Medical Billing as a “JOB-Working from home” Vs. “Business Ownership”
As someone who is very involved in the industry today, and follows all news and forums related to the medical billing industry, one constant question seems to continuously come up… “I have completed a course in medical billing and/or coding and I cannot seem to find a job.” Or I hear/see someone saying they have taken or want to take a course in medical billing and then work from home. Let’s take a realistic look of the probability and job market of a position as a work at home employee for a medical practice.
In today’s economy the unemployment rate is soaring. Businesses in general are making cut-backs in staff, salaries and benefits. Healthcare providers have been feeling these economic crunches for years with cut-backs in Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance carriers. The healthcare crisis in the U.S has been a long-standing issue among providers for quite some time. What benefits will a physician see by hiring someone (as employee) to oversee their revenue and cash-flow? NONE. In fact it will cost the provider MORE and here is why:
- Taxes – As an employer, the physician is still libel to pay both state and federal income tax
- Software/Business Supplies, Equipment – your employer (physician/provider) will be responsible for all equipment/supplies, such as computer, practice management software, internet connection, claim forms, coding books, postage, envelopes, phone lines and fax line. As your “Employer” he/she must legally own these supplies/equipment
- Liability & Accountability – When you go to work in an office there is a procedure in place, whether it’s punching a clock or just beginning your day at the place of your employment. Asking an employer to just “trust” that you will be there for the hours you are being paid for is asking for instant trust/faith. Add to that the liability that comes with the duties of a medical biller and patient privacy along with HIPAA rules and regulations and you have an employer who has now doubled his liability with someone NOT working within his office. In turn the employer (provider) needs to have additional insurance to protect themselves from errors & omissions.
- Continued education – This is an ever-changing industry with constant requirements for keeping up on both state and federal mandates in a highly regulated industry. As an employer, he/she would be responsible for such things as seminar attendance, continued education and certification up-keep, coding books, publications, etc.
Now, let’s take another approach and examine the benefits a provider/physician would see if they were to hire a “Third Party Billing Company”:
Everything above that was noted as being the reasons why a physician would NOT hire an employee to work from home…becomes MOOT.
As a business owner you would be responsible for all of the above items.
We cannot say there are NO work-at-home positions out there, because that wouldn’t be honest. But realistically the provider / physician who has an employee working from home MOST LIKELY:
- Has a history and good standing with the employee
- Has extenuating circumstances behind the reasons for allowing the employee to work at home
The fact of the matter is that these circumstances are few and far between.
What’s in it for me if I did start my own business?
GOOD Question, let’s now discuss the BENEFITS of being your OWN business, benefits that are not only for YOU as a business owner, but your “CLIENT” the healthcare provider by reducing his overhead costs, increasing his revenue, and at the same time MAKING YOU MONEY!
- Make your own hours – This is probably one of the best perks to being in business for yourself. You can take on as many clients as you want in order to maintain the hours you want to work, what’s better is that you can arrange your schedule around another job, a hobby, or your family.
- Be your own Boss – Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss? Enough said on that top topic!
- Set your own Goals – Whether you want to supplement a spouse’s income or grow your business, you get to decide this. If your goal is to be a single business owner/operation you can plan to take only as many clients as you want. If you want to grow your business to create more free time for yourself you can do that as well.
- Create your own Salary – Another great perk… you decide how much you want to make. You create your fees according to what you want to make and also keeping in mind your competitive market.
- Creative Freedom – I love this one. A medical billing clerk that works a 40 hour week usually does the same thing day in and day out. As a business owner you can be creative with your job description and the services your business will offer. To be competitive you can offer other services to healthcare providers that ultimately result in an increase in revenue for both YOURSELF and YOUR CLIENT! There are so many additional services a billing company can offer that will not only profit the healthcare provider but provide additional revenue and job stability to the business owner!
- Security/Stability – This perk will depend on YOU. If you create a goal and a good business plan for success and you maintain a good reputation with your clients, you will have security and along with security you will create the sense of accomplishment most successful business owners strive for. There will always be a need for doctors, people will always be sick and need medical care and with that you can build the success of your business around those securities.
To start your own business you need to first be committed, goal oriented, creative and yes there has to be start-up funds. The success of your business will be what you want out of it and what you put into it.
Now let’s be realistic. One thing I pride myself on is my honesty, pride, and integrity for this industry. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to write this MUCH needed article to hopefully shed some light on the truth behind some of those ad’s that advertise you can make money from home in your pj’s just as soon as you purchase their package! Does that mean all business opportunity packages are bad? No, not at all. A business opportunity can be exactly that… an “Opportunity” to be your own business and it can be profitable The key is to choose the right solution for you, and then going after your goal. Research is vital. Being realistic, and understanding how this business works FIRST is very important and hopefully we have dispelled one of the biggest misconceptions.
This is a great time to start a medical billing company!
I don’t consider myself an expert on economic or political issues; however I have taken an extreme interest in today’s politics given the economic situation we are in.
In the past several months I have spoken with many providers who are feeling the crunch of the economy, many of them cannot afford to add staff and some are now considering outsourced solutions, we are seeing an economic trend like we did in the late 80’s and early 90’s when the home based business market was booming. Its different this time, our overall economy is in danger; the healthcare industry is a mess as it’s been for years, but yet… IT REALLY IS A GREAT TIME TO BE A MEDICAL BILLING COMPANY!
By Linda Walker
Copyright 2009 All rights Reserved, article may not be reprinted w/out express written permission
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