

  • Don’t run payments on the same card more than twice per day. If the card keeps failing and the transaction won’t go through — but you keep trying to bill the card anyway — banks might think you’re trying to use the card fraudulently. 
  • Don’t bill your clients randomly. Instead, bill them regularly. Whether that’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly is up to you. Don’t wait more than a month.  
  • Don’t charge huge lump sums at once. Arrange a payment schedule that ensures you bill clients consistently and not all at once. Even if you secure a deposit for a complex, concentrated type of care, for example, and then bill for the full amount later, it will be more trustworthy to the banks — and less likely to be flagged as fraud. 

Prevent Chargebacks 

Chargebacks — which occur when credit card holders opt to file a dispute instead of working with your practice to resolve billing disputes — can be prohibitively expensive for practices like yours, both from a dollar and time perspective. Even if you end up “winning” the dispute, you’ll still end up spending more time on it than you’d prefer. 

Chargebacks are most likely to happen when you bill a client for a large amount all at once. Chargeback risks increase with larger bills. You should ensure that you bill your clients regularly to avoid banks imposing chargebacks on large amounts. 

Of course, make sure you don’t charge clients for services not rendered! To make sure all cancellations are recorded, scan the batch-running charges before charging. 

Share your own tips on running a practice 

What tips do you have for starting your own therapy practice or business?  

If you’re a GoodTherapy member, you can share your own tips with other therapists by submitting an article to our editorial team.  

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