With many more medical billers beginning their own outsourced medical billing companies, competition can be fierce when marketing your services to physicians. The WAY you do business can actually be a foot in the door when you start your medical billing company.
Many practice management and medical billing companies setup their business with the medical billing practice management system or software of their choosing. Maybe they trained on a particular program or perhaps they have experience using a particular software or system. It’s human nature to want to use a program or software you are familiar with or were trained on. I started to notice more and more billing companies losing potential clients simply because the client did not want to convert their data to another companies system or software. I myself had lost a potential client or two, that were hesitant or completely resistible to change software/systems, or they simply did not want to waste the costs spent already on their existing system. I just knew there had to be a better way! Another way that I could save money. Another way new medical billing companies can save on overhead costs and even start-up costs!
A few years ago, after having been established for some time, I felt that I needed to look at my business model a little bit differently. I had done many software conversions for clients, in order to get them into my system. I knew there had to be a better way! For anyone that knows anything about data conversions from one practice management system to another, they are time consuming, sometimes costly, and almost NEVER completely without errors! When a medical billing company signs a new client, the new client’s data from within their existing system, needs to be transferred to the billing companies software. Not only can data conversions be time consuming and costly for both the billing company and the practice, but it is also not without a lot of errors. Some data, most likely will not convert properly, or perhaps the practice was not entering data correctly, or appropriately to begin with. Of course, you can do a manual conversion to minimize conversion errors. A manual conversion would be the more reliable way since you have control over the setup of the database. But, again, I was looking for a better way to avoid any conversion at all which would cause delays to the practice revenue.
I received a phone call from an office manager from a pediatric practice a few towns over from where I lived. They had gotten my name and reference from a former client who had retired a year prior. Their dilemma was that they had just paid $24,000 for a system with a 3 year contract for support. They had no desire to go to another system. They liked their system, they knew their system and they received training on the system for all of the staff. Their system was also working for them. They were just looking for better efficiency in their office, and wanted to take a look at what an outsourced solution could save them in regards to time and money. I did not want to make them any promises, I met with them and got a good chance to look at their current system. In my many years of doing this as a medical billing business owner, I had been through several software conversions and no matter what vendor told me it would be easy, it never was. With every conversion I did to a new andsupposedly “better program”,my clients and my business both lost time and money! On the plus side, I’ve worked on six programs and little did I know those changes would help me later market a better business model today by using the clients existing medical billing practice management system. I signed that client, and was able to maneuver my way through their system. It is important to note, that I had looked over reports and their system, in my meeting with them first. I could find nothing that stood out to me at the time, that would necessitate me telling them they had to convert to MY system. We set up for me to start 2 weeks from the day they signed the contract. This time period afforded me the chance to get to know their system. Four years later, we are still using the same system. I have my own HIPAA compliant log-in, the front end staff has access to whatever they need throughout any business day, and I am not limited to any specific times I can log-in. I also do not have the expenses of a clearinghouse, software support, and my experience with various practice management and medical billing systems over the years saved me any costs associated with training. The setup went seamlessly! With that client, I realized I was limiting myself and paying much more than I needed to in costs for software, support, and clearinghouse fees. Additionally, I realized this experience taught me that I needed to change my marketing campaign. I was now able to market this new business model to clients who already had a medical billing or practice management software/system, and maybe no desire or need to switch. I’ve always been a firm believer that if something is not broke, don’t fix it! You might be wondering, what if they don’t have an existing software system, or they have a desire to change their system? This is very simple, I created my own white paper of comparisons based on the software or systems I felt comfortable recommending. this way I could still benefit from the savings of any software, support or training and the client could choose the system they were comfortable with. Another benefit from this business model is a peaceful and smooth contract end if needed. Whether the client ends the contract, or my company ends it, there is less to haggle over. They own software, they have their data, and they can access everything they need to keep their practice running.
One of the things I’ve seen the most in working with medical billing companies over the last several years, is that an end to a contract can be extremely difficult and many issues are left unresolved due to the question of “Who owns the data?”. It also ends the search of finding the “Perfect software” which doesn’t exist anyway, and allows me to market this diversity and keep overhead costs to a minimum! With this business model, this is not an issue. I again, feel the need to stress this business model may not be for everyone. You need to find what way works for you in your business.Someone new in the medical billing or practice management business, may have a harder time working in various practice management systems. This isn’t really a business model that would benefit a new medical biller with no prior experience. Software vendors and business opportunity vendors are not very receptive to this type of a business model, so be aware that many vendors may try and persuade you with invalid arguments about this type of business model being “time consuming”. In fact it’s not. With the right remote access credentials you can work anytime, and just as effectively as if the software were on your computer. It’s already done all the time using web-based and ASP models.
At PMRNC, we have worked out discount arrangements with several medical billing and practice management system vendors which members can access and pass that savings on to their clients. For more information view our members benefit page to see all of the benefits and resources our members receive.