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What to Look For When Evaluating a Medical Billing Vendor for Your Practice

If you've been practicing medicine for any amount of time you will probably agree that the healthcare industry has become incredibly complex in the past few years. Thanks to ever-evolving regulations and shifting reimbursements models, doctors are forced to streamline their operational processes in an effort to cut expenses and increase revenue.

One of the best ways practices can increase their revenue and stay competitive in a sometimes-shaky marketplace is to outsource their billing to a third-party vendor. But how do doctors ensure they select the right partner?

First by asking themselves a series of questions, and then asking their prospective partners another series of questions.

Questions to Ask Yourself

What are My Particular Pain Points?

Any billing company worth their salt will have policies and procedures in place that will maximize the efficiencies of your practice's work flow and minimize the time it takes you to get paid. And, at this point in time, all quality vendors will have strict compliance programs that will ensure security, privacy and confidentiality of protected patient data.

But beyond these generalities that any physician requires, what are your particular challenges or issues you face on a daily basis? What are your personal pain points? What are your preferences – cloud-based or enterprise-wide solutions?

Once you have a list of your preferences and challenges, you will be more easily able to communicate them to potential partners.

What Stipulations Do I Require in the Contract?

A partnership is a two-way street and an effective contract will outline the vendor's scope of work clearly as well as your responsibilities (ie provide all necessary documentation and authorization for services). Since using a generic contract template is asking for trouble, get some legal advice and determine your requirements: effective dates, termination clauses, compliance requirements, service reimbursements parameters and scope of work.

In What Ways Can My Billing Partner Help me Grow my Practice?

The right billing partner should not only be able to handle your payments and claims, they should also be able to counsel you and evaluate the health of your practice. Ask yourself what kind of assistance you need to determine if your current admin policies, staffing levels, and IT resources are sustainable. How can your billing partner help you make the necessary preparations to meet future goals?

Questions to Ask Prospect Partners

What Technological Capabilities Do You Offer?

Good billing companies offer more than help with claims and reimbursements, they have a breadth of knowledge when it comes to the best technology available to meet your needs and regulatory requirements.

Ask vendors what their experience is with EHRs, practice management systems, and if their solution can integrate into your existing systems. Remember, technology is multifaceted and should help you meet the clinical, administrative AND financial needs of your practice.

Is the Billing Company ICD-10 Ready?

At this point in the game, all billing companies should be up-to-speed with ICD-10, there simply is no excuse to be unprepared. Ask your prospective partners if they have completed …

Preparation of Profit and Loss Account

Explanation of Certain items of Profit and Loss Account

1. Salaries

Salaries are paid for the services of employees and are debited to profit and loss ac- count being indirect expense. If any salary has been paid to proprietor or partners, it should be shown separately because it requires special treatment at the time of income tax assessment.

2. Salaries and Wages

When wages account is included with salaries it treated is as indirect expense and is taken into profit and loss account.

3. Rent

Rent of the office shop showroom or godown is an indirect expense and so is debited to profit & loss account. However, rent of factory is debited to trading account. When a part of the building has been sublet the rent received should be shown on the credit side of profit and loss account as a separate item.

4. Rates and Taxes

These are levied by the local authorities to meet public expenditure. It being an indirect expenditure is shown on the debit side of profit and loss account.

5. Interest

Interest on loan, overdraft or overdue debts is payable by the firm. It is an indirect expense; so debited to profit and loss account. Interest on loan advanced by the firm on depositor investments is an income of the firm and so is credited to the profit and loss account.

If business has paid any interest on capital to its proprietor or partners it should also be debited in the profit and loss account but separately because this item needs special treatment at the time of income-tax assessment.

6. Commission

In business sometimes agents are appointed to effect sales, who are paid commission as their remuneration. So this being a selling expenses is shown on the debit side of profit and loss account. Sometimes commission is also paid on purchases of goods, such ‘as expense should be debited in the trading account. Sometimes the firm can also act as an agent to the other business houses and in such cases it receives commission from them. Commission so received is shown on the credit side of profit and loss account.

7. Trade Expenses

They are also termed as ‘sundry expenses’. Trade expenses represent expenses of such a nature for which it is not worthwhile to open separate accounts. Trade expenses are not taken to trading account.

8. Repairs

Repairs to the plant, machinery, building are indirect expenses are treated expense and are debited to profit and loss account..

9. Traveling Expenses

Unless mentioned otherwise, traveling expenses are treated as indirect expenses and are debited to profit and loss account.

10. Horse & stable Expenses

Expenses incurred for the fodder of horses and wages paid for looking after stable are treated as indirect expenses and debited to profit and loss account.

11. Apprentice Premium

This is the amount charged from persons to whom training is imparted by the business. It is an income and is credited to profit and loss account. In case apprentice premium is …

Money in Photography – Up Close and Personal

Like most people I know, I like taking pictures of nature; waterfall, rocks, and flowers. However; also like most people I know, I have made very little money from those pictures. Can you make great money from nature shots? Yes. Is it extremely competitive and very hard to get into? Yes. Is there an easier way? Yes.

For most of us, the best way to make money is to get up close and personal. Usually this means people shots; although sometimes, pets also qualify for this type of shooting. What I'm talking about is shooting events.

Events can be broken down into two categories; A) Things that happened once in a lifetime, and B) Things that happen over and over again. The things in Category "A" can usually bring more money to begin with; however there is also a lot more pressure. The things in Category "B" usually make less money per job; but tend to lead to multiple jobs.

Category "A" could include: Weddings, Sweet 16 Parties, Births, Graduation, and even death. Sound strange? Think about it; at a funeral, you have family and friends who may not have seen each other in years. Death is rarely expected, so often the subject has not had pictures in years. This is the last chance to get photos or memories. It's not an area people often think about; you have to sell them on the idea.

Category "B" could include: Drama Events, Sporting Events, Family Reunions, and Portraits. This category usually gets less money for the individual event, but not always. I have shot Family Reunions (for example) where I made more money in half an hour of shooting, than I make doing a wedding (five to six hours of shooting).

Always remember to shoot more than what you are asked for, or even more than you might think is enough. Especially with one time events, it is often impossible to go back and do it again. A person called me once and said they had a bunch of family coming over for Mothers Day, and asked if I could take a group shot. The longer we talked the more this sounded like a family reunion. My response was: "I can shoot the main group shot, but I will take other shots too. I make it a policy to never to only develop one or two shots on a roll."

I actually shot: The mother (with and without husband), the main Family Group, a four generation shot of Daughters, five individual family groups (with and without Mom), all the kids for the main family, all the kids of the individual families, all the couples from the individual families, all the grandchildren, and all the great grandchildren. Always shooting two or three shots, to make sure no one blinked.

They only asked for one shot, and I might have sold that one shot five or six times. But with what I offered, I got 24 individual orders, and many of those orders …

Cover Letter – Let's Get Personal

Well Written But Not Personal: If you really want to write a sample cover letter that gets noticed, then say something about the company you are applying to. Not something obvious, something they will know you had to dig deep to find out. A recent company award, an article in a trade magazine, a recent contract that they were awarded. This approach says a great deal about you.

Example, "I read recently that you received a ten year, accident free award. As a health inspector myself, I know first hand that is no small feat. Again, congratulations."

It may seem like a non-relevant thing to say in your cover letter, but is it? As a health inspector, it's certainly relevant as a tie in for the position you are applying for. It's also personal, in that you took the time to mention something most would not. Simply put, you did your homework on the company, and personalized it, to fit your application. An absolute win win.

One thing is true today, recruiters are very professional, they can spot a no effort cover letter a mile away. By not taking the time to do some research on the company or making it personal, your letter just looks like every other template. If you are serious about working at a particular company then do the due diligence the job describes. In the job interview they're asking "what do you know about our company" and they will ask, you need something of substance to say.

You only cheat yourself in the end by not taking the necessary steps. A well written cover letter is great, but that personal touch pushes it to the top of the pile on a recruiters desk.

Finally, as a teacher, I prefer a collaborative learning approach. That said, I'd like to ask you to join my email newsletter, as I want your feedback and advice. Can I count on your support?

To Your Job Search Success,

Mike Perras, P.Mgr …

A Few Ways to Earn Money Quick

Looking for some ways to earn some quick money? There are a few, and I know from personal experience that they DO work. Whether you want to make a little extra money in your spare time, or make a HUGE amount and tell your boss goodbye, these methods are just a couple of ways you can make some fast cash.

The first method I'm going to tell you about is online surveys. You may have seen on television or in women's magazines that many people make lots of money simply by completing surveys. This is not for everyone, especially if you get bored easily. But thousands of people do it every day, and some make thousands of per month!

With online surveys, you can usually choose which surveys you want to participate in. Some are short, some are long. For a short survey that takes you 5 minutes to complete, you can make anywhere from $ 2 to $ 5. If you choose a survey that takes 15 minutes or so, you can easily make $ 25 or $ 30. Many people average $ 25 per hour doing surveys. This is one of the best ways to earn money quick.

Now I am going to try to explain a method of making money that you may never have heard of. The bum marketing method is absolutely THE fastest way to make money online, and I can tell you that I have personally made over $ 400 in two weeks time. And I am just a beginner! This is definitely one of the best ways to earn money quick that I have ever found.

In bum marketing, you simply go to an affiliate site such as Clickbank. Browse the products and choose a subject you like or are familiar with. Create a blog at Blogger or WordPress and make a few posts on the subject of your product.

Write some good articles with your subject as the topic, link to your blog in your author resource box, and watch the sales roll in! Of course, on your blog you will want to have a few banners leading to your product, as well as links in your posts.

Well, these are the two of the most effective ways to earn money quick that I have found. I hope you try them out, you can be making money fast in no time! …

Getting Low Auto Insurance Rates – Cheap Car Insurance Policies

First of all, avoid being in an accident. Having a clean accident-free driving record is a big plus for negotiating lower rates from your auto insurance provider. That you are a good driver makes the risk level for the insurance agency to be relatively low thereby giving you more power to make certain demands especially on lower rate considerations.

Also having a clean driving record will make you top choice and a better client to the insurance companies around.

You should endeavor to understand some of the value added services that auto insurance companies provide. Most times, these services help you save both time and money. A good insurance company will certainly love to have smiling customers and one of the greatest means for achieving this is to increase service value while maintaining price points or even lowering the overall price.

You can save more if you have multiple policies running on the same account. For example you can have a life insurance policy, home renters insurance and your auto insurance policy all being active in the same account. This will typically prompt for a lower rate negotiation.

Insurance companies will cross check on some of your personal behaviors and habits. If you have a record of getting drunk on alcohol or excessive speeding with friends and over loading vehicles, then your record is that of a high risk for the insurance companies. Having a non-destructive record will certainly give you more points for lower rates. The first step for you to get your lower rates is to get free auto insurance quotes from trusted agents online.

Where To Start? …

Marketing Strategy – What Day Do Your Clients Buy?

In previous blogs I’ve talked about the importance of measuring your marketing activity and knowing where your prospects and clients originated from in order to measure which campaign has been the most successful and given the best ROI.

Another important area to measure is your emailings. Most good online systems offer the facility to measure how many recipients have opened your mailings and also how many have clicked through from your mailing to one of your website links. These stats are incredibly important not just for you to measure the effectiveness of the mailing content (and of course your list) but the days and times of the week when your target audience are most likely to read, click-through and ultimately purchase your product.

Perhaps you send a weekly/monthly mailing on the same day of the week and same time every week without a thought for whether this is the most effective time to reach your audience; or perhaps you randomly send out your mailings whenever you are ready to do so, or when the mood strikes! Either way, it’s worth taking some time to consider when your target audience will be in the most receptive state to your mailing, try sending on different times and days of the week and measure the results to see which appears most effective.

You may want to consider:

  • Are the majority of email addresses business or personal?
  • If personal, then when are the recipients most likely to respond to your mailing – when they are at work or perhaps in the evenings or weekends?
  • If business then consider the times of day when are they likely to take the time to stop and read your mailing/newsletter and when are they most likely to file it away – or worse to delete it?
  • The days and times when your target audience are most likely to be bombarded with emails or catching up with backlogs – i.e. Mondays or first thing in the morning.

If you are able to track previous mailings, then take a look back to see which have been the most successful with regard to click-through-rates and open-rates. Do you see any particular pattern with regards to the days and times they are sent and the response rates?…

Breathalyzer Basics For Consumers

How does a breathalyzer device work?

There are two technologies commonly used in breath alcohol testing: platinum fuel cell and semiconductor .

Platinum fuel cell breathalyzers are the 'gold standard' of hand-held alcohol testers for both personal and professional use. They are the choice of professional users such as law enforcement and serious personal users such as concerned parents and individuals who require measurement accuracy they can trust.

In fuel cell instruments, the breath is directed into a fuel cell with dual platinum electrodes where it is oxidized and generates electrical current. The higher the alcohol content of the breath, the greater the current output of the fuel cell. By deliberately measuring the current produced in the fuel cell, an accurate measure of breath alcohol content (BAC) is recorded.

How accurate are breathalyzer tests?

Platinum fuel cell technology, in combination with the advanced measurement algorithms that are used in professional units are extremely accurate and very reliable. Unlike semiconductor devices, platinum fuel cell technology reacts only to alcohol and not to other airborne substances such as gasoline, cigarette smoke, acetones and ketones. Contrary to popular myths, a precision fuel cell tester can not be fooled by inhaling instead of blowing, pennies in the mouth, gum or breath mints.

In alcohol testers, you get what you pay for. Semiconductor testers, while inexpensive, are not to be trusted. These testers can give positive alcohol readings even when no alcohol is present. Semiconductor testers require frequent re-calibration and have a short working life. Independent scientific testing has repeatedly found a wide variation in alcohol readings produced by the leading semiconductor devices when tested against a known alcohol concentration.

Are there any significant differences between the breathalyzer devices that law enforcers use versus the devices for sale to consumers?

Law enforcement breath testing is serious and important work requiring instruments of high precision and reliability. Fuel cell, rather than semiconductor technology, is used. LE units are rigorously tested and maintained to very high standards, and they are tested and approved to evidential standards by the Department of Transportation, as well as approved by each state.

Consumer breathalyzers must be cleared by the FDA to be legally sold in the US. The FDA does not require that consumer breath testers meet the same standards of accuracy and precision as required by law enforcement. This has allowed the proliferation of cheap and unreliable imports that probably do more harm than good.

What are some advantages to a consumer owning a personal breathalyzer?

Only a precision breath tester can provide an accurate measure of BAC at any point in time. Other techniques such as "drink tables" and "drink software" may be education but they are not reliable measurement tools. Only a good breathalyzer can account for the many variables affecting individual alcohol toxication, such as sex, age, percent body fat, health and how much alcohol was in the drink.

Useful consumer applications include:

  • Home bar and party use
  • Self-testing
  • Morning after testing
  • Office and holiday party safety

How to Improve Personal Stress Management

Stress related illness and suffering is at an all time high in America and increasing every year. There are numerous symptoms commonly associated with stress such as sleeplessness, weight gain, hair loss, worry, irritability, muscular aches and pains, depression, weakened immunity and the list goes on. In our hectic, time strapped lives, it is easy to fall prey to stress without even knowing it.

Personal stress can be a result of relationship issues, family conflicts, financial concerns etc. Workplace stress can be due to too great a workload for the one person, low morale due to downsizing and cost cutting or tense personal relations with co-workers or superiors. With all these external factors playing a role it is important to identify and then adopt a plan of action for personal stress management.

Relaxation is an excellent natural way of combating the effects of stress. For instance physical activities like massage, acupuncture and even sexual activity can greatly relieve stress and help you relax, while reading positive stories, listening to relaxing music, watching non violent programs and movies are a more passive ways to achieve the same goal. It is also known that by incorporating a low-fat, low-salt diet and regular exercise into your personal stress management program, you can help reduce your level of stress.

It is always good to look at your lifestyle objectively to see if there are any simple lifestyle changes you can make to help alleviate your stress. Think carefully about the following points and try to make changes to some that are directly affecting your daily life. Self esteem, handling difficult situations, time management, problem solving, healthy eating, alcohol or drug use, healthy relationships, money management, physical activity, sleep, spirituality and time management.

There are also many medications that are prescribed to patients suffering from stress but like all medication, there is the possibility of numerous and sometimes serious negative side effect. There is a healthier alternative to use in your personal stress management program and that is herbal based supplements which work with your body in a more natural way.

Some of ingredients used in these supplements are Jujube which has been used in Chinese herbalism for the treatment of nervous exhaustion and irritability. Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic adaptogen that helps the body better cope with stress and Passionflower which has a relaxing effect. This article is nutritional in nature and is in no way to be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before embarking on a medical or nutritional plan.…

The Great Debate: Quality or Quantity?

Experts have long debated just how big your professional network should be. Should you focus more on the quantity or quality of your relationships? The easy answer, of course, is "both." Unfortunately, though, there are only so many hours in the day. Building and maintaining relationships take time; Building stronger relationships takes more time.

Given that your time is limited, the number of your relationships and the average strength of your relationships end up being inversely proportional. The more people you know, the less well you know them. If you want to build stronger relationships, you're going to have to do so with a smaller number of people. You can spend all of your time with your close friends and family (strong ties, low number), or spread yourself thin across a wide number of people (weak ties, high number). However, maintaining both high strength and high number is physically impossible. How can you find the proper balance between strength and number?

This debate has been exacerbated by the proliferation of social networking sites that make it feasible to have a personal "network" of several thousand people. The leaders of some of the networks have taken some strong stands on the issue:

  • Thomas Power of Ecademy says, "Go for volume over 'quality,'" arguing that there's no such thing as a quality person vs. A non-quality person. He walks the talk – he's personally met with several thousand Ecademy members one on one.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Mike Walsh, CEO of Leverage Software , says, "Look for quality," and encourages people to look for networking sites with features that help you evaluate whether a certain contact is worth pursuing or not.
  • And Adrian Scott of Ryze , discussing some changes in Ryze's policies and functionality, said, "We'd like to create an environment that guarantees quality, rather than quantity for its own sake."

Those absolutes are difficult to sustain in practice. For example, LinkedIn very strongly positions itself on the quality of its membership and encourages members to focus on people you've worked with before in some capacity. Their tips on who to invite say:

  • Only invite those you know well
  • Only invite those you trust
  • Only invite those you want to forward things to you

But at the same time, the design of the site encourages people to maximize their number of connections. The more people you're directly connected to, the fewer number of degrees away you are from people, on average. With more direct connections, you can see more people, more people can see you, and you're more likely to come up at the top of searches, which by default order the results by "degrees away from you." The FAQ may encourage quality over quantity, but in practice, quantity is also rewarded. This is a fundamental tension in LinkedIn's design. What allows LinkedIn to still be a valuable application is that quantity also carries a cost: more link requests which you are likely to reject. Some of the …