Founders Blog: Best Business for Retirees
Hi, I’m Patrick Phillips, CEO and Founder of American Business Systems. I’ve been speaking with some of our recent graduates from our live medical revenue management training workshop that we hold here in Dallas. And I get the feeling that many of them are at or nearing what we think of as retirement age. And they decided that retirement is just not what it’s touted to be. Some of them just can’t picture themselves, for example, just sitting around and spitting and whittling, you know what I mean?
So I did some research to find out if this is the way a lot of people feel. Look at this article from Independent Living, a newsletter I subscribe to. The editor, Lee Bellinger says, “A lot of highly successful people from Warren Buffett to Clint Eastwood certainly haven’t bought in to what the retirement industry is selling. They’re pursuing creative and productive endeavors well into their 80s, even though they could just as easily be resting on their laurels and collecting passive investment income.”
Folks ask me all the time why I’m still actively and passionately involved in this business. And I tell them that I can’t imagine sitting around doing nothing. I saw my grandfather, for example, do that once he retired, and he went downhill both mentally and physically in the last two years of his life. This is exactly what this quote from the Journal of Economic Perspectives says, look at this, “Retirement may lead to cognitive decline. For many people, retirement leads to a less stimulating daily environment.”
So if you’re already retired or getting close to thinking about retiring, you may wish to consider working again at something of course that you love, and are passionate about. As the old saying goes, if you’re doing something you enjoy doing, it can’t be defined as work. “Besides,” as Lee goes on to say, “Studies have found that one-third of all employees who take early retirement end up regretting their decision within six months. After a while, these early retirees get bored with an over abundance of free time.”
So here’s a suggestion, use your free time to look carefully into our business, the Best Business for Retirees. And you’ll be working with professionals in your area, physicians, who desperately need your help in making sure that they get paid from the insurance companies, their patients, and from Medicare and Medicaid.
Look at this quote, “42% of all physician practices that are currently doing their own billing are looking to outsource their billing in the next 12 months” according to Black Book Research. Folks we can show you how to become a medical revenue manager and tap into this billion-dollar industry. Check us out.
Founders Blog: Shortage of Doctors GOOD for Medical Billing?
Hello, I’m Patrick Phillips. I’m the Founder and CEO of American Business Systems. In this video, I want to share with you why a shortage of doctors is good news for the medical billing industry. I mean, this is the business that my company trains and supports people in, right? Billing for doctors. You see, our business is intricately tied to helping people learn how to do that through our live training workshop. So the question is, how can a doctor shortage be good news for the medical billing industry?
Well first, take a look at this quote from an article that was just published by FiercePracticeManagement. A new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges projects a continued gap over the next decade. With the supply of both primary and non-primary physicians expected to be outstripped by increased demand. Projections show a nationwide shortage of between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians by 2025. They go on to say overall population growth and the aging of the baby boomers will be the predominant cause of increased demand. While the increase in demand from newly insured individuals under the Affordable Care Act, that’s Obamacare by the way, suggests that the physician shortage is actually larger than it looks.
Now here’s why this is helping the medical billing industry. It’s simple. With fewer doctors to see all these baby boomers and Obamacare enrollees, the medical practices are going to be swamped. That’s right. All doctors are going to have to see that many more patients in their practice. This means that they and their staff are going to have to focus on their core competency, of course, which is seeing patients and helping people get well.
So here’s what this means for you. If you’re interested in getting into medical billing, learning how to start your own medical revenue management business, with our help of course, the doctors out there in your community will be forced to outsource anything in their office that doesn’t pertain to helping patients.
Think about it. The doctor has to bill someone to pay his staff and his overhead at the office and so forth and stay in practice. But that can be done by someone who’s been trained to do that billing. Someone who does it not just for one doctor but for a number of practices. An expert like you, that is, once you’ve gone through our training. You see, this is how this will help the doctor and his staff to stay focused on helping patients and not get bogged down in the minutia of billing the insurance companies and the government agencies and their patients.
And by the way, this can be done much more efficiently and inexpensively than the doctor paying his or her own staff to do it. Besides there’s all sorts of hidden costs to doing the billing in-house for a doctor. Things like hardware and software updates, user fees, online access fees, technical support, training, checking eligibility, follow up with the insurance companies. It goes on and on and on.
All of these things take away from the bottom line of a medical practice and adds to the headaches that the office manager and the doctor has to deal with every day. By the way this is why our business is booming right now. Our graduates from our training are signing up more doctors every month than in our entire 22-year history. Maybe it’s time you looked in to starting your own profitable medical billing business and becoming certified as a medical revenue manager through American Business Systems. Check us out.
Adam Phillips, President of ABS and Business Coach Eric Ogea reveal the top 5 ways to market to doctors. After 22 years, we’ve developed and perfected over a dozen different ways to market to doctors and medical providers, but this webinar will show you the best of the best.
Learn all about:
– Getting that Killer Referral from Networking
– Be the Expert with Lunch n Learns
– Rub Elbows with Doctors at Trade Shows
– Direct Contact: Be the Gatekeepers Best Friend
– Spread the Net Wide with Sales Reps
Recent graduates share thoughts on our training and support. Some people started the week skeptical, but ended up convinced after seeing what enormous potential there is with the services and support available to them.
Marketing a Billing Business Through Live Seminars
by Patrick Phillips
Originally published in Billing Coding Magazine
If you own a medical billing service and have tried just “cold-calling” on physician’s offices, you know that this is not very productive and it can really wear you down. Even mailing out letters and making phone calls can be expensive and exhausting.
The reason these marketing methods don’t work is that office managers and doctors have all sorts of people wanting a few minutes of their time to sell them everything from drugs to cotton balls. Some offices have six or more of these representatives in one day. You can imagine how jaded they are and how they can begin to view these sales calls as nothing more than interruptions to their day … no matter how much they may need the products or services being offered.
A Roomful of Prospective Clients
How would you like to have a roomful of office managers and/or physicians come to you and sit and listen to your spiel for 30 minutes or so? That’s right, a captive audience. Well, I have been teaching people how to do this for the last 20 years, and I have dozens of people who will tell you that Marketing a Billing Business Through Live Seminars will help build your billing service and add clients easier and faster than anything you could do.
You do this by holding “seminars” and “Lunch & Learns” (I’ll just call them “events” going forward). Now don’t worry, this is much easier than it sounds, once you know the secrets I am going to share. Even if you have tried this in the past and it didn’t work, I guarantee that if you do these right, following my tips in this article, you can’t help but get new clients on a regular basis. As many as you want, as often as you want.
First, you need to understand the principle of Trust. You may have heard that people like to do business with people they “know, like and trust.” This is true. The problem with most marketing methods, including cold-calling, is that they don’t know you. By default, they don’t like you and certainly don’t trust you. This is just human nature and there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, this is how we have survived as a species for thousands of years.
But, since you have not built this Trust with the people you are marketing to they are not going to even give you a chance to get to tell your story of how your services can save them time and money. This is where “events” can make you trustworthy.
The only difference between the two, by the way, is the number of people who are in attendance and how the event is promoted. We will get into the details of both in a moment, but let me start by telling you why this works so well.
How to Become “The Expert”
It is a fact that everyone wants to do business with “The Expert” in any field. If I am making a financial investment, I want to deal with the person who I perceive as having the most knowledge and understanding of that particular investment. I don’t want to buy stocks from someone who is an amateur or beginner, even if that person is my brother-in-law. If I am needing an operation, I don’t want the cheapest surgeon I can find. I want the best, right?
Well, the same is true when people are looking for an appliance or a computer. You want to deal with someone who seems to know more than other salespeople about that particular washing machine or laptop. The Expert.
Now, how does this apply to doing seminars? Well, when you get up in front of a crowd of people (or even a handful) and, using slides or handouts, go over material that is new to them, you are The Expert. In fact, if you know just a little bit more than the average person about a particular subject, in their eyes, you become The Expert in that subject.
I used to teach computer classes, and I sometimes had to learn the software I was teaching the weekend before the class began. I would go to a book store and buy a couple of books on how to use that software, and, on Monday I would teach the class. That evening in my hotel room, I would read the next few chapters in the books and teach that on Tuesday. I was literally just one chapter ahead of the class. But, in their eyes, I was all-knowing and The Expert in that software application.
Knowing More Than Your Audience
Now, I have just given you the secret to success in doing seminars and L&Ls. Except, today there isn’t even a need to buy books on some subjects. The Internet opens up a world of knowledge on any given subject, and, with just a few hours of research and reading on the subject, you can know more than 99% of your audience about that subject.
So, let’s say you are going to do an event on “How to Prepare for a HIPAA Audit”. There is more than enough material on the new HIPAA laws on cms.gov and other websites. And, there are articles in Billing & Coding Magazine, and others, as well as email newsletters from various organizations to make you an “expert” in this subject.
Remember, you only have to know a little bit more than your audience and you become The Expert. Even if you don’t know the answers to all questions on the topic, you can always tell them you can send them a detailed answer via email. Then, just do some Googling and find what you need to share with them.
Topics for Your Events
Here are some topic ideas for your events: Learning ICD–10, HIPAA Compliance, Patient Collections, Cleaning Up Aged Accounts, Using Modifiers, Medicare Audits, What to Look for in Practice Management Software, Electronic Medical Records, The Affordable Care Act.
Ok, you’ve done your research and have come up with some PowerPoint slides outlining your topic. Here’s the million dollar question: how do you get people to come to you, and where do you hold your event?
Finding A Sponsor
If you are doing a “seminar”, you will need to find a Sponsor for your event. This could be a hospital, an assisted living facility, a hospice, a local chamber, a bank or any facility that has a conference room large enough for your event. I have held seminars in bank conference rooms that hold only a dozen or so, and I have held seminars at hospitals with rooms large enough for 50. I held one event in a doctor’s waiting room that we crammed 40 people into. The main thing you are looking for is not just the room to hold the event but someone who is willing to Sponsor the event. This can make all the difference in the world as to how many people show up at the event.
First, by offering to do a seminar, you are helping the facility. Most assisted living homes, for example, love to have medical personnel show up at their facility, as it is a chance for them to show off their facility and, hopefully, get physicians to refer their patients to them. The same is true of the other groups I mentioned earlier. They all want traffic. And you can provide that traffic by holding an event at their facility. Give them a reason to want to sponsor you. What will it do for their facility? How will it benefit them?
Promoting Your Event
Ask the sponsor to do a mailing or to hand out or post flyers in various places to help promote the event. Most of the time they will even provide food for the event if you simply ask them.
By the way, this is another secret of getting medical providers and staff to attend an event. Food. Free food. And if you schedule your event around lunch time it makes it easy for them to justify taking time to come to your event. They have to eat lunch, so why not get educated on the topic you are promoting as they eat?
Even if you have to provide the food, it’s a very small investment in marketing to build your business. As you know one good billing account can earn you thousands of dollars per year in ongoing revenue. Even if you held three events and only signed up one new client, wouldn’t it be worth the time and money spent? Consider the lifetime value of a client … and the answer is always yes!
Getting Everything Just Right
Most facilities have a projector and will allow you to use it. If not you can rent one from an audiovisual company. Always look at the actual room you will be using and make sure you can set up your laptop and projector to show your slides on a wall (or screen if they have one).
Make sure to plan your event several weeks ahead of the actual date as you want time to do a mailing to local providers yourself. The day before your event, have someone make phone calls to everyone you mailed a flyer to and remind them of the event. Have people RSVP to an e-mail address so you know how many to expect. Plan on only 50 to 60% actually showing up. At least this has been my experience and that of others that I’ve taught this to.
You will want to prepare handouts of your slides or other marketing pieces to give to everyone attending. And of course be sure to have plenty of brochures and business cards on hand as well.
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas on how Marketing a Billing Business can help your new billing business. Here are a couple of books that will give you some further ideas:
- How to Develop and Promote Successful Seminars and Workshops by Howard Shenson
- Marketing with Speeches and Seminars by Miriam Otte.
You can find these on Amazon.com or in any major bookstore.
It’s medical billing management at it’s finest.
On this week’s webinar, Eric Ogea and Patrick Phillips give a thorough examination of the day to day in a medical billing office and share some insider secrets with attendees on how EASY it is to help doctors and make great money at the same time! It’s medical billing management at it’s finest.
Many Doctors aren’t happy with their current systems and processes and need help surviving in the changing healthcare landscape.
Join Patrick Phillips, Founder and CEO, as he shows you the ways American Business Systems can help you get all the doctor clients you want by starting your business in Medical Revenue Management.
We’ll show how to create a WIN for you and for others by launching a business specializing in helping Doctors thrive in the complexities of modern day medicine.
If you’ve guessed it’s a challenge to learn how to sell medical billing services to doctors, you’d be right. They are busy and they are approached by various representatives trying to sell them something on almost a daily basis.
By Patrick Phillips, Founder and CEO
American Business Systems
Originally Published in BC Magazine June 2014
One of the reasons they are hard to engage is that they are simply practicing what they know: triage. As you know, this is used in medicine to help determine the priority of patients’ treatment, based on the severity of their condition.
In determining who to speak to or what to concentrate on in their practice, physicians prioritize based on their perceived need at the moment. If they feel they need to speak to a financial advisor they will set an appointment to do so. If they are looking at new equipment, they will agree to meet with a medical device rep.
But if they are presently doing their own insurance claims filing in-house, using their own staff, they may not see a need to meet with someone who is offering an outsourced solution.
And even if they are presently having their billing done by an outside company, they may feel that their billing and cash-flow are under control and, again, have no need to research other solutions.
However, as the founder of the nation’s largest network of independent medical billing companies, I see doctors signing up with our Licensees continually. The question remains: how to sell medical billing services to doctors if they are happy with their present billing situation?
One word: positioning. If you want to gain the trust and business of a doctor, you must learn how to position yourself in such a way that they want to do business with you.
For example, they may think their revenue cycle is what it should be because they get checks every week from payers and patients. So why talk to anyone about their cash-flow when it seems to be fine?
What they don’t realize is that their revenue may only be a fraction of what it could be. Maybe they do get checks on a regular basis (after all, they must have some cash-flow or they would not be able to stay in practice); but is their revenue maximized?
Are they collecting every penny that is due them from their payers and their patients? And would they know this with their present billers?
Are their billers using technology that is dated and does not have all the features that allows them to maximize their revenue?
Are their billers trained professionals whose sole focus every day is collecting the absolute most for the practice?
Here’s where positioning comes in: you, as a professional biller, must place yourself and your company in front of the practice as the “expert” in medical revenue management. You must be the individual and the company they think of when they have doubts about whether they are collecting the maximum amount from payers and patients.
And this is why it is important to realize the physicians’ tendency to triage. They obviously do not think that their revenue is hurting or they would focus on fixing it. Their entire life is focused on helping patients get well. Their training, their education, their internship were all focused on patient treatment. And most of them had very little, if any, training in business and managing their practice and reading financials. So the revenue cycle is not at the top of their list of things to focus on today.
So how do you position yourself as the “expert” who can increase their revenue and/or cut their costs? How do you keep your name at the “top-of-mind” for this practice so that when they do decide they need to make a change in the way they handle their billing, they think of you and your company?
We’ve have been teach people how to sell medical billing services to doctors over the 20+ years we have been in business. A dozen or so methods that have been tested and perfected over the years. These are proven ways to position you and your company with medical practices so that you are the one they look to for solutions to their cash-flow challenges.
First, you must position yourself as the Educator. This means that you must provide ongoing education to the practice in the way of newsletters, handouts and direct mail pieces.
Any news item you find on the Internet relating to healthcare can be copied and pasted or forwarded via a link to the web page.
Here are some websites that you should visit often to find relevant materials for your educational materials:
On Facebook, search for “physicians news network”
And, of course, this publication’s website:
Many of these sites have email newsletters you can sign up for and whitepapers you can download.
Anything can be shared nowadays as long as you give credit and provide a link to the website, as this provides more traffic for the author of the article or the publication.
Next, you must continually touch base with the practice/physician via email, direct mail and personal contact. Giving something of value with your name and contact information is crucial to keeping your name at the top of their mind.
These could be emailed newsletters, reprinted articles, marketing postcards, educational flyers and ebooks you have created using your word processor and saving as a PDF file.
And don’t forget the wide variety of customized promotional materials available that are specifically for the medical industry.
Try these websites, but be sure to compare prices as some items are available on several sites and are the exact same items:
Remember, people don’t buy anything when you are ready to sell… they buy when they are ready to buy. And they are not ready to buy until they feel a need for what you are offering.
Just as the doctor won’t recommend a medication or therapy until they have determined exactly what is wrong with you, you must find out where the gaps are in their revenue before offering a solution. You can do this by asking a series of questions that will give you the data you need to make a proposal.
Questions you can ask could include:
- How many hours each week are devoted by all staff members to doing your billing?
- How many insurance claims are you filing per week?
- What is the total dollar amount billed each month to insurance companies?
- How much, on average, is collected per month from insurance companies?
- What is your average percentage of claims filed that are rejected for one reason or another (national average is 34%)?
- How many days, on average, does it take for payments to be received from payers?
You can get a free copy of a typical Practice Analysis emailed to you (see note at end of article).
By gathering information from the office manager or physician, you will be able to see where their gaps are in their revenue and propose solutions based on what you know you can do for them in improve their situation.
Another way you can position yourself in the medical community is to find a medical association in your area and join it as a “supporting member”. You don’t have to be a medical doctor to join many medical societies. They have a special membership just for individuals and companies that want to support the organization. People like financial advisors, attorneys, CPAs, medical equipment salespeople and others who provide products and services to the medical community, like you!
The membership fee will vary, but it could be the best investment you could make in your marketing to physicians. Imagine being at a conference or a dinner and rubbing elbows with doctors and their spouses. How to sell medical billing services to doctors? You get to know them as people. You will be on the “inside” and, yes, at one point, they will ask about you and you will be able to share with them what you do for doctors. They love people who support their association or society and the medical community, and they will consider you a part of their inner circle.
Don’t ignore the power of being a part of a tribe. I have seen some of my students get billing clients just by joining and attending these functions. Clients that they have had for years, with continuing revenue for their company.
In summary, you need to start thinking of yourself, and your company, as a solution to the challenges that doctors are facing in the era of Obamacare. They are scared and many of them are being absorbed by large hospitals.
This is not what they want. They want to be independent owners of their own private practice. But the reality of lower Medicare reimbursements, higher rejection rates on their insurance claims and higher operating costs cause many of them to fall for the lure of being an “employee” for some large medical group.
You are in a unique position. You can be the savior of the private practice in your area. All you need to do is look at your higher calling and position yourself as the knight on the white horse that can save them from the changes coming in healthcare in the next few years. You can be the Expert they want to do business with.
If you would like a copy of the Practice Analysis, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Analysis” in the subject of the email.
Adam Phillips, president of ABS and Eric Ogea, head of R&D explain how it’s possible to start a low cost medical business in only 5 days.
The live training is only the beginning you see. We’ll put you on a fast track to getting your first client in about 30-60 days after the live training. You will continue your education through out private support and training website.
The funny thing is, after our 5 day class, you will know more than about 80% of office managers (and doctors!) about revenue cycle management!
As Founder and CEO of the nation’s largest network on independent medical billing companies, I have seen the future for the medical billing industry and it is bright!
By Patrick Phillips, Founder/CEO of American Business Systems, LLC
Originally Published in BC Advantage Magazine, August-September, 2013
It’s true that there are a number of changes in the healthcare industry coming in the next few years that will be a challenge to those involved in the medical billing industry. But the opportunities for growth and profits outshines every challenge. Here’s why:
Doctors need to focus on patient care, not the business side of their practice.
With the influx of 30 million Americans who did not have insurance but now do (ACA), doctors and their staff are hard-pressed to manage the patient well-care and keep up with all the changes in coding and billing.
With hundreds of new patients, the doctor and her staff will need to spend their time caring for those new patients, not figuring out how to use new technology to get their money.
They will realize, at some point, that they are trying to run two businesses: the business of patient care and the business of billing and collections. The smart doctors will realize that it makes more sense to focus on their core competency, which is helping patients get well and leave the billing to experts who work with insurance companies and government agencies on a daily basis for multiple clients.
Trying to keep up with the advances in medicine and medical technology is challenging enough. Keeping up with new cloud-based practice management and electronic health record systems is something best left to those who specialize in this arena, not just for one practice, but for multiple practices.
Private practices are struggling to fight off acquisitions and mergers.
As more and more hospitals buy out private practices and larger practices merge with smaller practices, the doctor who wants to stay independent and run their own private practice are going to have to cut costs and be more efficient in building and maintaining their patient base.
These doctors don’t want to become employees of a hospital, nor do they want to limit their income or lose control of their workday and duties. Those who have given in to the pressure to be absorbed by the hospitals and large groups are realizing that they are no longer in control and do not wish to be told what to do, when to work and how much time they can spend with their patients or what procedures that can provide. A recent survey of 2,094 physicians who own their own practices found that 58% of solo practitioners are not looking to sell, according to the survey’s sponsors, CareCloud and QuantiaMD. They value their autonomy and long-term relationships with patients and want to maintain their practices.
Richard Fu, an Accenture strategy consultant, says “Independent practitioners can weather this change in market pressures by enhancing their value proposition to patients. They need to focus on the core, personal, attentive care provided to each patient while enhancing their practice with modern technologies expected from large companies.”
The only way some will be able to survive and stay independent is to turn the billing and collections over to an outside firm who can provide these services at a set percentage of the money actually collected. This is motivation that the doctor’s own staff does not have, since the billing company’s revenue is dependent on maximizing the collections for the practice.
The looming shortage of doctors will force practices to find time for seeing more patients.
The American Association of Medical Colleges estimates that by 2015 the shortage of doctors across all specialties will quadruple to more than 60,000. By 2025 that number will reach a staggering 130,000.
As mentioned earlier, I am pleased that 30 million Americans have health insurance for the first time. But health insurance is pretty useless if you can’t find a doctor to treat you and your family. What does this mean for those physicians who are in practice?
Simple: they must spend all their time focused on seeing and taking care of these additional patients. Period. There will be no time to spend on the “business side” of their practice, and they will need to outsource this side of their practice to specialists who keep up with the changes in the medical billing industry and who interact with insurance companies and Medicare and Medicaid on a regular basis.
This is why I recommend that billing company owners position themselves as Medical Reimbursement Specialists or Medical Revenue Consultants. They must be more than just “medical billers”. In today’s fast-changing world, they need to figure out how to provide more than just “claims filing” for medical providers. They need to transform their business in such as way as to be able to solve the entire cash-flow of a medical practice. They need to make alliances with providers of other revenue cycle solutions to plug the leaks in the practices’ cash-flow from start to finish.
Physicians are struggling to maintain their income and stay in practice.
A survey of 699 doctors by the Doctor Patient Medical Association asked doctors about their current financial situation. Two out of three responded they were “just squeaking by” or “in the red” financially.
In another survey by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 600 doctors found four in 10 doctors reported their take-home pay decreased from 2011 to 2012 and more than half said the pay cut was at least 10 per cent. 48% of all doctors believed their income would drop again in 2012 as a result of the health care law.
So, what does that mean for billing companies? It means your role in helping doctors manage their revenue cycle is even more important than ever. Every aspect of the revenue cycle should be examined to see if there are “leaks” and auxiliary services that can help with patient payments, collection of bad debt, a review of the codes being used, pre-audits for HIPAA and Medicare violations should be offered to the practice to insure maximum cash-flow.
If you are positioning yourself and your company to provide this type of help to physicians, you will not only help many practices stay independent and profitable, but you will insure that your company will prosper and grow and that you will have a bright future in the medical billing industry.Older Articles »