Medical Billing Home Business by PastGallo


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									Medical Billing Business Opportunity
If you’re looking for a home-based      These promoters also may tell        $2,000 to $8,000, they promise
business that can help you pull         you that many doctors who            software, training, and technical
in $50,000 or more a year using         process claims electronically        support. And the company will
your computer, advertisements           want to “outsource” or contract      encourage you to call its
for medical billing centers may         out their billing services because   references. If you do make the
be appealing. But before you            it will save them money. They’ll     phone calls, be aware that you
part with your money, consider          promise that you can earn a          may be talking to a “singer” or a
this: The Federal Trade                 substantial income working full      “shill”a person hired by the
Commission has brought charges          or part-time, providing services     promoter to give a favorable
against several companies for           like billing, accounts receivable,   report on the business.
misrepresenting the earnings            electronic insurance claim
potential of medical billing centers,   processing, and practice             The Bitter Pill
and failing to provide certain key      management to doctors and
pre-investment information the          dentists. They also may assure       The FTC has found that few
law requires.                           you that no selling or experience    consumers purchasing a medical
                                        is required, and that they will      billing business opportunity are
How the Scam Works                      provide customers or qualified       able to find clients, start a
                                        salespeople to find clients for      business, and generate revenues,
You can find ads for pre-packaged       you. The reality: you will have to   let alone earn a substantial
businesses known as billing            sellthese promoters rarely          income and recover their
centersin newspapers, on               provide experienced sales staff      investment. Competition in the
television, and on the Internet.        or contacts within the medical       medical billing market is very
When you respond, you’ll get a          community.                           strong among a number of large
sales pitch. You’ll hear that there’s                                        and well-established firms.
a crisis in the health care system,     The company will follow-up by
due partly to the overwhelming          sending you promotional materials    How to Protect Yourself
task of processing paper claims,        that typically include a brochure,
that electronic claim processing        application, sample diskettes, a
                                                                             Taking certain precautions can
is the solution, and that because       contract (licensing agreement),
                                                                             help you minimize your risk of
only a small percentage of claims       disclosure document, and in
                                                                             losing money to a medical billing
are transmitted electronically, the     some cases, testimonial letters,
                                                                             business opportunity:
market for billing centers is wide      video cassettes, and reference
open.                                   lists. For your investment of
•   Check out the company                you by the promoter.                the law requires that the company
    with the consumer protection         Fraudulent companies                give you a Franchise Disclosure
    agency, and the Better               sometimes hire ”references”         Document at least 10 days before
    Business Bureau where you            to speak to potential investors     you sign an agreement or pay
    live and where the business          about earnings claims. Ask          any money.
    is headquartered. These              the promoter to give you the
    organizations can tell you if        names of all or many previous       There are two ways to tell if the
    there are any unresolved             purchasers so that you can          business opportunity you’re
    complaints about the                 pick and choose whom to             considering is a franchise.
    company. While complaints            call. When speaking to
    may alert you to problems,           references, ask them for the        #1
    the absence of complaints            names of their clients and
    does not necessarily mean            details of their operations.        •    The goods or services that
    the company is legitimate.           You also might consider                  you will sell or distribute will
    Unscrupulous companies               meeting with references in               be supplied by either a
    may settle complaints, change        person. If the promoter or the           particular company or a
    their names, or move to              references hesitate or refuse,           designated supplier.
    avoid detection.                     walk away from the deal.            •    The company will help you
•   Call the Secretary of State                                                   by securing locations, sites,
    in the state where the           •   Consult an attorney,                     or accounts.
    company is headquartered to          accountant, or other                •    The company requires you to
    determine how long it has            business advisor before                  pay $500 or more when you
    been in business. In                 you sign any agreement or                sign the contract or within six
    Wisconsin, call the                  make any payments upfront.               months after you begin
    Department of Financial              Entering into any business               operations.
    Institutions, Corporations           opportunity may require a
    Division: 608/261-7577.              significant financial investment.   Or, #2:
•   Get all earnings claims in           Your attorney can review the
    writing. Insist that the             company’s contract and              •    The goods you are selling or
    promoter give you written            advise you on how best to                distributing are identified by a
    substantiation. Be sure it           proceed. If the company                  trademark, service mark, trade
    includes the number and              requires a deposit, you may              name, advertising or other
    percent of others who have           want your attorney to establish          commercial symbol
    earned at least as much as           an escrow account where the              designating the company.
    the promoter claims. If the          money will be maintained by         •    The company exerts significant
    promoter hesitates or refuses,       a neutral third party.                   control over, or provides
    walk away from the deal.                                                      significant assistance to, the
    Don’t believe what was said      Business Opportunities                       way you conduct business.
    about sales, profits or          and Franchises                          •    The company requires you to
    income.                                                                       pay $500 or more when you
•   Be skeptical of past             Some businesses are considered               sign the contract or within six
    success stories. Don’t rely      franchises. Usually, if a business           months after you begin
    solely on the names given to     opportunity constitutes a franchise,         operations.
The required disclosure                 or the earnings of existing       If you can’t resolve the dispute
document provides important             investors.                        with the company, several
information about a business:                                             organizations may be able to
                                     If the seller doesn’t give you a     help you. Check your phone
•   the names, addresses, and        disclosure document, ask why.        book for the complete names,
    telephone numbers of other       Some sellers may not be required     addresses, and phone numbers
    purchasers;                      by law to provide one. If a          for these organizations.
•   a fully-audited financial        franchise or business opportunity
    statement of the seller;         seller says it’s not covered by      Your local Better Business
•   the background and               the Franchise Rule, verify it with   Bureau (BBB) and BBB where
    experience of the business’s     the FTC, an attorney, or a           the company is located.
    key executives;                  business advisor. Even if the
•   the cost of starting and         business is not legally required     Your local Postmaster. The
    maintaining the business;        to provide a disclosure document,    U.S. Postal Service investigates
    and                              you still may want one for your      fraudulent mail practices.
•   the responsibilities you and     own information.
    the seller will have to each
    other once you’ve bought.        Where to Complain                    For more information or to file a
                                                                          complaint, contact the Bureau of
Pay special attention to the         If you think you’ve been defrauded   Consumer Protection at:
sections detailing:                  in a medical billing business
                                     opportunity, contact the company               (800) 422-7128
•   the business experience of       and ask for your money back.
                                                                                 FAX: (608) 224-4939
    the company and its directors;   Let the company know you plan
•   any lawsuits brought against     to notify law enforcement and               TTY: (608) 224-5058
    the company or its directors     other officials about your
    by franchisees, and suits        experience. Keep a record of
    alleging fraud;                  your conversations and
•   fees you will have to pay and    correspondence. If you send                        Website:
                                     documents to the company,        
    the conditions under which
    any fees or deposits will be     make sure you send copies, not         (Taken from the FTC’s fact sheet, “Medical
                                                                               Billing Business Opportunity Schemes”)
    returned to you; and             originals. Send correspondence
•   substantiation for any claims    by certified mail-and request a                        i:cpcic/facts/medbo254 7/00

    about your earnings potential    return receipt-to document what
                                     the company received.

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