Medical Billing Forum

Starting a Medical Billing Business => Starting Your Own Medical Billing Business => Topic started by: annaevans on June 15, 2010, 06:27:24 PM

Title: New to the business
Post by: annaevans on June 15, 2010, 06:27:24 PM
Hello- I've been reading your post for a month or so, and have decided to ask some questions of my own. I'm new to the medical billing busines my background is in mental health/case management services. I've built a website, business cards, and dropped off a number of fliers. I'm looking to bill for psychologist, social workers, speach therapist, and occupational therapist. I'm struggling to push myself to do marketing. I'm kind of a shy person. Does anyone have any suggestions for me. Also if you have suggestions on web based billing companies, or software that I should consider?

Any and all suggested would be greatly appreciated from you guys. Thanks.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: PMRNC on June 16, 2010, 11:36:26 AM
Hi Anna,
You have a great advantage starting out with a specialty behind you. I hope you do not mind that I took a look at your website and if I may offer up a suggestion off the bat.. your fees posted on your website is not a good idea in general, it's certainly acceptable but it can be intimidating to providers and most physicians looking on the internet are going to go right to that page. That leads me to also say that 10% for MOST mental health providers is way above the average, but again, it's your prerogative.. I've been in this business for well over 20 years and my specialty for most of that time was mental health. What I learned over the years in pricing my services is that NO two offices are alike in any way. Providers want to know that they are receiving fair pricing based on THEIR individual needs. I never post my fees anywhere, I never give a blind quote. I might give a vague range but I always tell providers it would be more advantageous for them to allow me the chance to come in, analyze THEIR situation and come up with a fee that would work for both of us.   That is just one tip I had from quickly glancing at your site.

As for software, I can never tell someone what software I think is best, because the fact is, they are all different and the only way to truly find the right one for you is by doing a test drive and demo. Personally, my own opinion is that if I can't review a demo on my terms, when I want by opening up the demo, I skip that company over. I don't' want high pressured sales pitches, and IMO software that has to be "shown" to you means it's not going to be user friendly enough for me to play with it on my time. Some people will disagree with me but that's ok. I like to get as many demo's as I can. I like setting up my own databases, patients, etc and really diving into the features of each one.
Another thing I learned over the years is never get adjusted to ONE software. Diversity is key in this industry today. I have had billers tell me they lost a potential client because that client wanted to continue with their software and the biller was not comfortable with that and let the lead slip through their fingers. I have never turned down a client because they didn't want to use "my preference". Over the years I have become familiar with practically all the softwares out there. Sure there are ones I would rather stay away from but then I remind myself that my client (customer) is the one who's comfort level has to be appeased. In those situations many times they will see the limitations of their software in time and convert to the one I prefer, but this happens after they have gained trust in me and my services as well as confidence.

As for marketing, you need to first put away your fear and not be intimidated. A good tactic I learned to get over my cold calling fear was by going to the phone book. Open it up and find the biggest medical practices you can find, call them and just start talking... you have no expectations, and you can practice on the ones you know will probably not be interested. I know that sounds crazy but if you have NO expectations, you tend to open up more, be less fearful and at the same time you are practicing.  Just be careful because I actually got a client I never expected with this tactic :) Sending direct mail and internet marketing are great..but YOU MUST BE ABLE TO FOLLOW UP with a personal touch. If you send out 100 marketing pieces your chances are less than 1%, but if you follow up with a phone call your chances go up, and if you stay in touch with those potential clients they go up even more.

Put yourself out there but be sure what you are putting out there is professional! Networking is also a great thing. If it were not for networking I wouldn't be where I am today.

Best of luck to you!
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Michele on June 16, 2010, 05:24:03 PM
Great advice Linda!  Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Anand on June 17, 2010, 01:00:48 AM
Hi Anna,
You have a great advantage starting out with a specialty behind you. I hope you do not mind that I took a look at your website and if I may offer up a suggestion off the bat.. your fees posted on your website is not a good idea in general, it's certainly acceptable but it can be intimidating to providers and most physicians looking on the internet are going to go right to that page. That leads me to also say that 10% for MOST mental health providers is way above the average, but again, it's your prerogative.. I've been in this business for well over 20 years and my specialty for most of that time was mental health. What I learned over the years in pricing my services is that NO two offices are alike in any way. Providers want to know that they are receiving fair pricing based on THEIR individual needs. I never post my fees anywhere, I never give a blind quote. I might give a vague range but I always tell providers it would be more advantageous for them to allow me the chance to come in, analyze THEIR situation and come up with a fee that would work for both of us.   That is just one tip I had from quickly glancing at your site.

As for software, I can never tell someone what software I think is best, because the fact is, they are all different and the only way to truly find the right one for you is by doing a test drive and demo. Personally, my own opinion is that if I can't review a demo on my terms, when I want by opening up the demo, I skip that company over. I don't' want high pressured sales pitches, and IMO software that has to be "shown" to you means it's not going to be user friendly enough for me to play with it on my time. Some people will disagree with me but that's ok. I like to get as many demo's as I can. I like setting up my own databases, patients, etc and really diving into the features of each one.
Another thing I learned over the years is never get adjusted to ONE software. Diversity is key in this industry today. I have had billers tell me they lost a potential client because that client wanted to continue with their software and the biller was not comfortable with that and let the lead slip through their fingers. I have never turned down a client because they didn't want to use "my preference". Over the years I have become familiar with practically all the softwares out there. Sure there are ones I would rather stay away from but then I remind myself that my client (customer) is the one who's comfort level has to be appeased. In those situations many times they will see the limitations of their software in time and convert to the one I prefer, but this happens after they have gained trust in me and my services as well as confidence.

As for marketing, you need to first put away your fear and not be intimidated. A good tactic I learned to get over my cold calling fear was by going to the phone book. Open it up and find the biggest medical practices you can find, call them and just start talking... you have no expectations, and you can practice on the ones you know will probably not be interested. I know that sounds crazy but if you have NO expectations, you tend to open up more, be less fearful and at the same time you are practicing.  Just be careful because I actually got a client I never expected with this tactic :) Sending direct mail and internet marketing are great..but YOU MUST BE ABLE TO FOLLOW UP with a personal touch. If you send out 100 marketing pieces your chances are less than 1%, but if you follow up with a phone call your chances go up, and if you stay in touch with those potential clients they go up even more.

Put yourself out there but be sure what you are putting out there is professional! Networking is also a great thing. If it were not for networking I wouldn't be where I am today.

Best of luck to you!
Linda-I could see how much you love this industry, really inspiring & of-course great inputs...All the best
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Alice Scott on June 17, 2010, 05:18:48 AM
Linda,
Thank you for taking the time to give such good advice.
Alice
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: PMRNC on June 17, 2010, 09:36:07 AM
Thank you!
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: annaevans on June 17, 2010, 03:14:35 PM
Thank you for the good advice you gave me a lot to think about.
Thanks,
Anna Evans
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: megg6785 on June 23, 2010, 10:22:12 AM
Hi Anne,
I am brand new to starting my own business too.  I have been billing for a variety of doctors and providers for several years, but decided to venture out on my own.  I am at the same place you are and feel a bit intimidated by marketing!!  I have a website, cards and a brochure also. Originally I thought I would focus on becoming a patient advocate, but there really is no market for that, so I have changed directions to continue billing for physicians.  So I have had to revamp my material.  I am waiting for them to show up (tomorrow). My focus is smaller office of 2 providers...  I feel for you as I need pointers too to get this business rolling!!  ???
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: PMRNC on June 23, 2010, 10:50:47 AM
While you are marketing you could ask potential clients to allow you to leave your card and a brochure on advocacy services you offer. You would be surprised, if you help a patient they are going to remember and tell that provider, and so on. You can make it an extension of your services. Most medical billers when starting out only focus on the obvious and you have to think outside the box!
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on June 23, 2010, 11:30:18 AM
Hi Anne,
I am brand new to starting my own business too.  I have been billing for a variety of doctors and providers for several years, but decided to venture out on my own.  I am at the same place you are and feel a bit intimidated by marketing!!  I have a website, cards and a brochure also. Originally I thought I would focus on becoming a patient advocate, but there really is no market for that, so I have changed directions to continue billing for physicians.  So I have had to revamp my material.  I am waiting for them to show up (tomorrow). My focus is smaller office of 2 providers...  I feel for you as I need pointers too to get this business rolling!!  ???

what type of marketing are you doing?? Also I would be careful about marketing businesses that don't relate to medical billing. you come off as a "sales person". I had a friend who tried to obtain a client, when he wasn't interested she tried to offer him some of her other "discount" services.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Michele on June 23, 2010, 09:03:19 PM
Don't be intimidated by marketing.  I was and it held me back.  Now I'm not and there is nothing stopping me.  You've got to step outside of your comfort zone and just keep your eyes on the goal, landing the account.  You can waste being nervous after!

Seriously you just need to decide you are going to do it, and then go get it done.  The providers aren't nervous, and they are people just like you and me.  This is business, you are a business person and so is the provider.

Best wishes!

Michele
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: PMRNC on June 24, 2010, 06:49:40 AM
Quote
what type of marketing are you doing?? Also I would be careful about marketing businesses that don't relate to medical billing. you come off as a "sales person". I had a friend who tried to obtain a client, when he wasn't interested she tried to offer him some of her other "discount" services.

Well, I would agree you probably don't want to sell those lost clients jewelry or baked goods, but patient advocates and claims advocates actually get most of their business from physicians. There have been a few who were not ready to outsource but were overly enthusiastic to learn about the other services I could provide. But then again, that's why I limit my use of the "Medical Billing" stereotype.
Title: Re: Outside of the box?
Post by: annaevans on June 24, 2010, 04:02:02 PM
Wow, I would love to go outside the box and provide advocacy services to their clients. I'm exceptional resource finder when I worked in mental health. I was thinking some how providing that service to the clinicians' through a resource page on my website. I'm extremely knowledgeable about learning disabilities, and the school system in Texas. If anyone of you have any questions I'd help you guys for free with your children. It definately something to think about, but first I must get a client. Again everyone thanks for your great idea.
Anna Evans
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: PMRNC on June 24, 2010, 04:35:50 PM
Anna, I think it's a great extension for your business. The only tip I would give you is to be sure that when patients from a provider need your services you have a separate contract with the patient, NOT the provider! with that type of service you could even create an online contract, you could create a link for "patients" to purchase the service but you want to be careful not to collect any PHI via the website unless you are using encryption security, it's just easier to accept the payment, have the patient agree to the terms and then you can arrange a consult.  I know a billing company not too far from me that handles these types of services and they are pretty busy, 90 percent of their business comes from their clients OR word of mouth via doctors in the area. she has her business cards in all of the doctors offices. 
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: tonya_l on June 28, 2010, 09:53:53 PM
Hi - I am new to this site and am finding it full of information. I have been in the medical billing business for about 5 years now and am thinking about going out on my own. I have no idea where to start. Can anyone tell me the first steps to take and approx what the start up costs will be? I will be billing from home and am not sure how that works with the software I purchase. I am looking into Medisoft and trying to figure out how I connect or if I have to connect to the doctors offices. There is so much to the business part that I am afraid I will jump into something to fast! Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks...Tonya
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on June 29, 2010, 05:19:53 AM
Hi - I am new to this site and am finding it full of information. I have been in the medical billing business for about 5 years now and am thinking about going out on my own. I have no idea where to start. Can anyone tell me the first steps to take and approx what the start up costs will be? I will be billing from home and am not sure how that works with the software I purchase. I am looking into Medisoft and trying to figure out how I connect or if I have to connect to the doctors offices. There is so much to the business part that I am afraid I will jump into something to fast! Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks...Tonya

The first place to start is with your city's government office. Everyone has a different requirement to open a business from your home. I had to have an HOP, and a business license to begin. Once you get that information, you can then look into doing your business plan on how you want to develop and grow your business.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: tonya_l on June 29, 2010, 05:54:30 AM
ok i will start with a business license and go from there. Thanks for your fast reply!
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: karenb on July 09, 2010, 06:31:17 PM
 I just found the forum and I have some specific questions. I have been billing for DME for 9 years and have a chance to do some billing for a sales rep who fits braces in doctors offices and he wants someone else to do his billing. My question is will he have a npi or do I have to get one and set up like a business . I am confused on how I will bill for this because I am used to billing for a particular othotist. I guess it is like stock and bill which I am not familar with can anyone give me some answers so I know where to go with this.

Thanks.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on July 10, 2010, 05:53:30 AM
I just found the forum and I have some specific questions. I have been billing for DME for 9 years and have a chance to do some billing for a sales rep who fits braces in doctors offices and he wants someone else to do his billing. My question is will he have a npi or do I have to get one and set up like a business . I am confused on how I will bill for this because I am used to billing for a particular othotist. I guess it is like stock and bill which I am not familar with can anyone give me some answers so I know where to go with this.

Thanks.

hummmmmm, is he looking for you to billing or invoicing??? The Sales Rep isn't selling to the client, but to the Provider, so he shouldn't be billing insurance.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: aksharhealth on July 16, 2010, 02:46:43 PM
I need help in growing medical billing business. I was working partime for Gyn doc as medical biller since 2007. Then in 2009 I get job as collector in one of the top medical billing company in US. I am working on AR. Also now I am doing billing for Gyn doc from home. Now I want to grow in my own medical billing business. I have named the firm. My next step is to make website, brochures, and required marketing material. Side by side I am looking for software. Here I am confused from where to start. Firts I want to know about any reliable company who can make attractive website, brochures and other marketing materials for medical billing. I have studied Claimtek but they are very expensive. Also I have heard that their support is not good. Any sugestions will be helpful.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on July 17, 2010, 02:50:37 PM
have you gotten your license to do biz yet?
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Alice Scott on July 18, 2010, 04:39:36 PM
I'm really not familiar with Claimtek at all so i can't comment on them in particular.  It is important that you carefully consider price and functionality when choosing a software.  Most likely you will be using it for a long time.  If it is too expensive it will eat up all of your profits.  If it is too cheap and doesn't perform well, it will hurt you too.

As far as webs, there are a couple people on the forum that do them, such as Linda.  I would just ask for some samples that you can view, and look at the terms, such as how changes/updates are handled and what happens if you decide to no longer use their service.  My aunt had someone do a website for her and when she notified her she would no longer be using her which was a couple years later and the woman was horrible at doing updates, she tried to delete the whole site.  Thankfully I have enough background that we were able to save it for her. 

Good luck
Michele
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: aksharhealth on July 19, 2010, 07:26:42 AM
have you gotten your license to do biz yet?

I am in state of MD which does not require License.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: aksharhealth on July 19, 2010, 07:29:21 AM
I'm really not familiar with Claimtek at all so i can't comment on them in particular.  It is important that you carefully consider price and functionality when choosing a software.  Most likely you will be using it for a long time.  If it is too expensive it will eat up all of your profits.  If it is too cheap and doesn't perform well, it will hurt you too.

As far as webs, there are a couple people on the forum that do them, such as Linda.  I would just ask for some samples that you can view, and look at the terms, such as how changes/updates are handled and what happens if you decide to no longer use their service.  My aunt had someone do a website for her and when she notified her she would no longer be using her which was a couple years later and the woman was horrible at doing updates, she tried to delete the whole site.  Thankfully I have enough background that we were able to save it for her. 

Good luck
Michele


Thank you Michelle.
Linda, Can you help me with website and brochures.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: lbrill on November 04, 2010, 10:41:09 AM
Hello,

My name is Lon.  Like many who have posted within this forum I am new to the medical billing business.  I am still in learning mode and have not yet gotten to the point of business cards, web sites, marketing, etc....    I will be getting to this fairly soon, I have mostly been learning about this in general.  To give some background, I currently have a day job in Information Technology and it affords me the ability to mostly work from home.  As such, I will have some time to start my own medical billing business. 

I have completed a home based course (this allows me to atleast get an understanding of the process).  In addition, I have purchased many books on how this business is run, have read some and am continuing to educate myself.  I know that my next steps are to demo different software and choose one, do my marketing research and write a business plan (not necessarily in my order).

I am finding one item to be a rough spot though, the marketing research will need to focus on strategy, but to get to that point I need to have a target.  While there are many types of providers out there I am not sure which type makes most sense to start with.   Are there any types that are better for individuals new to this business or am I better off just randomly picking some targets  off a medicare participating list (in essence "throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks")? 

One other question I would ask, is that in thinking about this, I believe the best place to get started would maybe be a new/younger doctor beginning their own practice.  Are there any lists that exist where I could find this detail of information?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Lon
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: rdmoore2003 on November 04, 2010, 11:02:37 AM
I have used the Medisoft program for different providers in-house many times and still know providers that use it.   I would not suggest it.   Remember the old saying,  you get what you pay for.   With that said, I understand that it may be a good option for a start, however, if you are the only one "employed" in your new business, plan ahead that you will purchase a new program as quickly as you can afford it. 
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Michele on November 04, 2010, 07:21:30 PM
A lot of billing services will start by targeting mental health providers.  They are fairly easy in terms of billing as they only use a handful of cpt codes, and not a wide range of icd 9's.  There are social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists and they tend to be plentiful.  Most of these providers do not have a lot of office staff since they don't see as many patients an hour like a family practice dr.  Starting with newer drs is good too, since they usually need more help.  You can offer to assist them with credentialing, or other start up processes.

Good luck!

Michele
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: jcbilling on November 05, 2010, 08:16:19 AM
Michele,
 
In your experience, what would you say the average monthly receiveables for a psychiatrist are?

~ Charity
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: jcbilling on November 05, 2010, 08:17:50 AM
Lon,

For billing software, I recommend looking into Kareo or DAQ Billing - they are both web based software.

~ Charity
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: PMRNC on November 05, 2010, 09:21:59 AM
Quote
In your experience, what would you say the average monthly receiveables for a psychiatrist are?

It's impossible to give an average because there are too many variables, some psychiatrists are strictly med management, others practice both therapy and med management, some do hospital visits/rounds, some work in nursing homes, some do forensics...it's really impossible to give an average on this, you also have to look at location. The average initial eval  (90801) for a psychiatrist could vary between $100 and $300 per hour, that should give you an idea of why it would be next to impossible to give a general analysis of receivables.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Michele on November 08, 2010, 06:42:40 AM
Like Linda said, there are a lot of variables.  Is the doc full or part time (what do they consider full time)?  Are they doing therapy or just rx's.  I also agree, too many can be rx happy and not spend enough time with the pts.

Michele
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: QueenAlicia on November 09, 2010, 02:09:04 PM
A lot of billing services will start by targeting mental health providers.  They are fairly easy in terms of billing as they only use a handful of cpt codes, and not a wide range of icd 9's.  There are social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists and they tend to be plentiful.  Most of these providers do not have a lot of office staff since they don't see as many patients an hour like a family practice dr.  Starting with newer drs is good too, since they usually need more help.  You can offer to assist them with credentialing, or other start up processes.

Good luck!

Michele


Michelle that is very helpful information.  I am restarting starting my business from home and I am rebuilding everything ( does that make since  ??? ).  I am working on contracts, compliance plans and I think I narrowed it down to what software I want to use.  Now I am looking up providers to market to.  This was very good information.
Title: Re: New to the business
Post by: Michele on November 15, 2010, 10:03:25 AM
Glad to help!   :D