Barbara Young-Owner and Medical Billing
Director, Barbara Young Medical Billing
Barbara Young is a well-recognized name in medical billing owing to her expertise. She is proficient in all phases of the medical business and medical coding services while specializing in surgical billing. She is also an avid Medical Billing Columnist, sharing insightful tips in the domain, for Neurosurgery Market Watch.
In this interview, Barbara and I talk about her foray into medical billing right out of high school, and her journey in becoming a thought-leader in the field.
An Early Start in Medical Billing
Barbara became a medical biller when she was 19 years old, right out of high school. After acceptance into the Math & Science Institute, she was selected for paid biology and science research internships in her freshman year, where her love of medicine began.
She graduated high school six months early and was awarded a scholarship to the College of Staten Island. At the time medical billing was largely unexplored as a career with several jobs available in the field which motivated Barbara to join the course.
Recalling signing up her first account, Barbara mentions it was a doctor who is still her client. He was the first client she signed up after she got certified as a medical biller, and now 19 years later, he is still with Barbara.
Current Business Structure and Organization
Barbara Young Medical Billing Services is a full-service boutique medical billing company. Owing to her decades of experience, the company is efficient at all phases of medical billing and medical coding services and has exceptional people skills for medical providers, medical insurance, and patient calls.
‘I work whenever my clients work because that is when my clients are available. I try to make every client feel like as though they are my only client and I understand they have been seeing patients all day long until night and work on weekends, and I work when they work.’
Having received her training in orthopedic surgery, Barbara has in-depth knowledge about medical billing solutions required here empowering the company to specialize in medical surgeries with valuable experience in every specialty.
‘Any kind of medical claim, medical billing, or specialty-we have the experience and ability to carry through, even oral maxillofacial surgery when it is covered under medical benefits.
With technology allowing for easy connections across geographical borders, Barbara is able to extend her client base across the United States. The pandemic allowed for improved adoption of online platforms that made it easier for clients outside of New York to join the company.
Adapting Business Processes to the COVID-19 Pandemic
To ensure maximum safety for everyone, the company shifted everything online. Barbara recalls a time when all mail was stopped owing to the pandemic, and virtual solutions like e-mail were the only option. Most of the work these days is being done by e-mail, with some clients preferring to fax documents, or send directly to a printer.
For Barbara, the switch to e-mail has been beneficial as it allows her to optimize the billing process by getting the work done the same day. This helps speed up the entire process by faster submissions to the insurance company, leading to faster payouts for the doctor.
‘Online platforms that enable us to work virtually nationwide along with email is much faster. There are positives and negatives in every situation and we are always grateful for the positives.’
Standout Moments in the Medical Billing Journey
Barbara started her business at the age of 22 with a lot of ambition which for her is a huge standout moment in itself. After two decades of invaluable experience and hard work, Barbara fulfilled another dream of writing, by becoming a well-recognized medical billing columnist in June 2019.
‘I am internationally famous on social media for medical billing, seeing companies using my name, my company name, and my website to advertise on social media are definitely standout moments.’
One aspect that is a tremendous source of pride for Barbara is the fact that her company owns the software they use. Before she became a medical biller and founded her business, Barbara had worked at two different hospitals where they used very expensive and high-end software.
She realized early on after first using an inexpensive software that for a medical billing firm to succeed, partnering with a reliable software company is a must. She reached out to the software company used by the hospitals and had to lease it to purchase it as it was very expensive.
However, looking back, Barbara believes it was the best decision she ever made. There are a lot of people in the industry that have to pay very expensive monthly fees per doctor. For Barbara, the expenses were significantly high for the five-year lease after which she was able to purchase the software. Though she still has to pay yearly and monthly fees, it has brought invaluable peace of mind knowing that there aren’t any additional expensive monthly fees associated with using a medical billing software that many other companies pay.
Further, the software is not cloud-based ensuring there is no downtime. It is backed up nightly, on two different hard drives, as well as a HIPAA-compliant cloud backup. An added advantage of owning the software for Barbara is that it allows her to be flexible with her pricing thus allowing her to help low-income clients as well.
Overcoming Challenges in Medical Billing
Among the biggest challenges, Barbara lists the website and social media at the top. She launched the website in 2018 and started her social media accounts. With no prior experience, it was a brand new territory that brought several challenges with it. Everything from picking the logo to deciding which company to opt for was a challenge as they required numerous decisions which she hadn’t faced before.
‘I knew for years that I needed a website. It was something that I just didn’t know how to do or where to start. It was, and still is, a lot of work, because it is something I didn’t have any experience in.’
A lot of times people would hear about her work and want to partner with her, but without a website, it was difficult for them to connect with her. After a meeting with a potential client prompted her to get a website, Barbara knew that she couldn’t delay it any longer. So, even though it was new and challenging, Barbara also recalls the excitement she felt when everything started to come together.
Future Plans for Growing the Business
A lot of Barbara’s clients are in the retirement zone causing her to shift attention towards the newer and younger generation of doctors. Now it is all about attracting younger clients and advertising to them through social media. The website is not enough to target the younger generation as they search using hashtags which is something the older generation did not do.
Things are constantly changing, the pandemic necessitated the adoption of e-mail for everyone, including clients who had never sent an email before. Now, the younger generation of doctors are using hashtags to find medical billers as a partner.
She is also a member of the AAPC and HBMA to keep herself updated about the domain and ensure she is at the top of her game at all times.
Talking about the marketing methods that have helped Barbara grow her business over the years, she mentions the website, social media and the use of her company name as a hashtag. She is now internationally known on social media.
‘As far as I know, I have the largest account for medical billing on Instagram as of right now, on Twitter, and I also have over 24,000 connections on LinkedIn. So, to go from being intimidated to having a website to having the biggest accounts on all the major platforms is a huge deal for me.’
Top Philosophies and Core Values
For Barbara, honesty is the most important value and then other philosophies and core values are hard work, dedication, perseverance, integrity, and determination.
Advice for Newcomers entering the Medical Billing Field
For newcomers, it is important to study a course and get certified in the field to start with. For Barbara, experience is equally important as it allows people how to work practically in the field which is crucial to learning.
2 Key Learnings from the Medical Billing Journey
- Treat every client as though they are your only client
- Be grateful for your competitors, as they keep you on your toes
Key Benefits of Barbara Young Medical Billing Services
The company has 2 decades of experience in the field which is huge. They also pride themselves on providing personalized customized service, specializing in surgery but also being able to virtually bill anything because of their rich industry experience.
‘Not only do I have the experience but also my company has more experience and has been in business a lot longer than a lot of other companies and I think that is something we can offer that other people can’t.’
Vision for the Future of the Industry
The sky is the limit, especially with telehealth being more common now. Barbara believes that the pandemic paved the way for larger adoption of telehealth services. Also, with the availability of online platforms that allow for virtual interaction across geographical borders, the possibilities of new factors emerging are endless.
According to Barbara, the biggest, newest trend is going to be the continuation of telehealth. Even though it was available, people didn’t typically use it before the pandemic, but now everyone is adopting it.
For organizations and professionals looking to remain successful in this domain, Barbara recommends staying updated with all the constant changes in the industry. For her, being a member of the AAPC and HBMA helps her know about important changes in coding updates, rules and regulations, etc.
Leadership Lessons Learned Over the Years
‘People don’t remember you for what you do but they remember you for how you make them feel.’
Recalling the time when the pandemic was at its worst, Barbara remembers wanting to help people but not knowing how. One of the things Barbara did was a press release for clients that the company was not going to charge late fees. To date, Barbara advises people struggling during the pandemic to focus on their families and has waived off late fee charges.
‘I want my clients to know how important they are to me because they are putting their lives on the line, working at hospitals, dealing with COVID and I try to help them the best I can.’