Author Topic: My next step? So many worries.  (Read 2219 times)

solace

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My next step? So many worries.
« on: February 26, 2014, 10:12:47 PM »
Hey guys

Let me first start by saying I am experienced in the field of billing and coding.  I attended a trade school and graduated with a diploma in coding and billing along with an acquisition of my CPC.  A/R collections and appeals has been my specialty for a few years now and I'm ready to start my own business at home.  I'm happy to use Obamacare to my advantage in my marketing -- as most doctors are petrified at the decrease in reimbursement.  MY fear, however, is the expense of ICD-10 and 11.

Question #1 :  With the changes in healthcare, is this an incredibly bad time or perfect time to start my own business? I figure that I can probably start off with a free EMR with free updates for the dx codes, right?

Where I am now


Currently I am temping at an office doing primarily benefit verifications and a little bit of A/R so I can afford my ICD-10 training.  I have already registered my billing service name at the county clerks office and obtained my FEIN.

Question #2 : What is my next step?  I am looking to work from home so what needs to be done to assure that the environment is HIPAA compliant?  What are steps to register my residence as my workplace? 

Any links and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.


shanbull

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Re: My next step? So many worries.
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 09:24:31 AM »
Question #1 :  With the changes in healthcare, is this an incredibly bad time or perfect time to start my own business? I figure that I can probably start off with a free EMR with free updates for the dx codes, right?

Personally, I think it's a perfect time. More people with insurance means more business for doctors, and therefore more for you. This field was on a huge growth trajectory even before health care reform got rolling, due to baby boomers aging into retirement and needing more medical care. There are not a whole lot of "sure bets" when it comes to long-term employment these days, but this is one of the few areas that is guaranteed to grow. Having the specialized policy knowledge necessary in this field is incredibly valuable. And yes to the free EMR, there are tons of great options available to you and you will be able to do everything you need to with them. Try out a few and see which ones seem the best for you. Since you are experienced in this field, you know what you need. Obviously any small business can fail, but if you set yourself up right (and it sounds like you've been taking the correct preliminary steps), and know your niche in the industry, you have a very good chance to succeed. Everyone has to deal with ICD-10. It's not a disadvantage to you as a sole employee as long as you're smart about finding free and low cost resources (which exist and are just as good as the expensive ones), and asking questions here of course is another good way to get specific links to information. Which I will start posting as soon as I finish helping out a chiropractor here with his case review.

I work for a clinic so I can't really answer your second question, I'm sure someone else can!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 09:26:34 AM by shanbull »

Michele

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Re: My next step? So many worries.
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 10:36:41 AM »
Agree with shanbull on question #1

Question #2 : What is my next step?  I am looking to work from home so what needs to be done to assure that the environment is HIPAA compliant?  What are steps to register my residence as my workplace? 


Make sure your home is zoned to be able to do business.  I have heard of people losing everything by working out of their home when their state and/or local laws prohibited it.

Next, any work area that you will be using must be HIPAA compliant. Do you live alone?  Who else will have access to that space?  The data must be secured and protected.  You can't have your data out on the kitchen counter while you are hosting a dinner party.  It's really pretty common sense stuff.  File cabinets should be secure/locked.  Computers should be password protected, etc.  Family members must understand the importance of this as well and respect that. 
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Merry

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Re: My next step? So many worries.
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 10:38:30 AM »
You need to contact your local county office for your laws in your area.  There are many areas that do not allow business to work from home.  So I would get online and find out what you need to do before you go further. 

RichardP

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Re: My next step? So many worries.
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 01:36:56 PM »
solace - you ask if this is a good or bad time to "start my own business", without specifying what that business is.  You start off by stating that you are "experienced in the field of billing and coding", so I assume you wish to start a billing or coding business.

Question:  how are you going to do billing with an EMR, free or not?

PMRNC

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Re: My next step? So many worries.
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 03:32:14 PM »
Also don't forget E/O Errors and Omissions insurance. In many cases if you are NOT doing coding you could wait a bit on this until you have a steady income flow but I recommend having it. $3 Million is standard but you could get away with 1 Mil IMHO.  In some states it's called Business or liability Malpractice, Quai Tam, or Errors and Omissions.

In regards to HIPAA security you will have to meet the physical requirements of any other provider's office. Your files if in an unlocked area must be secured (locked), make sure your computer access is restricted (use auto logoff as required), make sure all email correspondence with PHI is secure and if website use will hold PHI, make sure you have an SSL.  When you develop your P&P and compliance plan just do it as any other medical office would and you will be in good shape.
Make sure you have all of your HIPAA agreements (BAA) ready to go with your contract when you present to a potential client.
Linda Walker
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solace

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Re: My next step? So many worries.
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 07:23:30 PM »
Thank you so much for answering all my questions. :)

Linda, I have taken that into consideration as I have kept track of many posts you've made in the past regarding advice for start-ups.

Michele, I figured that much with regards to the house situation and locked desks are already in the works. 

Shanbull, your positive outlook and thoughts on the current state of healthcare are much appreciated.   I definitely will look into the lower cost resources.  I'm an AAPC member and keeping an eye out for live webinar sales as well as options from supercoder.  I look forward to your links also :) 

williamportor

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Re: My next step? So many worries.
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2014, 12:34:37 PM »
Good advice, I'll have to keep these ideas in mind myself. 4 things I would add that would cut down on your worries, and make your start up a success:

1. Have a plan, and work your plan. I've said this before, but take the time to put together a business plan. It does not need to be long or complicated, but having a clear path to follow is important, as you get new information revise your plan until it works well, this will require several revisions over time, but it's worth it. Remember to include long and short term income goals, and an exit strategy.

2. Guard your cash, especially regarding marketing. Cold calling, meeting with office managers face to face, handing out business cards, consistent lead follow up, social networking, and most important...superior customer service. If you do a super job for your clients, word will spread!

3. Track and monitor your efforts and results. This sounds obvious, but many people don't. Track your marketing efforts and results, track yourself too! Do you have a daily work schedule? Do you follow it? Do you work consistently, or do you leave early? Are you focusing on your tasks as you should, or do you spend some of that time web surfing? Accountability is imporntant. Keep this information in written form, it helps when making revisions to your business plan.

4. Be prepared for the long haul.  Starting your own business is a thrill, especially the first few months, but you'll have days when things don't go well, or when it's not so fun. Have some insiprational things to fall back on i.e. Read inspirational quotes, books, or keep some of your favorite music close by. This might sound like minor league stuff, but we all get knocked flat sometimes, so have a plan to get back in the game.
Best of luck :)


Also don't forget E/O Errors and Omissions insurance. In many cases if you are NOT doing coding you could wait a bit on this until you have a steady income flow but I recommend having it. $3 Million is standard but you could get away with 1 Mil IMHO.  In some states it's called Business or liability Malpractice, Quai Tam, or Errors and Omissions.

In regards to HIPAA security you will have to meet the physical requirements of any other provider's office. Your files if in an unlocked area must be secured (locked), make sure your computer access is restricted (use auto logoff as required), make sure all email correspondence with PHI is secure and if website use will hold PHI, make sure you have an SSL.  When you develop your P&P and compliance plan just do it as any other medical office would and you will be in good shape.
Make sure you have all of your HIPAA agreements (BAA) ready to go with your contract when you present to a potential client.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 01:03:23 PM by williamportor »