5 Reasons Why I Don’t Think Dietitians Should Hire a Credentialing Agency
Are you a dietitian thinking about accepting health insurance in your nutrition practice?
Super overwhelmed by what seems like a ridiculously foreign process?
Questioning whether or not you need to hire a credentialing agency to help get the job done?
Well girl – stop right there. The short story is – you are smarter than you think. In this blog, I am going to give you the 411 on my top five reasons why I don’t think dietitians should hire a credentialing agency. So sit back. Count your cold earned cash. I am going to save you a bundle.
Top five reasons why I don’t think dietitians should hire a credentialing agency
It is really NOT that hard
I promise. The whole getting credentialed with insurance is SUPER overwhelming. I get it. I have been there. In fact, I have been there five times. This is because each time you hire a new dietitian you must credential them individually as well as part of your group.
But I am here to let you in on a little secret – getting yourself credentialed with insurance is NOT hard. It is actually a fairly straight-forward progress. Is it foreign to us dietitians? Yes. But that is only because it is not something that we are taught in school or during our dietetic internship.
Does the credentialing process require patience? Yes. Can the process be frustrating? Yes. Is the credentialing process hard? Absolutely not.
You survived your dietetic internship and an eternity of academic bullshit work. Getting credentialed with insurance companies is not hard. So, stop telling yourself it is. Therefore, tuck this as reason one of the many reasons I don’t think dietitians should hire a credentialing agency.
It is a fairly standard process
While most insurance companies have their own application, there are certain aspects of the credentialing process that are pretty standard. In general, there are three main phases to becoming an in-network provider:
And believe it or not – the above 4 steps are pretty homogenous among ALL insurance carriers you might want to work with. Therefore, if you follow these steps and do what each insurance company requests, then you are good to go.
It can be expensive
Hiring an agency you to get you credentialed with health insurance companies can be expensive. I personally have never used a company to get credentialed. However, based on what other dietitians have told me the process can be pricey.
On the Healthy Bytes website (one of the well-known credentialing agencies for dietitians) they report a price tag of $1395 for 4 insurance contracts. If you are just getting started out in private practice, there is a good chance you are not generating enough income where your business can easily absorb this cost. Couple this with the fact that the process isn’t as hard as you think, further supporting why I don’t think dietitians should hire a credentialing agency.
Trust me. There are lots of things in your nutrition practice that you will need to spend your hard-earned cash on. A credential company is certainly not one of them. I don’t think dietitians should hire a credentialing agency nor do they need them to get the job done.
You kinda owe it to yourself to know your business inside and out
I think if you are a private practice dietitian it is CRITICAL to know EVERY SINGLE aspect of your business before you start outsourcing tasks. After all, it is YOUR business. And the only way to be awesome at your business is know your business. This includes all aspects of your business – even the less-than-sexy aspects like credentialing.
Also let’s think ahead to the future. When your practice grows so fast that you need to add more dietitian(s) to your practice. Guess what happens at this point? You now need to credential and contract these dietitians before they can see any of your patients. So, if you outsourced the credentialing for YOU then you have no idea how to get the new dietitian(s) credentialed. Therefore, you need to pony up the cash AGAIN to the credentialing agency to get them set up.
So, bottom line if you hire someone to do what seems like ‘dirty’ work – then you haven’t learned anything about how credentialing even works. You gave your power (and money) away to a credentialing agency. And for what? Because something seemed hard. Girl you have certainly been through worse. Believe me. Stop doubting yourself. This leads me to reason number 5 for why I don’t think dietitians should hire a credentialing agency.
You CAN do it
I save the most important reason for last. At the end of the day, you can do it. I seriously have NO doubt that you can complete the credentialing process on your own without spending a dime. You are a badass dietitian who is smart, has awesome critical thinking skills, and is excellent at following directions. That is pretty much all you need to complete the credentialing process.
Next week on the blog I will discuss the specific steps you need to complete the credentialing process. However, for now, I will leave you with some tips to consider before diving into the details next week.
1. Apply to a handful of insurance companies all at once.
The applications are all pretty similar and you will be copying the same information on each one. Also, by applying to a couple of companies at once, you increase the likelihood of being successful with at least one company. That way you can get started with some patients while you wait on the other insurance companies.
2. Stay organized.
Keep copies of all paperwork you fill out and send. Note dates, times, and specific people who you spoke at the respective insurance companies. Get references number for calls you make as well. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly, and will not need them. But it is always good to be prepared.
3. Be proactive.
The credentialing process from start to contract can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months. Therefore, even if you are in the very beginning stages of your nutrition private practice and you don’t have any patients start now. That way by the time you are ready to go you will be credentialed and ready to accept insurance.
So, I hope that was not too much information to digest. But please believe me. I totally get it. The whole insurance thing and private practice can be confusing. But it is only as confusing as you allow it to be. The process is certainly not hard. It is pretty straightforward. You are fully capable of doing it on your own without ponying up any cash. Therefore, the bottom line is I don’t think dietitians should hire a credentialing agency. And for Pete’s sake. Give yourself more credit. You are a freaking badass dietitian. Nuff said.
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