5 minutes with...Jackie Fowler

How did you get into medical billing?
Wanda and I have worked for insurance companies both commercial and federal over the last 10 years. Unfortunately, the job market in Jacksonville is not very stable. We continued to get laid off either by a reduction in force or company relocation.  We are good at what we do and wanted to use our knowledge and skills in this field and medical billing seemed the next logical step.

What do you like most and least about what you do?
Honestly, it's too soon to know. Although we have been preparing our business for over a year, we just incorporated last December. At this stage, we would have to say selling our services has been our most challenging task. Although we thoroughly researched the industry and how we could fit in, it never occurred to us that we would need to be so aggressive with our marketing; we know, not too smart on our part, but a lesson well learned! We have given a few presentations and each meeting has given us a better understanding of our prospective client's needs. We have noticed their concerns are basically the same with price being foremost on their minds.

What made you decide to start your own company?
I used to own my own company several years ago and Wanda has several years of supervisory experience. We feel our combined knowledge will help us become successful in our own business.

What are the benefits of having a partner? 
We both have a vested interest in the success of our business. Although we have traveled almost the same employment path, we have had very different job responsibilities and our problem solving skills are approached from different viewpoints. We don't finish each others sentences yet, but we continue to be of like minds and appreciate what each of us brings to the table.

What qualifications do you have and what courses have you done in the past?
We knew our insurance background was a good solid foundation, but we also needed to build upon our limited knowledge of billing contracts, A/R reporting and the laws surrounding medical billing. We became certified in coding (CPC-P), HIPAA, and Billing and have several CMS certificates. Our certifications are from Valdosta State University, Medical-Billing Course.com and CEU credit classes with CMS. We also worked as interns to get practical experience.

Do you prefer to bill for a particular specialty? 
Not yet. Our insurance background includes the ability to review all types of claims for accuracy before processing. We are familiar with and have processed E/M claims, surgery/multiple surgery claims, inpatient claims, rehabilitative therapy claims, etc. We know some are harder to code than others but we've taken on the challenge.

What are you doing to market your business?
We thought our marketing would be minimal after all "we have an insurance background". We were the people who paid and denied claims, researched and resolved appeals and verified the coding. But we found that the physicians didn't understand how this knowledge would benefit them. 
So we changed our strategy, we make cold calls, send mailers, have designed a brochure, and just published our first newsletter. We have also become involved in our community, joined billing associations and the BBB. 

We tell everyone we know what we're doing, especially those who cater to the medical community.

We firmly believe that we have prepared ourselves to be successful in this industry! Check back with us in a couple of months and we'll let you know what worked and what didn't.

Jackie Fowler is the President and CEO of MCR - Medical Claims Resources, Inc - a new third party medical billing agency located in Jacksonville, FL. Ph: 888-762-1150 or w: www.mcrbilling.com.