Author Topic: So many choices....  (Read 2140 times)

crenn

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
So many choices....
« on: May 28, 2012, 12:29:05 PM »
I have been researching the Medical Billing Profession for some time now and have made the decision to proceed.  I want to start my own Medical Billing Business from home.  I do not have any experience but my husband and I have been self-employed for 12 years and understand the pros and cons of self-employment.  We currently own a restaurant that up until the economic downturn had been serving us well.  We now need to do something else as we have been hit very hard by this downturn.  Medical Billing really appeals to me.  I do have many questions as there is so much information out there and it is hard to tell what is necessary and what is best.  There seem to be many designations; CMBP, CMRS, CMBS, what designation is recommended? Will I need a course in Medical Coding and/or Transcription?  There seems to be many opinions about that.  Michele Redmond and Alice Scott offer Medical Billing in a Box and I am very interested in their books.  Should I use their books for reference or will I be able to study those and take an exam for certification with just the books? Or, should I take the course offered at www.MedicalBillingcourse.com?  Or should I do both?  There are so many courses offered but that one seems to get high marks.  There are also alot of warnings out there about scammers so I just want to be sure I am on the right path.  I know that it will be difficult to get business with just a certification and without any practical experience.  Are there any other business owners out there who have been successful starting out this way?  How common would it be that an established billing service might outsource some of their work to me? 

Thank you in advance for any advice you might offer.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 12:33:26 PM by crenn »

PMRNC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4252
    • One Stop Resources & Networking for Medical Billers
Re: So many choices....
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2012, 05:45:21 PM »
Though Michelle and Alice's books are EXCELLENT you most definitely need to have training in medical billing. The books will be an excellent add on resource! As for the designations, don't worry about them.. I can put 26 letters after my name and even I couldn't tell you what they mean, and doctors wont either. Your certification/designation is ONLY as good as the education you get out of it.  I know many student's who have taken medicalbillingcourse.com and have been pleased with the course. The course is focused mostly on those wanting to start their own business, unlike some of the other home study courses. Another benefit is that there are other courses who will actually charge you MORE money just to get the test study guides and then sit for an exam to receive a certification..Certification, again is NOT required and is ONLY worth the education received out of it. Despite what others think it's NOT a marketing tool. 9 out of 10 physicians will never know any of the organizations that give out certifications. Focus on the course itself rather than the array of letters you get when done.  I'm not going to sugar coat this.. going from owning a restaurant to a medical billing company is going to be like going from an executive position at  Nathan's hotdog's to selling hot dog's on the street.. maybe that's not a great analogy overall but to start that is certainly what it's going to feel like.  There are trained and/or experienced billing companies that take a good year or more to get that first client, on the flip side, I've seen prepared billing companies come out of the starting gate and land the first client right away. It really is up to you and what your willing to put into it.   

Quote
How common would it be that an established billing service might outsource some of their work to me? 

It happens, but it's not very common unless you are willing to find a local company to work hands on in their office. Due to heavy liabilities with HIPAA medical billing companies assume the same liability in outsourcing as a physician would, to ensure compliance someone would need to be there with you. It's a risk to the billing company. I know many who take on part time work at a physicians office to get their feet wet and get some experience at the same time they are marketing. Again, it really depends on what you are willing to put into it. Another thing to consider is that if you are going to give up one main source of income to start this, that can be a very scary thing to do and I would highly recommend you think twice about it. This is a bad economy and every business is struggling.. while it is true the medical industry is and will continue to thrive, the competition can be fierce. Today's medical billing company must be very diversified and willing to take on all aspects and services of a medical office.

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

crenn

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: So many choices....
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2012, 06:24:51 PM »
Thank you so much for your honesty, although it was not what I wanted to hear because I, of course want to get started right away. I was a bit confused about the comparison with Nathans.  We also owned a shipping company prior to the restaurant.  With the exception of our taxes, I do all the bookwork.  Although we have had to downsize our restaurant due to the economy, we have, in the past had month payroll of over $30,000.00.  So, I am used to managing bigger business.  Also, to clarify, we would probably keep the restaurant open while I receive my education. I appreciate your concern regarding sort of "putting all our eggs in one inexperienced basket".   Would you say then that what I should do is become employed in a medical office first?  Would the same online course be suitable even tho it focuses on self-employment?  Any other "helps" would be greatly appreciated. :)

PMRNC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4252
    • One Stop Resources & Networking for Medical Billers
Re: So many choices....
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2012, 06:54:51 PM »
It really is up to you.. with your business experience it might be beneficial to start your own business, the course would prepare you just as well because you'll get all the knowledge along with all the things that go into your own billing company. Of course it also depends on what you can afford, if you can afford to run the restaurant while you startup, that's Ideal.  If you decide to take the course and then go work in a medical office it could take you a bit longer because you will most likely need to start at entry level to gain the experience.. where in contrast if you decide to start your own business, certainly the "experience" required can be down-played a little and made up with excess knowledge. Much of this is keeping up to date on industry changes which are frequent after you have a base foundation of what medical billing/practice management is.  Like anything there are Pro's and con's to both.  I stayed at work full time until I built a small client base to start, plus working afforded me the income to use towards startup. On the average its about $5000 - $10,000 start up investment. That's just an average. Some go for it all at once and others will start slowly.  I spent about $7500 to start up but didn't need any courses since I was employed by insurance companies for years prior to starting my own billing company.
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

crenn

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: So many choices....
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2012, 07:28:55 PM »
Linda:

I can't tell you how invaluable your advise/helps are to me.  I have read soooo much on the various sites but to actually   have a live response means the world to me.  I feel a bit more hopeful with your last response regarding working for myself rather than for someone else.  I understand what you mean by downplaying experience vs knowledge.  Wouldn't the online course be up to date with the latest?  I would then need to stay with different trade associations such as yours and of course when I am up and running keep up with continuing education courses.  Do you have any other suggestions?  You noted that the start up costs usually run from $5000.00 to $10000.00 and that yours were about $7500.00.  I wonder if you could give me a bit more information on what those costs would be?  I have most if not all of the office equipment-computer, fax machine, office supplies.  The cost for the on-line course and the books would be under $2000.00.  Then there would be licensing and permit fees.  What am I missing?

Again, thank you so very much for your time.  I would be remiss if I didn't ask you tho, isn't there anything in your company that a girl like me could help with? ;D

PMRNC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4252
    • One Stop Resources & Networking for Medical Billers
Re: So many choices....
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2012, 08:55:22 PM »
You will need coding books, claim forms, envelopes, software of course (bulk of the rest of the costs), technical support for your software, clearinghouse, and It's always a good idea to break out all the costs that will be ongoing so you know what's ahead. Yes the course should be up-to-date, of course, as I mentioned this industry is ever changing so ongoing education is KEY. You'll need to be well versed on HIPAA, HITECH, business associate agreements, compliance issues, etc..etc. MUCH of the foundation will be in your course but you will find you will continue to be educating yourself as there are new codes every year, and of course we have ICD-10 and Electronic Medical Records coming up on us.

Quote
Again, thank you so very much for your time.  I would be remiss if I didn't ask you tho, isn't there anything in your company that a girl like me could help with? ;D

Oh you wouldn't want to work for me.. I am probably the worst person on earth to work for which is why I stay a one person show. LOL  A few have tried, I'm way to stubborn and too much of a control freak. <g>
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

crenn

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: So many choices....
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 09:36:25 PM »
Thank you again.  I will definately sign up for your service and will probably need the one-on-one service you offer as well as the time draws closer to being up and running.  It is comforting to know that your service exists. 

I am sure we will be talking again soon.