(Tyler, Texas )
My name is Debra and my fiance’s name is Paul. We have been researching a career in HIT for quite some time geared towards having our own home based medical billing/coding office. We have decided on doing an It is truly a deep hearted desire of ours to be able to work together and be there for our children.
We do realize however this will not be easy-going and will have to work in an office for sometime to gain the credibility the employers will most likely seek out. My question is.. if we dedicate heart and soul to this venture, get our associate’s degree, and stay the course what is a realistic time-line for achieving this goal?
And btw ,thank you so much for posting all of this helpful and yes FREE info !!
Hope to hear back from you soon.
My advice would be:
Learn everything you can about medical billing and reimbursement. Training gives you a good foundation in the fundamentals but there’s nothing like real world experience. In fact I’ve never had a client ask about my training or school – only about what I’ve done and can do for them.
Having a spouse with you in business can be a real help because you can use the strengths of each other in the business. For example my strengths are billing, interacting with people, and marketing. My husbands strengths are more in software, the website, and the technology side things.
Network all you can. Anything you can do to “hang out” with professionals in the healthcare field can open more doors than anything else – especially if they consider you an expert on something in the field. A good way to do this is find local meetings given by insurance companies – such as Blue Cross – they give periodically for those who submit claims. That’s a great way to meet office managers. Also any organizations that let you rub elbows with doctors, nurses, office managers, etc. is a good way to network.
Learn everything you can about current issues and technology in the field – like HIPAA, 5010, ICD-10, current Medicare initiatives, EMR (Electronic Medical Records), etc. I’ve heard of some people creating a newsletter and sending to prospective clients that informs them of issues in the industry. This can be a great opportunity to establish yourself and your business as an expert.
Think outside the box. One of the biggest challenges in having a medical billing business is getting clients. Anything you can do to distinguish yourself or your business gives you an advantage. As a small billing service you are competing with large billing services who have a price advantage. Emphasize quality and personal service. Consider offering other services or consulting – such as credentialing, HIPAA compliance, EMR consulting or data entry, account receivables (unpaid claims), etc. There’s a lot of niches in the business that larger billing services cant serve or don’t care about but providers don’t have the time or expertise to do but are willing to pay someone who can. Keep an eye open for these types of opportunities – especially those effecting the revenue of a practice.
I think in the next 5 to 10 years software and automation will effect medical billing more – like integration with EMR systems. There can be some great opportunities there for training, consulting, resolving issues, improving efficiencies, etc.
There’s several great medical billing books written by Alice and Michele – two owners of a medical billing business up in New York – about starting and marketing a medical billing business – here’s links to their books.
As far as time frame If you are just starting from scratch I would estimate 6 months minimum – up to a year or more if you take your time. I’ve found it takes time to establish yourself and people to become familiar and comfortable with you and your business.
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