What Is a Network Contractor and What Do They Do?
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Health care organizations often have complex networks of patients, doctors, insurance providers and office management teams. A crucial role in keeping this information updated, compliant and organized is that of the network contractor.
In this article, we discuss what a network contractor is and share essential details about the role, like what you might do, how to become one, what skills you need and what the average salary is.
What is a network contractor?
Network contractors are health care professionals who manage the finances and paperwork for an organization. They often work for insurance companies, hospitals, doctors' offices or with government agencies to create and maintain a network of insurers. Network contractors help ensure patients and doctors have several options when providing and receiving care. You might find network contractor positions in other industries, like telecommunications.
What does a network contractor do?
There are several primary responsibilities of a network contractor, such as:
Network contractors often manage the relationships between providers and facilities. This can mean having regular meetings with providers to understand any changes for either parties, insuring consistent payments and improving processes.
If there are any client issues, you may also be responsible for resolving these before they escalate. You might also share updates with practitioners or office managers if you work for an organization that supports several facilities.
Analyzing client needs
You might perform industry research to understand what clients need from your organization. This can include what competitors do that have additional suppliers and customers within their network. You can also analyze your organization's processes and client feedback to understand what they might need and how you might improve their overall experience.
Network contractors often negotiate contracts with their clients. For example, if you work for an insurance company, you may need to negotiate fees with doctors as there may be payments required to remain in your network. These negotiation requests might be ongoing and often the management teams request renegotiations with changes in policies, premiums or legal regulations.
Network contractors also ensure their contracts and other documentation align with federal and local health care requirements. This can also mean understanding policies and requirements for programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Many jobs provide training in these areas and provide you with documentation to which you can refer. You might need to perform research to understand some newer laws.
As a network contractor, you may need to support technology like databases and network portals. This can involve identifying any system bugs or development needs and communicating with patients through different channels. Using this technology, you might also file, retrieve and update client records as contracts update or doctors, patients and facilities change.
How to become a network contractor?
There are several steps you can take to become a network contractor, including:
1. Get an education
Many network contractor positions require you earn at least a bachelor's degree. This can be in health care, administration or business. Although often not required, you may pursue higher education like a master's degree that may help highlight your expertise over that of other candidates.
2. Gain experience
Many positions require you have a familiarity with network contracts before you start in this role. You might have experience in other industries, as you can often apply credentialing and verification expertise to the health care field.
Jobs often require three to five years of experience. Companies might also hope to see contract negotiation or health care experience to show you understand the basic terminology and workflows.
3. Explore certification
You might also earn specific certifications to add to your resume. For example, the Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) certification offered by the National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) can show that you know how to properly verify credentials and manage records. This can also help you learn about current regulations, common physician licensing issues and file management.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Skills for a network contractor
Network contractor roles require several specific skills to fulfill their duties:
Communication: Network contractors can communicate with other people within and outside of their organization. You can likely use written and oral communication skills, as you might have regular meetings, phone calls, emails and portal communications.
Negotiation: Negotiation skills include providing solutions to your clients that satisfy them while still earning the proper amount of money for your organization. You can practice these with different scenarios to see how you might handle unique clients.
Problem-solving: Contractors often have to understand complex regulations and different agreements, identifying how to manage each. This can require problem-solving as you might assess a situation, imagine possible solutions and choose how your organization might proceed.
Time management: Many network contractors work on strict deadlines to sign contracts so patients can receive the service they need. As you'll likely manage several contracts at once, learning how to prioritize and manage your time can be a valuable skill.
Also, as this job is commonly at a health care organization, understanding the structure of health care systems, payment methods and different networks can help you excel. You might also use similar software at various organizations that can help you learn more about the tools and resources available.
Salary for a network contractor
The salary for a network contractor can vary depending on facility size, location and experience. According to Indeed, the average salary for a contractor position is $64,276 per year. Similar jobs, like a network technician, have an average salary of $69,848 per year.
For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link(s) provided.
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