Medical Billing Forum

Starting a Medical Billing Business => Starting Your Own Medical Billing Business => Topic started by: Billergirlnyc on July 25, 2011, 02:01:08 AM

Title: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: Billergirlnyc on July 25, 2011, 02:01:08 AM
I have a quick question. I want to know how to handle this. I have a doctor who is also a friend, as in we've had lunch together, talked about personal stuff, etc. She let one billing company go, and has a new billing company, who doesn't seem to be that much better. She asked me a month ago if I'd be willing to help her with her old stuff, I am. Problem is. I let her low-ball me, and I know why, because she's a friend. The problem isn't the these old billing issues, everything from getting claims reprocessed, to getting her contract situation corrected w/certain carriers, to getting entire claims reprocessed correctly, removing wrong modifers, etc. The problem is EVERY single time I submit my invoice (weekly basis as per our agreement) she seems to get in a bit of a 'tude, as if I should be charging less.

Tonight was the final straw for me. She went from just wanting a break down of hours, amt, etc to now she wants me to include who, what I worked on. She's repeatedly told me that her current billing company take 2 weeks to respond to her via email and phone. I was going to present the idea that I'd be willing to take-on her billing, all of it, including the old stuff for a flat fee, etc. But she really upset me with her email tonight and I pretty much had to tell her in an email that I'm not overcharging her, that the small amount of work she has me do are all problems and time consuming. I already keep track of who I called, how long the call is, etc, etc for my records, so it was easy to send her an email of it, but it just never fails My 4th invoice to her, and it's like she hints that I am indeed overcharging her. I have 2 surgeons I do billing for who don't question me as much as she is.

I will see her in the morning, but this is becoming a headache. She doesn't even have a billing system, she has no way to check her billing co's work, no reports, no nothing, which baffled me and prompted me to explain to her that she needs one, etc. I also learned (she sent emails to me by mistake) that whatever info I gave her about how her biller should be billing, she's passing it on to her biller, who is then following-up on claims I've already corrected, and got reprocessed, etc. I told her a check was stopped by Cigna, because the biller put the wrong mail/to address on a claim, several of them in fact, and the biller told her I was wrong, and she deposited the checks, after I told her not to. Well, now she's upset because the checks bounced. I just don't know what do with her. But, the real issues seem to start when she gets my bill. I've explained to her that follow-up isn't easy, especially if the person did it wrong from the beginning. I spent the span of 5 hours in one week back and forth with 2 insurances, only to find-out that her biller signed a discounted agreement on her behalf.

I had plan on telling her in the morning that after this batch, that's it for me, because it really doesn't make sense to have me doing, what her billing company should be doing. I have no problem taking her work on, and she's normally OK, until she gets my bill, but I think she feels she's overpaying, which in all honesty she is, but not because I'm over-billing her, because she's using a incompetent service.

I don't want to ruin the friendship, but I'm a bit offended in that it really does feel like she is doing more questioning of me, the person who has gotten her out of more than a few billing issues (her biller put 25 units on a code more than once, upcodeded more than once, etc). Anyway any suggestions on how I can either end this or move this into a better direction?
Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: Alice Scott on July 25, 2011, 05:25:55 AM
Welcome to the forum. 

It is very doubtful that this will be a friend of yours anyway in six months.  If the friendship is the most important part of this relationship bow out ASAP and as gracefully as you can.  She will never understand what you have done for her.

Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: WMBS on July 25, 2011, 10:09:37 AM
I agree with Alice, bow out now because I also have a "friend" relationship with one of my clients and just recently proposed a new contract for more money and she is balking like crazy.  I have charged her the same rate for 6 years and am also tired of not getting paid for the amount of time it takes me to work her cases.

It seems they forget they are making more money when we have helped them and helped them realize their rates were to low...but when it comes to us asking for a raise they don't want to have anything to do with it.

Good luck
Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: Michele on July 25, 2011, 10:27:26 AM
I agree with the others, but would also like to say that you could tell her that you value her friendship and you feel it's in the best interest of the friendship to discontinue the working relationship.  I would also gently let her know that she is paying you for work that should be performed by her billing service but isn't and as long as she is going to continue with her current billing service she will always need someone else to be doing 'clean up'.  If she doesn't like the clean up fees get rid of the mess maker.

Best Wishes ~ you are in a tight spot.

Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: Billergirlnyc on July 25, 2011, 02:01:23 PM
Thank you to all of you for your advice. I had a long talk with her, and she battled me tooth and nail on every point I made, like how RT shouldn't be on a TP code, but anyhoo. I told her after this batch she has to impress upon her billing company to do their jobs. I gave her the number to a good friend who also does medical billing and is strictly freelance coding, etc. I told her for our friendship to continue, I can't be the one doing business with her, but that i have a friend who'd happily take her on, and would be better than the company she uses. She wasn't happy, but I feel much better, and eventually she'll get over any 'hurt' feelings. I don't like the position I put myself in with her, and told her that.

So, thanks again!
Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: DMK on July 25, 2011, 03:56:27 PM
Many times business and friendship don't mix.  Any time there's money involved it's difficult.  My husband and I have been approached by friends several times to go into business together.  We always tell them "I value your friendship too much to risk it".  Hindsight is 20/20, and it has ALWAYS worked out better that we didn't risk the business venture.  I rarely hire a friend to do anything because I'd rather be mad at a stranger if it doesn't work out!
Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: Michele on July 25, 2011, 05:25:09 PM
I'm glad you were able to end it with something still intact.  If she is truly a friend she will appreciate that you did this.
Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: PMRNC on July 27, 2011, 03:31:12 PM
I have had a similar situation only the friendship occurred after I took her on as a client.. either way it rarely works out.  In your case though I have to wonder..was she really a "friend" in the first place? Seems like she has done nothing but take advantage of you from the start. 
Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: Billergirlnyc on October 12, 2011, 10:34:43 PM
I have to give you guys an update on this. So, while I stopped doing billing for her, and we remained friends, she's now begging me to do it for her again. I refuse to do it, because she's so passive aggressive. I referred her to a friend who teaches coding via AAPC here in NY, and she gave her such a headache. I told her, if she can't help you, then I don't know who can. She insisted on her billing the way she wanted, even when my friend knew it was violating all kinds of rules. Needless to say my friend dropped her, and I will not be taking her own as a client.

It's really sad when you provide proof to physicians on how to bill something and they don't listen. She's so used to bad billers that she's basically had my friend end the contract with her. Who does that in a recession? Anyways THANK YOU GUYS A MILLIONS TIMES OVER FOR SAVING ME FROM THIS MESS!

Sorry for the caps, but I had too for the effect of how awesome you guys are!
Title: Re: Old Billing for a Friend Doc (advice needed)
Post by: Michele on October 13, 2011, 07:24:15 AM
Thanks for the update.  Glad the advice was right on and glad you took it!   ;)