Work From Home Medical Billing, Get the Real Scoop

work from home medical billingThere have been many work from home medical billing opportunities recently advertised. Are you strongly considering taking the steps to become a professional medical biller who practices from his/her own home? If so, this is the most important page you’ll ever read.

You may already have some suspicions about these programs. Do you wonder if these programs are scams? Well… in one way it’s true and in one way it’s not.

Let me tell you something directly – no doctor or medical agency would be willing to work with you unless you have some prior experience or education in the medical industry. That’s the state of affairs.

How can you trust a doctor to completely hand over all of his billing to you without you possessing the necessary credentials? If you were the doctor, would you do it?

Now… there are chances of persuading a certain doctor to work with you. But with most doctors, you’ll have a seriously hard time convincing the doctor to do business with you.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make these work from home medical medical billing and coding jobs work. If you’ve had no prior experience in the medical industry, there are just three things that prevent you from starting your own medical billing agency that operates from your home.

The three things are – Certification, Experience and Networking

1. Certification

I know that these work from home medical coding programs claim that you can start your own practice without any certification or degree. Well… it’s possible to do so. A real medical biller (one who works at a hospital or a similar organization) just needs a high school diploma and a degree to get started as a medical biller.

He usually receives on the job training. But his salary and growth prospects are to a significant extent limited by his education and the certification courses that he’s taken.

If you’ve done just a general degree that’s not related to medical at all, you don’t need to go back and complete your degree to get started. All you need to do is to pass the certification exams offered by accredited nonprofit organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

The AHIMA offers certification exams for medical coders and health information technicians of all backgrounds. There are different certification exams offered for different people with different levels of experience.

The most basic exam is the certified coding associate exam that consists of questions from ICD-9 and CPT codebooks. It’s for beginners that are looking to get started into the field of medical coding.

There are also other exams such as certified coding specialist and certified coding specialist physician whose syllabus consists of ICD 9-CM, CPT and HCPS Level II coding systems which are for medical billers with some practical work experience.

Completing a certification course is essential to the success of your work from home medical billing practice. You see… even organizations think twice before hiring medical coders who haven’t completed a certification. So if you have no practical experience, the best thing for you to do would be to complete the certification course.

2. Experience

The very next thing that you require before taking on clients full-time is work experience. You need to be able to deal with patients, doctors and insurance agencies without losing your head.

When you start your own practice with no prior experience, you’ll end up making significant mistakes that are difficult to correct which may tarnish your reputation. That’s why gaining some work experience is essential.

The best thing you can do is to intern at a medical billing agency or a doctor for sometime (where another medical biller or coder is already present to supervise you). We recommend undergoing training as an intern for at least one year. Your local chapter of the American Health Information Management Association will be able to put you in touch with companies that are looking for interns.

Start working as an intern in one of these organizations either part-time or full-time. They also offer part-time positions for interns. So if you have a separate day job, the best thing you can do is to work as an intern in these medical agencies as a medical coder or biller that works after hours.

Try to put in at least 1000 – 2000 hours of work as an intern before you’re ready to take on your own clients. It’ll teach you a lot of things about dealing with patients, insurance companies and doctors.

You’ll learn how to get the insurance companies to process unpaid claims quickly. There are lots of tricks in the game that you’ll be able to learn and master as an intern.

3. Network

There’s only one thing that’s going to determine the success of your work from home medical billing practice – your contacts. The people you’re in touch with on a day to day basis will be your main source of referrals.

People trust referrals more than any other recommendation medium. So make sure that you attend regular health information management events conducted by associations such as AHIMA and look for seniors that can guide you.

Make sure that you also create a complete marketing plan for attracting new clients and persuading them to work with you. Create your unique selling proposition, your offer and guarantee. These things matter.

4. Set up your own office

This isn’t absolutely necessary but I personally feel it’s critical for your success. Anyone in a work from home environment should set up a separate office within your house. This room should be used primarily as your office and little to nothing else.

You need a place that you can get in at 9 am in the morning and come out at 1 pm or 5 pm in the evening after completing all the tasks that you had during the entire day. Create a separate business phone and try hiring your own interns after you take in a couple of clients.

This will truly look like you mean business and you’ll begin to attract more and more clients with each passing day.

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