Author Topic: Medical Billing Career Research‏  (Read 6878 times)

TechieRN

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Medical Billing Career Research‏
« on: January 24, 2013, 06:50:00 AM »
Hi There I am brand new to this forum but need some advice.

I have been able to speak with two people in the Medical Billing business and here is what I found out so far.
The first guy (Steven) I spoke to lives in Oregon and went through the billing class I have been considering on taking online but he said the class was very basic and I could learn most of what he learned purchasing a few books on Medical Billing. Steven have been in the business a little over 2 years, told me he thought it better to quit my current job so to devote all my time to building clients and building this business but made him aware that this is not possible since Steven thinks it could take 1-2 years to build clients but was very encouraging about the business in general. Steven's father passed away and left him an inheritance and he has about 20 clients but only makes about $2500 a month from his business currently but could not do it if it was just billing business supporting him but expects his numbers to increase soon. Similarly, I did let him know "I am not quitting my day job" to do this business and it would need to be built while working my current job and he agreed but said it would take me longer to accomplish but possible.
The second guy I spoke with (Jim) was the Neuro MD's biller who finally called me back after multiple attempts and me actually getting the MD to have him phone me back, which was by coincidence since I got a call from MD on my regular job with him needing assistance.
Jim has a local business here in Sarasota, FL says Medical Billing is very competitive (which is probably why he didn't phone me back right away) but room for more people to get into the business and but made me aware that my biggest challenge is getting that first client to give me a chance with no experience in the business. In the same way if an MD finds out that I work my other hospital job on the side and that Medical Billing is not my primary business they would be nervous about hiring me. Jim says he does more than just Medical Billing and some of what he does that offices ask him to do, he doesn't really collect any revenue from such as: actually assisting the office manager role at some offices, helping offices with business work-flow issues, helping with software decisions and on and on. Jim was somewhat encouraging but told me to research a great deal before investing money and making the plunge, he also said he finds little niches that have helped him distinguish himself from competitors and suggested that for me in not so many words. Jim says to not look at just Bradenton-Sarasota but also Miami, Orlando and other areas to grow the business.
Well, that is my nutshell report for now, and I still have little idea about what a typical day in my own business would look like yet but have been reading, researching and of course praying that I am moving in the right direction with starting my own business since living under someone else's whim or wane on how they wish me to conduct my job does not excite me any longer.
I would rather decide to fail or succeed at my own business, than having to deal with political games here at current job, since 3 strikes means I get fired from my current job and I already have 1 and 1 half strikes against me.
I am hanging in there though.

PMRNC

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 08:47:32 AM »
Quote
I have been able to speak with two people in the Medical Billing business and here is what I found out so far.
The first guy (Steven) I spoke to lives in Oregon and went through the billing class I have been considering on taking online but he said the class was very basic and I could learn most of what he learned purchasing a few books on Medical Billing. Steven have been in the business a little over 2 years, told me he thought it better to quit my current job so to devote all my time to building clients and building this business but made him aware that this is not possible since Steven thinks it could take 1-2 years to build clients but was very encouraging about the business in general.

I'd have to disagree with anyone telling you that you could learn the business from purchasing a few books. I strongly disagree UNLESS you have prior experience/education.  I also couldn't tell anyone to quit their job to focus solely on any business start up. In today's economy that is a double risk for sure. I worked a full time job, sometimes up to 70 hours a week and did not leave my position until I had a few clients under my belt. Certainly there are major challenges while your working, learning another business and trying to set it up, but I'm thinking of the income you will lose by quitting and for me that wasn't possible since I was using that income to start up my business at the time.



Quote
Steven's father passed away and left him an inheritance and he has about 20 clients but only makes about $2500 a month from his business currently but could not do it if it was just billing business supporting him but expects his numbers to increase soon.

I don't want to go too much into this aside from a simple opinion that with 20 clients certainly there should be more coming in, however I don't know what type of clients, what services, how he's billing, etc too many variables to guess it's just my opinion that 20 clients only bringing in 2500 a month would be enough to make me really evaluate what I was doing. Maybe he is paying too much in overhead? Maybe he has employee and payroll? I simply don't have enough info aside from an initial reaction to that being VERY low.



Quote
The second guy I spoke with (Jim) was the Neuro MD's biller who finally called me back after multiple attempts and me actually getting the MD to have him phone me back, which was by coincidence since I got a call from MD on my regular job with him needing assistance.
Jim has a local business here in Sarasota, FL says Medical Billing is very competitive (which is probably why he didn't phone me back right away) but room for more people to get into the business and but made me aware that my biggest challenge is getting that first client to give me a chance with no experience in the business.

Yes, as with anything it will take a new business with no experience/education much longer than most. How long depends on you of course.

Quote
In the same way if an MD finds out that I work my other hospital job on the side and that Medical Billing is not my primary business they would be nervous about hiring me. Jim says he does more than just Medical Billing and some of what he does that offices ask him to do, he doesn't really collect any revenue from such as: actually assisting the office manager role at some offices, helping offices with business work-flow issues, helping with software decisions and on and on. Jim was somewhat encouraging but told me to research a great deal before investing money and making the plunge, he also said he finds little niches that have helped him distinguish himself from competitors and suggested that for me in not so many words. Jim says to not look at just Bradenton-Sarasota but also Miami, Orlando and other areas to grow the business.

All good advice.


Quote
Well, that is my nutshell report for now, and I still have little idea about what a typical day in my own business would look like yet but have been reading, researching and of course praying that I am moving in the right direction with starting my own business since living under someone else's whim or wane on how they wish me to conduct my job does not excite me any longer.
I would rather decide to fail or succeed at my own business, than having to deal with political games here at current job, since 3 strikes means I get fired from my current job and I already have 1 and 1 half strikes against me.
I am hanging in there though.

I just want to make sure you understand that the first set of advice you got in just getting books is very very risky. You will need to look into courses and educational materials. I'm not saying to run out and get the first class you see, likewise I'm not telling you NOT to buy books and research. I'm just saying you really will need a pretty decent education to even know how to choose your software when your ready. That's VITAL to this business. If you don't know how the business works you can't properly research and demo practice management software, let alone consult with potential clients about using your services. If you have NO experience in the industry at all, you will need to instead focus a LOT on the educational part. Also you need to know the education and training is ONGOING. Right now the industry is moving towards new HIPAA/HITECH rules and we have new Coding (ICD-10) we are all getting ready for.  The industry is ever changing and startup costs won't be the only costs incurred. There will be ongoing costs associated with continued education. You really want to research online courses, on campus courses, and speak to others who might have taken a particular course.   Many of our members at PMRNC took  MedicalBillingCourse.com and were very pleased, I would say this was the most widely used course over last few years, it's different from others as it takes you through the steps of running a business where as many other courses were just medical billing in general and really didn't cover the procedures of running a medical billing company.    Michele and Alice's books at www.medicalbillinglive.com  are awesome.. EVERY single one she has is worth the money (inexpensive IMHO) and they are a very successful billing company and indeed know the business inside and out.   
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

TechieRN

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2013, 10:41:03 PM »
Linda
Thanks for responding to my post, it is really appreciated since I initially did plan on taking an online course for medical billing and seem to keep getting directed to MedicalBillingCourse.com, so will probably take that one if you think it would give me some experience and such, sounds like it would be $700 well spent   ;D
To be very honest with you, I mean I don't even know enough about medical billing business yet to even know if when i get a good look at it that I will even like it. One thing is certain, that taking a career placement test says I am a clerical person and one of the trades I would be good at is billing and plus I am detail oriented so I think that is half the battle so to speak right?
Is their a mentor on this site or would you be available for mentoring if I choose to pursue that might assist me with questions and help keep me on the right track?

I really like this forum though and like that you guys are out there as a help

Michael

PMRNC

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2013, 12:22:19 PM »
 
Quote
I mean I don't even know enough about medical billing business yet to even know if when i get a good look at it that I will even like it.


Michael, that was exactly why I started PMRNC, I wanted to reach people before they put out the hundreds or thousands of dollars on a business that might not even be for them. There's some articles that might give you some insight into the business before you spend even one penny at our website at www.billerswebsite.com   click on free articles.   Also Michele and Alice's books are wonderful resources that will also help you get an overview before taking a bigger leap.  Know what you are getting into. It makes complete sense. I certainly wouldn't open a pizza shop if I knew nothing about making pizza or running a restaurant <g>

 
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

DANNI

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 01:52:18 AM »
Hi I am new to the forum.  I am seeking a mentor.  Can someone recommend one to me?

TechieRN

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2013, 08:04:46 PM »
I would like to find one myself, let me know if you have any luck.

tallmanusa

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 06:23:14 AM »
Look at the job market for medical billers carefully.
We received over 100 applicants through our website, just during the last 30 days, experienced medical billers looking for a job. These were unsolicited, from our membership on Linkedin.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 06:25:34 AM by tallmanusa »

TechieRN

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2013, 08:50:50 PM »
I am not sure what you meant by your statement, do you mean the market is way to competitive for a person to get started in this business or what exactly did you mean?

TechieRN

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2013, 08:57:16 PM »
Hi There
I am aware that there are many EMRs that also have the ability to have scheduling as well as billing the patient built right into them.
My question I have is in reference to my above question, does that force the hand of the physicians and owners of medical practices to hire their own billers meaning does that put people like myself trying to start my own Medical Billing business out of a job or for us to be more creative to learn all the different EMR's out there?
I am just curious what the future looks like to those who have been in the business for quite some time?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Michael

RichardP

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2013, 10:53:28 PM »
Michael - read through these links for some perspective:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/health/policy/26docs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/electronic-medical-records/ehrs-push-private-practice-docs-out-of-b/240049877

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-03-12/national/35448596_1_medicare-cuts-physician-practices-doctors

http://newsroom.accenture.com/news/more-us-doctors-leaving-private-practice-due-to-rising-costs-and-technology-mandates-accenture-report-finds.htm

Economies of scale are driving doctors in private practice to join groups or groups to be purchased by hospitals.  Only 36% of doctors are expected to be in private practice at the end of 2013.  I was approached this week by an acquaintance, asking if I had any work for their sister-in-law.  Sister-in-law has extensive front office management and medical billing experience.  But her doctor just joined a doctor's group, with their own folks, and she is no longer needed.  Multiply that by thousands of times, and you have the explanation for tallmanusa's comments.

Re. your question about EMRs and PMs:  Read through these links for some perspective.

http://www.medicalbillinglive.com/members/index.php?topic=6819.msg21511#msg21511

http://www.medicalbillinglive.com/members/index.php?topic=7034.msg21003#msg21003

http://www.himss.org/ASP/topics_FocusDynamic.asp?faid=665

http://www.hl7standards.com/blog/2010/03/04/hl7-interface-an-overview/

Bottom line - Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are used by doctors, not billers.  Practice Management systems (PMs) are used by billers, not doctors.  Data comes from the EMR to the PM via paper or electronic transfer.  Data is forwarded from PM system to the clearinghouse for billing.  Data is forwarded from (or retrieved from) clearinghouse to PM system for payment documentation (actual payment is sent to doctor).

For billing purposes, you need to know Practice Management systems, not Electronic Medical Records.  It will be the rare doctor who does not already have his EMR / PM system up and running (that includes the single doctor with a billing program who submits paper forms).  You need to be flexible about the kinds of systems you can work with.  That means knowing how to find your way around more than one Practice Management system.  This subject has been covered fairly extensively in other threads here.

Questions to help focus your attention:  If a doctor already has an EMR / PM system(s), why should he hire you as a biller if you wish to force him to use your system(s)?  Even if you don't want him to use your system(s), why should he hire you if you don't know how (or won't learn how quickly) to use his system(s)?  As is the case with any hiring situation, you have to give the employer a reason to want to hire you.  You have to have something that the employer wants and is willing to pay for.

But how to prove you have something the doctor wants if you've never done any billing before.  If you truely are a RN, you know doctors.  Doctors have billers.  Ask for contact information re. the doctors' billers.  Contact the billers where appropriate.  Offer to work for free so you can watch and learn what they do / watch and learn their PM software.  This doesn't have to be for 40 hours per week.  But it should be enough so that you actually learn from them what it is that you need to learn (that is, find out what you need to know that you don't yet know).

PMRNC

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 10:16:39 AM »
Good INFO you got :) 

Just to add to that info simply... today's Medical biller MUST be diversified meaning they are ready, willing and able to take on an account w/out long drawn out data conversions, or the time it takes to learn a new software.. that's why I encourage all new billers to get out there and demo and play with all of them.  One of my long time friends I met way back in the late 90's started off her billing company with ONE software, she now has 77 clients, staff and she has no ONE software, some she utilizes remote access, some are web based, etc. Gone are the days where you CHOSE a software, talked the doctor into just going with yours, etc etc. Today's doctor needs you to be ready to go immediately with NO hit to the revenue stream. If you are new to the business completely it IS going to take you longer but I encourage you to learn ALL about practice management and NOT just "medical billing".   I make the bulk of my money doing consulting but I wouldn't be able to do the consulting if I only had the basic education of just billing.  Get to know the entire industry, think outside the box and be diversified and ready for any task.
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

RichardP

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 04:40:19 PM »
Here is a bit more information I think everybody should be familiar with.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/business/a-digital-shift-on-health-data-swells-profits.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

From the article:

The biggest players drew this incredible huddle around the rule-makers and the rules are ridiculously favorable to these companies and ridiculously unfavorable to society. ... The records systems sold by the biggest vendors have their fans, who argue that, among other things, the systems ease prescribing medications electronically. But these systems also have many critics, who contend that they can be difficult to use, cannot share patient information with other systems and are sometimes adding hours to the time physicians spend documenting patient care.

PMRNC

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 10:27:29 AM »
Quote
The biggest players drew this incredible huddle around the rule-makers and the rules are ridiculously favorable to these companies and ridiculously unfavorable to society. ... The records systems sold by the biggest vendors have their fans, who argue that, among other things, the systems ease prescribing medications electronically. But these systems also have many critics, who contend that they can be difficult to use, cannot share patient information with other systems and are sometimes adding hours to the time physicians spend documenting patient care.

And that, ... grouped with the ACA and Medicare SGR is how I made MOST of my money in last 18+ months :) 
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

RichardP

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 01:32:41 PM »
And all you needed to know to earn that money was what you learned in billing class, right??  ;)

I forgot to add in my post above that there is a lot of interesting information contained in the comments that follow the article I linked to.

TechieRN

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Re: Medical Billing Career Research‏
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 03:04:42 PM »
Richard and Linda
I just wanted to say thanks for the great info you both have posted, I am still reading some of the articles Richard posted and it will take me some time to get through it all.
I am taking Richard's advice and putting out some feelers and requests to some of the MD offices I have done business with in the past, to see if I can work 'work for free" shadowing medical billers then my ultimate goal is to try networking with medical offices I have associations with to try and land at least my first client, then hopefully once I get my first client, I will get a name started for myself.
I am still a bit apprehensive in starting into this Medical Billing business field after hearing about the competitiveness of this business and such but believing there that is still room in this business for me.
Michael