July 15, 2009
5 Minutes with
BC Advantage (BCA): Tell us about your background in this industry. Michelle Rimmer (MR): My career in medical billing industry began as a Credit and Collections Clerk at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Through the years, I have worked as a medical biller at various medical offices, as a supervisor at a medical billing company, as a home-based medical billing business owner, as an instructor at 3 colleges, a textbook author, and most recently formed the Professional Medical Billers Association.
BCA: How did you manage motherhood while still maintaining (and growing) your own medical billing business? MR: When I started my medical billing company, I was pregnant with my second daughter. When she was born, I would do my billing and make phone calls to insurance companies while she napped. I was very fortunate to have a close relationship with all my clients and was always welcome to bring my children with me to pick up the weekly work. I would bring my infant daughter, car seat and all into the office with me. Office staff would dote on her while I spoke with my clients. During my hospital stay for the birth of my third daughter, one of my clients, during his hospital rounds, stopped in my room to give his well wishes, and believe it or not-gave me the week's billing!
BCA: You have said that teaching is your "true calling" and that it never felt like a job to you. Tell us about the good (and if any, not so good) moments of teaching. MR: Teaching medical billing is my passion. When you are living your passion, you will never consider it a 'job'. The most wonderful moment of teaching for me is when a student 'gets it'; when everything comes together for them and it is their 'Aha' moment! If I had to pick a 'bad' teaching experience, I would say it is when students don't take advantage of the knowledge that is presented to them.
BCA: In 2008 you started your own association (PMBA) offering online courses. What made you start the association and how did your family react? MR: After realizing that teaching medical billing was my 'true calling', I often dreamed of one day offering my own online courses. I already had entrepreneurship under my belt, so the thought of starting a new company didn't scare me. I remembered back in 1997, I attended monthly meetings for home-based medical billing business owners. These meetings were awesome; we would network with one another, talk about what services to offer, what fees to charge, potential client meetings, etc. In March of 2008, I knew what I had to do; I left my teaching position at the college and started the Professional Medical Billers Association! My husband has always supported me-he knows there is no stopping me if I set my mind on something! My three girls are supportive as well-my eleven year old will ask me every day when she walks in the door from school and ask " Mom, good day at the PMBA?!" They see my enthusiasm and passion I show for running the PMBA and hopefully, they too will find their passions and truly live their dreams.
BCA: What are the benefits of being self-employed and in charge of the association? MR: There are several benefits for me of being self-employed: I run things the way I think they should be run; I am home when the kids get home from school, and I don't have the conflicts involved that can sometimes happen with co-workers in the work-place.
BCA: What do you feel makes your association/classes stand out from others that are offered in the market today? MR: I pride myself on the personalization I give to the students enrolled in my on-line courses. Prior to enrolling in my courses, they researched other programs and ultimately chose mine because it felt 'right' for them. My association is one of many; Students and medical billers can benefit from each association they belong to, as we all have different experiences we can bring to our members. My students and members are very important to me. If I can make a difference in the learning experience of my students and get them passionate about medical billing, then I have done a good thing; if I can help my members in any way whether it be giving them advice or assisting them with their marketing material for their home-base start-up, then I'll do it. My members know I am here for them!
BCA: What have you been most proud of throughout your career? MR: By far, the proudest moment in my career to date has been the publication of my first textbook, Medical Billing 101. It is a great feeling to walk into a major bookstore chain and see your book on the Medical Reference shelf!
BCA: Any times that you would consider low points? MR: Hindsight is 20/20; I gave up two of my clients after the birth of my third daughter. I was feeling overwhelmed and thought I couldn't handle all the work with having three kids. Today, I now know that, indeed, I could have done it; blame it on the hormones!
BCA: Where do you see yourself in 5 / 10 years time? MR: Doing exactly what I am doing now, only with more students and members!
BCA: Any advice for someone thinking of starting a home based billing business? MR: Do your homework! Speak with other home-based medical billing business owners for advice. In my opinion, you should have billing experience before marketing to get clients! It is very likely that a potential client will ask about your billing experience. Be patient and persevere; don't get discouraged if you don't land your first client within a month of marketing! Be unique and stand out amongst others!
BCA: Anything else to add MR: Learn everything there is to learn about the specialty you are billing for, including how to properly decipher an EOB! If you are passionate about medical billing, there is no way you will not be a great biller!
PMBA One-yr membership + CPMB exam Discount
BC Advantage subscribers receive a 25% discount off membership to the Professional Medical Billers Association and the CPMB (Certified Professional Medical Billers Exam) Combo.
PMBA One-yr membership + CPMB exam discount for BC Advantage subscribers....$73.50
Michelle is the president of the Professional Medical Billers Association, LLC. She founded this organization in 2008 to coincide with her online medical billing training website www.learnmedicalbillingonline.com
Michelle joined the BC Advantage editorial board in August, 2008 and writes a monthly billing tip for the BC Advantage magazine.
In October, 2008, Michelle reformulated her previous medical billing business, Shore Medical Billing, and opened her new company, Shore Medical Consulting Services; a consulting and training service company for New Jersey medical providers.
She is the author of Medical Billing 101 and Coding Basics: Understanding Medical Collections; both published by Cengage Delmar Learning.
Michelle has over 18 years experience in the medical billing industry and has taught numerous courses and seminars at 3 colleges in the state of New Jersey. You can email Michelle at Michelle@pmbausa.com.