Deborah Rieser founded Spectrum Medical Billing Services in Anchorage, Alaska 15 years ago to make extra money to help with paying the family’s bills. Today, she owns a thriving medical billing service with a team of “twelve lovely ladies”—as she likes to refer to them—that services clients nationwide. Rieser originally selected EZClaim’s medical billing software platform—because of its pricing structure—to use for her medical billing service.
Over the years, since her original purchase, she has upgraded to each new EZClaim version, which adding new features and efficiencies. Recently, she has made the transition to EZClaim Cloud, and continues to use it exclusively today.
With team members nationwide, Rieser prides herself on training her billers on properly classifying billing for medical offices so that there are minimal insurance denials. She is very particular about this since one of the reasons Deborah began billing was the insurance qualification struggles she had for her daughter with Autism. So, accurate billing is ‘personal’.
Recently, we found time to interview Rieser about her start in the industry, the ups and downs of being a business owner, and what hard-fought expertise she has gained that might help others considering to start their own medical billing service.
EZCLAIM: When did you get into the medical billing industry and why? RIESER: “I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I had an orchid business out of our house. Then my daughter, who was born with Autism, started working with an Occupational Therapist (OT), and they came to me to help with billing. I thought about it, and after a few weeks, I took it on. That was back in 2005.
“At that time, my daughter had over 75 volunteers and therapists in the community work with her from age three to age five, and had 50-60 hours a week of therapy. Today, she is a sophomore in university, has a boyfriend, is driving her car, and is thriving. From all of that, I have always felt the need to give back to the community for all their help. So, I used my business to take on other Pediatric, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy clients, as well as, using my experience to help patients take care of their billing needs and get their bills paid by insurance.”
EZCLAIM: What are you passionate about when it comes to billing? RIESER: “For me, the biggest thing that I am passionate about is seeing my clients [medical offices] getting paid from insurance claims. I also enjoy helping patients get properly classified during medical visits, so claims are accepted. I have learned a lot from the mistakes and errors that have led to denied claims. From my experience, I can help medical practices observe their approach to patients’ needs so that services qualify when billing insurance companies. Being able to offer that to my clients is very satisfying.”
EZCLAIM: What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome? RIESER: “Originally, we grew word-of-mouth. I didn’t even want a website at first, but now I do have one. Going from one client to 65 is challenging because as your clients grow, your staff grows. Recently, I lost a client. You then have to decide what you’re going to do with your staff. The hardest part is that, for a business owner, your business consistently goes up and down. That fluctuation can be stressful. For me, I deal with that by going outdoors. My husband and I will go for a walk in nature and that will help relieve my stress.”
EZCLAIM: What advice would you offer others in the billing industry that have similar experiences? RIESER: “If you’re starting your own business, make sure it’s one you love. Know that there will always be highs and lows. Also, be sure to price yourself accordingly. You can’t go too high or people will look elsewhere.
“I do want to step back and highlight that some of my billing practices only do 2-3 claims a week, and that’s why I love EZClaim. The price of the software. When I was growing, I was working on EZClaim “Advance,” which is being retired. So, when I started looking around at other software providers, they were billed on a ‘per provider cost.’ Fortunately, EZClaim “Cloud” billed based on the number of concurrent users, which worked for me.”
EZCLAIM: How has your relationship with AMBA (American Medical Billing Association) benefitted you? RIESER: “I just joined last year in 2019, thanks to EZClaim and Dan Loch’s referral. I love that group. I joined their Facebook group because they have very useful information for us billers. I recommended that my team members join as well. They are good at supporting US-based companies and put the focus on supporting the group.”
EZCLAIM: What would you tell people who are wondering if EZClaim Cloud is right for them? RIESER: “The transition to EZClaim Cloud was easy. I was worried about the providers and the tax ID’s, but it all was very smooth. I would add that customer support was very helpful. As daunting as moving things over felt, it was very smooth. I attribute that to the planning and support.”
EZCLAIM: What would you say would be a strength of someone who is good at billing and coding? RIESER: “It is important to be a very good communicator, professional, out-going, and enjoy what you do. One must be able to communicate with providers over denials, success, celebrations, and always keep talking with the staff and the providers. Also, always try to put yourself in the patients’ shoes by offering patience and compassion. Lots of times patients don’t understand their benefits and why they are denied. So, try to explain in layman’s terms. They understand better and appreciate that. It ends up being a good connection with the patient, and benefits you as the biller, too.”
EZCLAIM: Final thoughts? RIESER: “I am grateful to EZClaim for their services. As a business owner, you have to monitor expenses and things can add up fast. So, I am thankful for EZClaim Cloud and its pricing structure. That has helpedSpectrum Medical Billing Services to grow and thrive.”
[ The above answers were paraphrased as closely as possible to the original answers given by Deborah Rieser on November 25, 2020 ].
ABOUT EZCLAIM: EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, e-mail them, or call a representative today at 877.650.0904.
It IS POSSIBLE to improve medical billing revenues, and here are a few ways to do just that.
Healthcare practitioners, whether established or just starting out, have many overwhelming tasks: Managing a practice; Seeing patients; Working to staying up-to-date on administrative tasks; The whole host of compliance at the federal, state, and local level; and Overseeing the billing.
One of these that can lead to loss of revenue is not properly managing the medical billing, which can also lead to HIPAA fines and rejected claims. However, there is a solution: a medical billing system that balances the budget and optimizes revenues of medical practice.
EZClaim, an expert in the medical billing software market since 1997, provides a solution that improves the efficiency of an office’s billing process in many ways. The following are the primary reasons.
Reduce Coding Errors Medical procedures become codes, codes become claims, and claims become revenue. Any error in this process can make claims to be denied, your workload can be increased, and revenue can be lost. To help in avoiding errors, it is essential to use billing software that offers the easiest implementation and access to descriptive diagnosis and treatment codes. EZClaim’s medical billing solution offers ease-of-use in coding, billing, and strong partnerships with Clearinghouses which act as an additional ‘safety net’ for catching errors.
Administrative Support Most medical practices are a small team of people tackling a wide range of tasks, so when one cannot understand the function of the billing software, accessing reliable support is very important. EZClaim prides itself on having dedicated support experts available, and that was how the company was established. Founder and President Al Nagy has said, since day one, “We are a support company that happens to sell medical billing software.”
Maintain Industry Compliance It is important to recognize that industry compliance and a practice’s revenue go hand-in-hand. Filing and batching inaccurate and non-HIPAA compliant claims can often be traced back to an outdated healthcare revenue management system. Conquering these tasks requires a focus on multiple fronts: A properly trained billing team, clear office procedures, patient payment policies, and a reliable medical billing company. These are all ways to help buttress against non-compliance and rejected claims.
Streamline Workflow Recently, a study was done that showed almost 80% of medical bills contain errors. These incorrect medical claims often end up as lost revenue originally, not to mention the additional cost of resubmissions and collections. One of the best ways to resolve this problem for your practice is to make use of both well-trained, experienced billers and coders, combined with a competent medical billing solution that aids in catching these errors. EZClaim software features a library of standard validation, the ability to add custom validation, and integrates with Alpha II for full claim scrubbing.
Follow up Errors will and do occur, so establishing a system for follow-up on all denials will close the loop and protect against lost revenue. Being consistent with the follow-up process, and having a medical billing solution that tracks these things will help close that gap.
Collections Finally, probably the most important aspect that optimizes a practice’s revenue is to get paid. Portals and payment collection systems definitely help with this, but having collections integrated into the medical billing system is, of course, the best. EZClaim has pain-free payment processing integrated into their solution, called EZClaimPay. It solves all the problems associated with payment processing: Bank deposits, reconciliation, statements, changing fees, and ‘finger-pointing’ when there is a problem. EZClaimPay’s robust platform will greatly increase a practice’s collections success, and improve their revenue.
ABOUT EZCLAIM: EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support, and can help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit their website, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call a representative today at 877.650.0904.
A recent medical billing webinar on Telehealth that EZclaim hosted is now available to review.
On April 30th, EZClaim hosted a Telehealth Updates Webinar for our clients with guest speaker Sandy Giangreco Brown – Director of Coding and Revenue Integrity Health Care at CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP
We had one of the largest viewing audiences 101 active attendees in the session. Sandy shared informative billing codes and direct links to update hands-on information for billers actively coding Telehealth sessions. For those of you who missed it, we have provided on our website the recorded sessionezclaim.com/webinars and can provide the presentation slides too! Just send a request to: email@example.com
We continue to get views of this presentation and look forward to hosting more hot topics with the CLA Team.
With the onset of COVID-19 came a great opportunity for clinics and hospitals to offer Telehealth and Communication Technology Based (CTSB) services. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, have provided many updates to the available services that can be provided and billed to the patients to help practices not only stay afloat financially but also and most importantly, to keep their staff safe and provide excellent care to their patients!
There were new guidelines released even after this webinar on 4/30/2020 (which can be found here – https://www.cms.gov/files/document/se20016.pdf, and now includes audio only Telehealth for services such as psychotherapy, tobacco cessation and medical nutrition counseling as well as diabetes self-management training. CMS is also increasing the payments for the Audio Only services from $14-$41 nationally to $46-$110.
As of April 30, 2020, in order to bill Telehealth, RHCs are now required to bill the G2025–CG–95 from January 27, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Then on July 1, 2020 to the end of the PHE, they will be billing the G2025 with an optional 95 modifier, per CMS SE20016 Medicare Learning Network Transmittal.
FQHCs will need to report three (3) codes for their Telehealth Services:
G0467 (or other appropriate FQHC specific payment code)
99214–95 (or other FQHC PPS Qualifying Payment Code)
CLA is on the frontlines and closely monitoring and analyzing activities related to Telehealth and other virtual health regulations
As your practice adjusts to Telehealth going forward, EZclaim’s medical billing solution can help you simplify patient billing and help you get paid for Telehealth visits. (Our recent medical billing webinar on Telehealth may just help you better understand the current situation).
Written by Stephanie Cremeans and Allison Close of EZClaim
What kind of device are you reading this on? Perhaps on your computer in the office or a laptop at the beach. Maybe a tablet or even a smartphone. Let’s think about that smartphone – isn’t it crazy how much it allows us to do? Anything from calls, texts, email, browsing the web, games and even conduct business online. Now take a minute to rewind. Do you remember your first cell phone? Many of you may remember bag phones – with a cord and carrying case that you had to lug around. Then came the flip phones – first, they got smaller, then they got bigger, then they started adding cameras, data packages, and streaming capabilities. The cellphone market has been one of constant change, but we can all agree that technology has given us amazing tools to keep us connected, entertained, and productive!
Remember when smartphones started coming out? The “early adopters” were so excited to turn in their flip phones and begin taking advantage of everything the latest technology had to offer. We still see that excitement with pre-orders of the latest and greatest version of a new phone. However, many of us didn’t want to spend the money or take the time to learn these new devices; what we had worked just fine. We could make and receive calls, and we were pretty good at texting with a numeric keypad. At some point along the way, something caught our attention on that silly new gadget. Someone showed us a feature that made us think “hmm … maybe I would like that” or we found that our old device was showing its age and when we went to replace it, we had to upgrade to a phone with more bells and whistles than we would ever need. As time went on and you learned some tricks to help you out, the new device grew on you because it provided personal benefits. You realized that even though the flip phone was all you ever needed and it was what you always used, there is new technology that worked, well, better.
Change can be scary. Especially when you don’t see the need for it. We often hear “but we’ve always done it this way” only to discover that each element of the current workflow was put into place by various decision-makers (provider, office manager, consultant) along the way, with no true coordination, minimal (if any) efforts to streamline or consolidate processes, and no regular evaluation mechanism to keep an eye on the big picture. We would like you to allow us to present our improved software, Premier. While what you have is already working, just the way you’ve always done it – what else could be waiting for you to make your process faster and smoother? The demonstration has no strings attached. No high-pressure pitch to move systems, we would just like an opportunity to show off the products we have worked so hard on to help your billing workflow with various integrations and many options for customization. We will be sunsetting our Advanced program at the end of 2020. Although the program may still be working perfectly for your practice, how do you know if it can be improved with Premier unless you take a look, see what’s there – even take it for a test drive with our Sandbox trial. We’re confident you will find that feature that will have you thinking, “hmm … maybe I would like that.”
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