Interview With Marina Ihim

How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist?

Back in the early 90’s I was a single mom raising two boys. I had two little adorable faces dependent on me and I needed a way to feed and support them.  As a way to supplement my income I started learning Medical Billing and found this to be an industry that provided stability and a continuous income.   I have been a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) since 1992 and today I am also a Medical Billing and Insurance Coding Instructor helping others learn this exciting rewarding career!  

Over the years I have worked with some pretty extraordinary physicians who are compassionate, caring and loving.  They love their patients and their patients LOVE them!  But they struggle with the business part or administrative part of their practice.  As you probably know there are two sides to a practice.  There is a “service” side and then there is a “business” side.  The business side is the one they struggle with and frankly I found out that most of them would prefer to not be bothered with the administrative side so they could just focus on what they went to school for, taking care of the patient.

Who are your clients exactly?

Doctor who has been in business for a while but may currently have a biller who doesn’t quite know what they are doing or a biller who up and quit and left a trail of unfiled or denied claims.  Whatever the case, the doctor is the one stuck trying to figure it all out. They realize that without claims being filed timely and accurately and steady continuous cash flow coming in, overhead expenses cannot be met and their practice will face disastrous financial difficulties. They are super passionate about what they do and they so badly want to create a successful practice but right now cash flow is an issue for them, one that is creating some stress in their life and sometimes requiring them to work very long hours trying to make the “business” part of their practice work.  They chose a career in medical services because they wanted to help people; however they find themselves inundated with paperwork related to insurance claims, patient billing, and patient records.

Why should someone outsource their medical billing?

A Medical Billing Service makes life easier for physicians across all specialties by offering them administrative services. There is a serious need for this type of service, as most health professionals are trained to take care of their patients but struggle handling the business part of their practice because they were not trained to handle this part. The services are designed to increase profitability and cash flow, improving the efficiency at their respective clinics by having them concentrate only on the medical services rather than the administrative work.

Many physicians have found themselves less stressed and even more active physically because they have outsourced their medical billing to an expert. Medical Billing Services are usually founded by a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) or Certified Professional Coder (CPC). These people have gone to school to achieve this vocation and are best suited to handle the administrative side of a medical practice.

What are some of the benefits?

Patients receive greater care because the doctor is not worried about money and how to pay the rent. When a doctor is free to really take care of his patients and focus on service, he finds his practice soaring to new heights. Patients are lined up in the waiting room and willing to wait for the excellent service.

A doctor buried in paperwork trying to dig his way out half the night is not going to provide excellent service the next morning. Patients deserve the best from their doctors and should not have to risk a doctor making an error, due to not getting a good night sleep, because of being worrying about his cash flow.

When using an outside Medical Biller, some doctors feel that they have lost control. What do you have to say about that?

Make sure that you find a service that uses a web-based practice management system. This way you can monitor what they are doing each and every week, day, and minute.

Try to find a service that bills on a commission only too. In other words, they don’t get paid until you do. They will collect a percentage of what is collected and not what is billed. If they are a reputable medical billing service then they have nothing to hide and if they are as good as they say they are then they will be willing to work on commission only.

Are there any specialties you prefer to work with?

Not really I work with all physicians across all specialties.

What if you’ve not worked with anyone in a particular specialty before?

That’s great news!  The more niched the doctor, the better the likelihood they will benefit from my years as a Medical Billing and Insurance Coding Instructor.  As an instructor, I cover every specialty there is in my class.  When a new specialty comes my way it is always works out great because the basics are the same, my system doesn’t change, just the specifics about the specialty. 

How are you different from other Medical Billing Services?

Since we don’t get paid until the doctor does, it’s an even greater incentive for doctors to want to work with me.  They pay us a percentage of what is collected, not what is billed.  They have nothing to lose but everything to gain!

Is there ever a cost associated with your services?

Yes, wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you outsource there are going to be fees associated with the setup of the outsourced solution?   This however is a very nominal fee and we offer a 60-day “Happiness Money-Back Guarantee”!  If after the first 60-days you are not completely happy with the services and you don’t feel it was exactly what your clinic needed; not only do you not have to continue with MariAnn Medical Billing Services, but your start-up cost will be refunded to you.

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