Medical Coding and Billing


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Are You Realistic?

  --- Tammy Harlan ---
Medical Billing

You love to go boating and you've always wanted your very own boat. After careful consideration, you decide on a 32 foot SeaRay, a very nice cruiser that will sleep 6 comfortably and pull a couple of skiers on the back. 

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Along comes a hot weekend and you are excited about taking your boat to the lake (where you will dock it for the summer months). You slap a hitch on the back of your 2001 Volkswagon Beetle and you are able to pull it down the road, about a mile, before the transmission fails and the back of the beetle falls apart. Now you have a vehicle that requires repair and a boat that you cannot get into the water. You're pretty much dead in the water until you get real about what it will take to efficiently carry your boat.

Had you invested realistically in a 32-valve 6.0-liter Power Stroke® diesel engine and TorqShift® transmission available on the Ford F-250 through F-550 pickups and chassis cab which produces horsepower of 325 at 3,300 rpm and 560 foot-pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm, you would have been “good-to-go” from the very beginning. 

No, this article is not about boats and trucks that can pull them. I am using an analogy to illustrate a point that is so oftentimes missed when people decide to enter into Medical Billing Business ownership. You simply cannot put the “boat before the horse.” The power of the horse (business/software decisions) is vital to pulling and supporting the boat (the business itself).

Scam Operations and those Software Resellers Who Perpetuate the “Lie”

Why are there so many people who believe that they need not invest any more than $500 into a Medical Billing Business, which provides services to professionals and can produce a 6 figure income? Simple.

There are enough scam operations and software resellers in this industry who stand to profit from your $500 who couldn't care less if you succeed. Their focus is on your $500 and this is how the “lie” is perpetuated -- it is up to you whether or not to believe it.

Upon performing due diligence in the research of what it takes to begin and successfully operate a Medical Billing Business, you should be able to clearly see the “lie” for what it is.

A Realistic Investment

So what is a realistic investment for such a business? I have always maintained that your investment needs to be proportionate to your expected return! What kind of monetary return can you expect from a $500 investment? Is there someone out there who is going to give you a brand new 2007 Ford F250 in exchange for your 2001 broken down VW Beetle with a failed transmission? Certainly not! You could keep putting money into your VW Beetle and each time it has been fully repaired, carry the boat down the road for another mile, but how much sense would that make? Wouldn't you eventually end up spending more than if you would have simply done it right the first time around? Yes, you would --- and you would eventually reach the point of diminished return.

Your Medical Billing/Practice Management Software

There are Medical Billing Forums all over the place and on many of these forums, individuals will ask about “medical billing/practice management” software programs that can be used in a medical billing business setting. I cringe every time the responder eludes that “software doesn't matter” or advises the reader “not to spend too much on software.” What?

  What? If you see this type of response, take a look around and see if the forum is an extension of a web presence which is selling “inexpensive” software programs. Try to determine what the responder may be getting out of providing such irresponsible advice!

Your Medical Billing/Practice Management Software is the C-R-U-X of your business! It is the foundation of your services and income. Do you really believe that the software choice shouldn't matter? Do you really believe that the software choice should be “cheap?” Or do you believe that there are some software programs that are simply not designed to support your business (VW Beetle) and others that may be designed specifically for the needs of your business (Ford F250)?

Time is Money in this Business

So let me provide you with an analogy of a software program that is brilliantly designed as a “starter-program” for a single physician's office (individual database) vs. a software program that is designed specifically for the needs of a medical billing business which services multiple clients (true multiple database capability). Let's call the first program “Beetle” and the second program, “Ford”.

You are a Medical Billing Business owner servicing 3 separate clients (clients A, B, C). You are sitting in front of your software program inputting demographics for a new patient for Client A. Client B calls your office to inquire about a claim submitted for one of their patients:

Using Beetle: Crud!
Why did Client B have to call while I'm in the middle of entering patient demographics for Client A? How dare he! Now I will either have to call him back (after I save this record because I don't want to lose it mid-stream) or if I want to provide really good service, I'll answer his question now. I close out the record for Client A and lose the data I've already entered. Now I must close out of this database completely and then go to my “directories” and open the database for Client B in order to retrieve the information he is looking for. Okay, I'm finished with the call. I can now close out the database for Client B, pull up my directories, choose Client A and begin re-entering patient data. Oh No! Client C is on the phone with a question!

Using Ford:
Not a problem. Simply open the database for Client B right on top of Client A, retrieve the needed information, close the window and continue inputting the patient data for Client A. Client C calls… again, not a problem.

As I said before, “time is money in this business.”

This analogy illustrates single vs. multiple database capabilities but there are many other areas of your software program to consider… i.e. reporting capabilities, database manipulation, etc.

Many of you will ask if you can start with the Beetle and then get the Ford later. You will end up spending more money in the long-run and you will be converting your data from Beetle to Ford in the middle of business growth --- not to mention learning how to drive the Ford during the growth of your business. You would need to decide if this is a feasible route to take. I would, in my opinion, opt against that route because I entered into the business decision realistically knowing that I needed the Ford.

In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an inexpensive software program designed for a single physician's office. These programs are in high demand and are very useful in the appropriate setting.

  --- Tammy Harlan ---
Medical Billing


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