Starting a medical billing coding business requires wearing several hats. What to consider when starting a medical billing service business.
A medical billing service business requires being able to successfully wear a triad of hats:
And if your like most people, this is in addition to all your other responsibilities: parent, spouse, employee, volunteer,...etc.
How much can you make operating a medical billing coding business? Well that's really up to a persons drive, perseverance, and desire just like any other business. Some I know are satisfied serving a small practice and earning anywhere from $1000 to $2000 a month.
Of course this varies greatly depending on the client and practice. If you serve a semi-retired physician it would be on the lower end. If you serve a busy practice that sees 30 or more patients a day, it can be much higher.
I know people such as myself who have a few doctors, run their business from home, and make a comfortable income – from $1500 to more than $5000 a month is typical for a smaller medical billing coding businesses. There are others who have a nice office with several employees and make over six figures. As with any business, it’s pretty much what you make of it. But they all just started with a vision.
Master Medical Billing Coding
I've used medical billing coding and medical billing interchangeably here but many prefer to concentrate strictly on billing and not take on coding. Or hire a medical coder to handle coding services. Even so you do need to have some familiarity with coding.
If you're already knowledgeable in medical billing and coding, you have a great head start. If not take heart, there's a lot of ways you can master medical billing without spending a ton of money or taking forever. That's basically how I learned the craft - both billing and coding. Now I'm not going to say I'm an expert in medical coding, but I have learned enough to understand where to get the answers when I don't know them. Many practices use the same diagnosis, treatment, and modifiers for a majority of their patients. So once you master the specialty coding, it becomes easier to interpret physician notes and identify coding issues.
A good start is a package of books and resources created by a mother/daughter team who operate a medical billing service. It's called Medical Billing Home Business in A Box and includes several books on the basics of medical billing, getting a doctor, marketing strategies, etc. Their individual books are also available on our Medical Billing Books page.
A great comprehensive online course is offered by Medical Billing Course.com and can be completed at your own pace. It's a great alternative for those who can't invest the time and $$ in going to vocational or technical schools.
You can also get on-the-job training which is what I did. I worked out of my home for a medical billing coding business and learned all the ins-and-outs of billing and coding while getting paid. I guess you could consider this free medical billing training. But there's probably no better way to learn than by doing!
Business licenses, accounting, forming a corporation, planning, managing expenses, invoicing, hiring.... It's all part of starting and running a medical billing service business.
Have a medical billing coding business plan - it doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Just a realistic plan to reach your goal - whether it be $1500 a month or $10,000 a month. It should state what your business goal is, how you're going to get there, how you're going to do it, and associated time frames.
Here's more detailed info on developing a business plan for your medical billing coding business.
If your goals are to grow, plan how you'll manage the additional work. One thing I found as my medical billing coding business grew is that I had to get help. This meant hiring trustworthy people and delegating and managing the work as much as doing the work. When you own your own business, the buck stops on your desk - you can't blame anyone else when something goes wrong.
You have to learn to delegate and prioritize as you grow. Sometime the business side of things is the hardest for me to grasp. I depend a lot on my accountant for help - she's great. A good accountant can help you avoid a lot of headaches.
One thing I have learned is if you "know your stuff", clients will find you out. That's why it's important to be knowledgeable on issues like HIPAA and health care reform. As dry as these type subjects may be, knowing how they effect medical billing and coding can really impress a client. And word of mouth can help a lot from there.
Take it for what it's worth but these are products and services that I endorse because I believe in them and have used them. They are also endorsed by others in medical billing whom I trust. I'm not about to endorse and stake my reputation on something if I didn't strongly believe in it.
Market Via The Web
I've discovered having a web site can be an income generator on it's own just from ads, affiliates, etc. Not to mention the client leads. In my local city, our medical billing coding business is the first listing for medical billing coding businesses in the search results for "Medical Billing". And that's within less than 5 months of starting this site. Here's more info on how this site has grown and is starting to generate income.
I can't say enough about SiteBuildIt - they have change the way I view using the web now.
Don't Neglect Marketing
Marketing is the life blood of your business. Even if you are satisfied with the size of your business, it's still important to market your business and keep your name out there. Doctors retire, get sick, quit, move, die, - you name it. You can always count on change and turn over. One of my best clients closed his practice last year and went to work for someone else out of frustration of dealing with the hassles of running a practice.
Everyone may think doctors make a lot of money, but they also have a lot of expenses. And they are constantly getting squeezed by insurance payors, Medicare, etc. Sometimes the reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid doesn't even cover their costs. There are other doctors who just like to shake things up and change billing services every once in a while because someone comes along and offers them a better deal.
Check out the Medical Billing Business Books page for helpful books on marketing a billing business.
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