November 01, 2006
5 Minutes With
BC Advantage (BCA): How long have you been in the medical billing and coding industry?
Grace Richardson (GR): Since early 1998. I was in the middle of changing careers, not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, other than that I wanted to get into a different industry. I remember a close friend talking about the medical billing business as a home business. I thought why not? At that time I had no idea what medical billing and coding entailed. Never one to take a short cut, I did some investigating and decided education was a necessity. I enrolled at a specialty medical career school and ended up ultimately teaching the curriculum. Being a "do-er", I decided to start a medical billing business.
BCA: All of your billers and coders are credentialed by the AAPC and AHIMA. How important is this to your business?
GR: I believe credentialing enhances our credibility to our clients as being knowledgeable billers/coders. Just as doctors participate in continuing education to keep current with the changes in technology and procedures we too must participate in continuing education to keep current with changes in the claims processing policies and procedures of the many insurance carriers. I believe our credentialing gives doctors the assurance that their claims are being submitted correctly and within the guidelines of each carrier; thus increasing collection of claims.
BCA: What are the qualities that you look for when hiring a new biller or coder?
GR: "Persistent" is probably the best word to describe the ideal biller for me. It is the attitude I expect all my billers and coders to have. Our clients who have small practices rely on us to be persistent in handling their collection.
BCA: Your insurance claim collection rate, as stated in your brochure, is 90%-98%. What are some of your most effective collection techniques?
GR: There are actually no secrets in our collection success. It is merely a "process" that we adhere to and continually improve. Cooperation and communication between all the parties involved in the process is important. Anyone of us is accessible to the doctors and staff daily by phone, fax, or email to answer questions and give them information regarding billing, coding and documentation guidelines for proper claims submission and processing.
BCA: What methods of advertising do you use for your business and which has proven to be your most successful?
GR: I have sent out brochures in the past but I have found that the best advertising is by referrals. The majority of my clients are from referrals.
BCA: The billing and coding industry is a dynamic business. How do you keep yourself and your staff on top of the changes?
GR: Easy, I devote a significant amount our income to education for all of us here. I furnish books, audiotapes, periodicals, etc. I insist that my billers and coders continue to take classes and attend seminars to keep current with the constant changes. Though it is expensive, there is no substitute for ongoing education and learning. It is why we are very good at what we do.
BCA: You offer a free assessment for potential clients. How successful is that for you in showcasing your services/business?
GR: Medical billing is a big headache for most doctors. They understand that healing is what they do best and should leave the medical billing to someone who knows more about it than they do. I use the free assessment to identify their current billing practices and to show them how much they could improve their collection and reduce their accounts receivables at little or no extra cost. I also use the free assessment to determine if we are the right billing service for the practice.
BCA: Do you have any advice to offer someone who is considering starting their own billing company?
GR: My advice is to be prepared to work very hard and to be braced for the lean times because initially you will make very little, if any, money. The start up cost is high. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you do your homework and ask lots of questions.
Grace Richardson is the owner of Provider Billing & Management Solutions, Inc located in Anaheim, CA. In business since 1999 providing billing and management services to multi-specialty providers, she is proud to say that still has the same clients since the business started. She can be contacted via www.webill4udoc.com.