Author Topic: How to get my first job in billing?  (Read 2307 times)

bpark73

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How to get my first job in billing?
« on: January 21, 2016, 02:22:14 PM »
Hello everyone,

I'm seriously considering starting a career in medical billing and would like to find a job in that profession. However I don't have any experience in billing or coding although I know I would excel at it if someone would give me the opportunity. My ultimate plan is to start my own business however I would like to get my feet wet by working for someone first.

So I kind of have a chicken and egg problem because it seems like employers are currently hiring only those with experience.

Would getting certified in coding help my chances even though I don't have any experience? Any other ideas on landing my first billing job with an employer?

Thank you again. This forum has been a tremendous resource of ideas for me.

Brian

Michele

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2016, 08:08:50 PM »
We hire more based on personality than we do experience.  We used to insist on experience but we learned that the person's personality really meant more.  We had a girl once who came to us similar to you except she didn't want to do her own business, just wanted to work in the field.  She had no experience but she was very motivated and was a fast learner.  We have had others similar to her as well.  Our current office manager had no experience as well but we knew her work ethic and she too was a quick learner.  You will find some employers will not want to hire you without any experience, but you will find some will consider you anyway.  I personally don't think getting certified in coding would help but I would consider taking a course in medical billing.  Your best bet with wanting to start a business is to work for a provider.  Who knows, they may like you so much they will be your first client!  You could do an online course pretty quickly and then you could say "I don't have any experience but I took a course in medical billing".   Be careful when selecting a course.  There are many out there.  Some are outdated and don't even contain ICD10 info.  They are still teaching ICD9.  We have courses available as well (DISCLAIMER - I am one of the course creators and I do benefit from the sale.).  We just updated the coding section of our course to contain ICD10.

http://www.medicalbillingstudycourse.com/ 

Good Luck!
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kristin

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2016, 10:36:54 PM »
At my office, we prefer to hire staff without experience in the medical office field, because we have found in the past that when we have hired people with that experience, they tend want to do things the way they did at their previous job, and that is almost never the way we do things at our office, or ever would. I would rather hire someone with a great personality and work ethic,(and certain other skills, that I will get into at the end of this reply) that is a "blank slate" when it comes to medical offices, so that I can train them "our way", with no arguments, push-back, etc, that I get when they do have experience.

If you look around at other forums, where there are employers posting job listings regularly, you will see that when it comes to medical billing or receptionist jobs, they will often say that they will train the right person. Not so with coding jobs, as employers pretty much want you to have your CPC or equivalent certification, and three years experience. While understanding the basics of coding is a good thing to know, I don't feel it is necessary to be a CPC if you eventually want to own a billing company. And it is quite expensive to get certified as a coder.

I would absolutely recommend not only working as a medical biller before starting your own company, but also taking online courses in billing. From what I can tell, the ones that Michele's company offer are excellent. You want to get a VERY solid foundation in billing under you before try to start your own company, or you will probably not get very far. Most providers/office managers will know right away if you know what you are doing, or not. For instance, I would, as an office manager with 20 years billing experience, throw at you a laundry list of things to explain to me, and if you didn't explain them to my satisfaction, I wouldn't hire your company. I worked briefly for a billing company started by someone with zero experience in billing. It was a disaster/nightmare for me, them, the other biller, and the doctor they managed to sign. So a solid foundation in billing is a must.

I don't know what your previous work experience is, but I read something interesting the other day, on another forum. A doctor wrote in asking how to find new staff for his office. Specifically the front desk. Often, that is where you start, then you work your way up into billing tasks. He was told by one doctor to look at his local Starbucks, see if anyone there was looking for a new job, or part time work. Reason being that baristas are great at dealing with the public, high pressure situations, and multitasking. All things you want when hiring someone at a busy office. I myself managed a fast food restaurant before making the switch to working for a doctor, and I was promoted to office manager within two years, even though I had no previous medical office experience. It was my restaurant experience that did it for me. Be sure to tighten up your resume to focus on things that would apply to working in a medical office.

As for those certain skills I mentioned earlier...they are so basic, but so many people lack them. Things like: being able to alphabetize, spell correctly(I can tell from your posts you can do this), speak well, attention to detail, multitasking, prioritizing tasks, and again, attention to detail. Can't stress that enough, because it is so important. I don't care if someone can type one word a minute or sixty words, so long as they type them all correctly.

If you have any good relationships with any doctors you know/see, check into maybe shadowing their staff for a day or so, while looking for a job. That will give you an idea of what it is like to work in a medical office.

Good luck with your new career!




bpark73

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2016, 12:03:22 AM »
Your best bet with wanting to start a business is to work for a provider.  Who knows, they may like you so much they will be your first client!  You could do an online course pretty quickly and then you could say "I don't have any experience but I took a course in medical billing".

While understanding the basics of coding is a good thing to know, I don't feel it is necessary to be a CPC if you eventually want to own a billing company. And it is quite expensive to get certified as a coder.


Michele and Kristin thank you again.
It seems like the common thread from both of you is to pursue employment with a provider. Can you explain a little why you think this would be better than a billing job with a biller for example? I'm intrigue to hear more of why both of you have said to start with a provider as opposed to a billing company.

Also Kristin you mentioned that being certified in coding is not necessary to owning a billing company. Are you saying obtaining a "certification" is not necessary because coding is something that can be picked up on your own? Or are you saying that most billing companies don't code therefore it's a service not necessary to provide? If the latter then I would like to know what percentage of billing companies provide coding services and which ones don't?

A little bit about myself, I started a chemical formulations company in the past and had a successful exit. I'm now looking to move on to the next chapter of my life. For whatever reason I've always been drawn to the medical billing business even when I was in my 20's. I have lots of family and friends who are doctors so I'm very comfortable speaking and comprehending their language and feel this is something I can be good at.

Thank you and I'll be looking forward to your responses!
Brian


kristin

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2016, 01:35:59 PM »
Most billing companies I know do not provide coding services. Either the doctor codes, or has a coder on staff, the billing company strictly deals with billing/related issues. It does help to know coding, for sure...but not necessary to be certified, I don't feel.

As for starting with a doctor rather than a billing company, when you are new to the field...I think you will find more doctors in your area hiring, rather than billing companies, and training someone in this field is difficult to do if the person is not on site, so being remotely trained by a billing company is kind of hard.

I can see a billing company hiring someone with no experience, if that person can work in their office(if they have one, many are run out of homes), but not hiring someone with no experience if they are a thousand miles away.


Michele

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2016, 04:31:04 PM »

Michele and Kristin thank you again.
It seems like the common thread from both of you is to pursue employment with a provider. Can you explain a little why you think this would be better than a billing job with a biller for example? I'm intrigue to hear more of why both of you have said to start with a provider as opposed to a billing company.



Most billing companies will be leery of hiring someone who's final goal is to start their own business.  For some reason most billing services feel that every other service is cut throat.  This forum will give you a different idea than that because there are so many here willing to share.  When we started we tried to network with other local billing services (back when there was no internet and bulletin boards were the only method of communicating nationally!) and lets just say we got our fingers bit, bad!  If you go in and tell them honestly what your plan is they will probably will be afraid that you may take their clients. 


Also Kristin you mentioned that being certified in coding is not necessary to owning a billing company. Are you saying obtaining a "certification" is not necessary because coding is something that can be picked up on your own? Or are you saying that most billing companies don't code therefore it's a service not necessary to provide? If the latter then I would like to know what percentage of billing companies provide coding services and which ones don't?


Most billing companies do not code.  The billing should come over coded.  However, it is important that as a biller you understand coding enough to recognize when something is a problem.  It also comes in handy when handling denials and appeals. 


A little bit about myself, I started a chemical formulations company in the past and had a successful exit. I'm now looking to move on to the next chapter of my life. For whatever reason I've always been drawn to the medical billing business even when I was in my 20's. I have lots of family and friends who are doctors so I'm very comfortable speaking and comprehending their language and feel this is something I can be good at.




Well, sounds like leads won't be a problem for you then!  Sounds like you have a good foundation. 
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kristin

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2016, 07:11:42 PM »
Forgot to answer one question you asked...about whether coding is something that can be picked up on over time, versus certification. Yes, you can absolutely pick it up over time, that is exactly what I did, in one of the apparently harder specialties to bill, podiatry. I don't think it is hard, but the newly certified coders and new and experienced billers I help with it all the time think it is. It took me about two years of being self-taught, and working in a podiatry office to get good at it, now twenty years later, I would say I am expert at it, and I don't say that about much. So it can be done. I don't have the letters behind my name saying I am certified, but I also didn't have to pay a dime to get the expertise that I have. Works for me!  ;D

bpark73

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2016, 05:44:02 PM »
Kristin,

Good to know that coding can be picked up without a degree or certification. It seems like you really know your stuff. You mentioned that Podiatry is difficult to bill, what other specialities would you say are harder to bill than others?

Thanks again for your time
Brian

kristin

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2016, 06:58:51 PM »
In my opinion, chiropractic is difficult to bill, because insurance places so many restrictions on that specialty. It isn't like they have a ton of codes to know(in fact Medicare only accepts four codes). It is more like all the commercial insurances make them jump throw hoops with what they do bill. I used to help another biller with that specialty, and I hated it. Same thing to a certain extent with PT billing, what with care plans, GP modifiers, other modifiers showing at certain intervals where the patient is at with their therapy.

I would never want to do facility billing either, such as for a hospital, ASC, or SNF/ALF. That's just me. I know how to bill on a CMS-1500 form, and that is what I want to stick to, lol!




PMRNC

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Re: How to get my first job in billing?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 12:53:17 PM »
Quote
Good to know that coding can be picked up without a degree or certification. It seems like you really know your stuff. You mentioned that Podiatry is difficult to bill, what other specialities would you say are harder to bill than others?

This is TECHNICALLY true.. however keep in mind one very important fact: Medical offices do NOT need a coder, they do however need billers. IF you are a biller with experience and/or proper training..you will benefit, you will benefit a TOUCH more with coding experience BUT not unless you have a coding certification.
Linda Walker
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