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For behavioral health providers interested in launching their own private practice, navigating the administrative side of things can be daunting. While their expertise lies in clinical care, the success of a practice often hinges on effectively managing a number of administrative functions. Something that requires careful consideration is determining which tasks to outsource and which to handle in-house. There are four critical functions that practitioners should evaluate for outsourcing or hiring: billing, payroll, insurance credentialing, and human resources (HR).

By understanding the pros and cons of each decision, practitioners can make the choices that allow them to focus on delivering quality patient care and setting their practice up for success.

Understanding Outsourcing and Hiring

Outsourcing and hiring are fundamental aspects of establishing and managing a behavioral health private practice. Outsourcing involves delegating specific tasks or functions to external service providers, while hiring involves bringing individuals onto the practice team to fulfill responsibilities internally. Both approaches have their own merits and drawbacks, which practitioners must carefully weigh based on their practice’s unique needs, resources, and goals.

The specialized nature of behavioral health services can result in practitioners who have a wealth of clinical expertise but lack the necessary administrative or operational skills to launch or manage a private practice effectively. This is where outsourcing comes into play: By outsourcing tasks such as billing, payroll, insurance credentialing, and HR, practitioners can ensure that these critical functions are handled by experts in their respective fields. This saves time and resources while also reducing the risk of errors or compliance issues.

Outsourcing and Hiring for Behavioral Health for Behavioral Health Practices

Behavioral health is constantly evolving. Changes in regulations, insurance requirements, and technology mean that practitioners must be proactive to meet the evolving needs of their patients and the industry as a whole.

Staying up-to-date on such changes while managing day-to-day operations can be overwhelming for practitioners, especially as they are starting out. Outsourcing allows behavioral health practices to leverage the expertise of professionals who specialize in navigating these changes and complexities, ensuring that the practice remains compliant and competitive.

When it comes to hiring, choosing people who align with the practice’s values and mission can significantly impact patient outcomes and overall practice success. The right staff is crucial for establishing patient-provider relationships, providing high-quality care, and maintaining a positive work environment. Hiring the right team members is critical because they lay the foundation for the practice’s culture and reputation.

Outsourcing and hiring both allow practitioners to focus on delivering quality care while ensuring that critical business functions are effectively managed. By leveraging external expertise and building a strong internal team, practices can enhance their efficiency, compliance, and patient satisfaction.


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Key Functions to Consider for Outsourcing and Hiring for Behavioral Health Practices

These four functions are integral to the smooth operation and financial health of a behavioral health practice. Efficient billing ensures timely reimbursement for services provided, essential for maintaining cash flow and sustaining practice operations. Accurate payroll management ensures staff members are compensated correctly and also helps maintain compliance with labor laws. Insurance credentialing facilitates provider participation in insurance networks, expanding patient access and practice revenue streams. Effective HR practices support staff recruitment, training, and retention, cultivating a work environment conducive to high-quality patient care. Overall, these four functions directly impact practice profitability, staff morale, and patient satisfaction.

  • Billing

Billing involves the process of submitting and following up on claims with health insurance companies to receive payment for services rendered. The decision to outsource billing services can provide several advantages, such as reducing administrative burdens, ensuring compliance with billing regulations, and increasing revenue through efficient claim submission and follow-up.

Experienced billing professionals can navigate complex billing regulations, maximize reimbursement rates, and minimize claim denials. However, while outsourcing can streamline the billing process, it could also mean relinquishing control over certain aspects of revenue management.

  • Payroll

Payroll includes tasks such as calculating employee wages, withholding taxes, and issuing paychecks or direct deposits. Outsourcing payroll services can provide numerous benefits, such as ensuring accuracy and staying up-to-date with changing tax regulations. When considering outsourcing payroll, practices should remember to consider cost, control, and data security.

Outsourcing payroll functions to a trusted provider can streamline payroll processing and alleviate the burden on internal staff, allowing them to focus on core business activities.

  • Insurance Credentialing

Insurance credentialing is the process of becoming an approved provider with insurance companies in order to bill for services rendered to covered patients. It involves submitting applications, verifying credentials, and negotiating contracts with payers to establish reimbursement rates and terms. The decision to outsource credentialing services can save time and increase the likelihood of successful credentialing.

By leveraging industry expertise and established relationships with insurance companies, outsourcing firms can navigate complex requirements and overcome common challenges that practitioners may encounter independently. Of course, practices should carefully vet potential credentialing partners and establish clear expectations.

  • HR

Effective human resources (HR) management is essential for building and maintaining a skilled and engaged workforce in a behavioral health practice. HR includes functions such as recruitment, onboarding, training, performance management, and compliance with employment laws. Outsourcing HR services can offer numerous benefits, such as accessing specialized expertise, reducing HR-related liabilities, and improving employee satisfaction. Practices should carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing HR based on their unique needs and priorities.

By outsourcing HR, practices can simplify processes and mitigate compliance risks. Additionally, outsourcing HR can offer cost savings compared to hiring internal HR staff. This is especially true for practices with limited resources.

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What to Know About Outsourcing and Hiring for Behavioral Health Practices

By evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing these and other key functions, behavioral health providers can optimize their practice operations and free up their time to focus on providing quality care to their patients. With careful consideration of outsourcing and hiring decisions, new behavioral health practices can ensure their long-term success.