Why I’m going Viking – and why you should too


If he ever gets to the Gulf of Mexico and wants to see the Grand Canyon, I’m happy to host – I live 3 hours from it and it’s a day trip we’ve made several times before. Plus Sedona is pretty cool, and that’s less than an hour.

BJØRN ANDREAS BULL-HANSEN

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I don’t know what the future holds. But I know this: When the time is right, I will leave my home shores and go Viking. In this blog post, I will try to explain what that means, and why you should go Viking too.

First of all: Going Viking doesn’t mean dressing up as a Viking. Going Viking has nothing to do with how you dress. Although, I must say that personally, wearing Viking clothes is my natural state and it’s when I have to look like a modern man that I’m «dressing up».

Going Viking doesn’t mean that you sail out to raid monasteries either. It could mean that, but last time I checked, it was sort of illegal. Going Viking means that you leave your home for an extended period of time and go in search of adventure. Yes, I know it sounds a bit romantic. But it’s…

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New Year, Big Changes Part 3


Gods I hope I can get this into one last post.  I tend to elaborate too much or else I assume people know/understand things they couldn’t possibly, unless they were there.  so.

I incorporated, I got a Tax ID, I got a group NPI (a must to take insurance payment), a bank account, and I researched what all was involved in getting credentialed with Medicare and Medicaid (or in my state’s case, AHCCCS).  But.  I drug my feet HARD on actually starting it.  Because that, in my mind, was the final step – the step that meant I was really going to do this.  Which meant I was really going to quit my not cushy but mostly predictable job.  Which is a rather frightening thought.

I suppose I should say what I wanted to do for a business.  I never wanted to compete with the other office, that was never my intention.  What I wanted to do was make it easier for those with debilitating chronic illnesses, those without their own vehicles and dependent on medical taxi services, those who were too sick to go to the office, to see a medical provider.  I wanted to do HOUSE CALLS.  I did a lot of research on the idea and it really seems like an idea whose time has come once again.

Mr. TinFoil was initally EXTREMELY against the idea of starting our own business.  He asked one of his medical directors for advice – without consulting me.  The medical director, who just the week before had told Mr. TF he was making so much money working for Mr. TF’s company that he was only seeing patients in his *own* practice 2 days per week, said it was a very bad idea and “the only way to make any money at this is to save up to buy your own business and have the waiting room full all the time.”  Hmmm…not a very reliable source in my opinion, given the apparent hypocrisy and inconsistency between the two statements.

But then he asked some of his coworkers what they thought of it, and all were universally enthusiastic about it.  One of the NP’s who works for his company even asked him to keep her in mind if I expand enough to hire someone else.  Which I thought was a fairly ringing endorsement.

I had already done WEEKS worth of research on Medicare pricing structures for our area so our superbill could be updated (and corrected).  It was simple enough to add in the pricing for home visits to my research.  I kept the results of my research in a separate folder on my computer and also in hard copy to make sure I had access to it even in the event of a computer failure.  Thank the Gods I did, because with the change in ownership and the loss of my job, it was already done and easy enough to put to use.

So after I got canned, I started the processes for getting credentialed.  UGH.  It took me 2.5 days to wade through the Medicare applications, IRS forms, etc I needed for myself and for the business.  And I mean 10 -12 hour days, not 2 hours here and there.  I suppose it’s faster if you’ve done it before though.  Then I began the process for getting credentialed with the insurance companies.  Which has been a problem, because if you don’t have a Medicare number you basically can’t get credentialed with the insurances.  Much of that work time has been wasted, and will have to be done all over again when I get my Medicare number.

This week I will begin marketing my business in earnest.  I live in a retirement state, there are huge numbers of people that this will appeal to!

 

 

New Year, Big Changes Part II


So, I lost my job.  But I didn’t lose my dream.  You see, I knew this wasn’t going to be a long term place for me unless my friend and colleague the doctor went in with some other people I know to buy the practice.

My first paycheck bounced – I had to wait until the next paycheck a month later to get what I was owed, and I still had to insist on a separate check to cover my credit union’s bounced check fee from his bad check.

Then I discovered the owner cheating us, the contracted providers, out of money two months in a row.  When I confronted him about this he denied me access to the accounting section of the electronic health record program (EHR) we use – which is technically illegal to do to a contract employee working on a percentage.  No big deal, when I told the doctor how he was being cheated he offered me his user ID and password which I did not take him up on, because the biller was happy to print out the information I needed.

The owner refused to sign a contract with me, and paid me 5% less than his original offer.  To be cheated on top of it was an insult that could not go unchallenged.  But he stopped returning calls, texts, and even coming to the office.  October 29th was the last time he returned a text message.

So why would I stay there?  Because it was my own community, it was NOT his.  My dream was to work in my community.  But working in this office was not the original dream.  My dream was to own my own practice, to go to the people without transportation, the home bound people with major health problems.  Working here was a stop gap, a way to try to save money to get to a place where, if we were the owners, me and the doc, I could incorporate it into our business; or, if we didn’t, I would start doing part time.

I had, in fact, already been doing home visits as part of my work week, and gaining business via the percentage he collected for the use of his EHR that he never would have had without me as a result.  When I was let go so suddenly, those people were more than happy to stay with me.

The response in the community has been universal shock and outrage – and concern over what will happen to the doctor who remains.  I’ve had patients calling me both to see how they can continue to keep me as their provider and irate that this happened to all of us.  And more than a few to complain about the new staff’s treatment of them.  One of my patients was given a drug screen – I would as soon suspect my cat of drug use as this person.  Way to go there, way to alienate an entire family of 9 patients.  Nice job.

Well, I had suspected something was up for a while.  And in the first part of December, I decided to take action.  So I began looking at available names for incorporating my own business.  Come to find out, the legal name of the business, the name they received their billing under, was NOT the name they had been using before I was hired  – and it was available.  So I trade marked the name and incorporated my business under the name.

The day I was let go, I heard the new front desk person answering the phone with *my* business name, the one that hadn’t been in use since I was ‘contracted.’  I informed the new owner that he could not use that name.  He, rather pompously said he could do whatever he wanted since he owns the business, and since he rather liked that name he planned to change the name to that.  I responded, “That’s nice.  But you can’t.  Because I own it.”  Stunned silence was his response, and the accountant for the former owner (who was there helping them) asked me how I did that.  I said, “It was easy.  I researched the name, it was available, so I bought it and incorporated under it.”  Again, stunned silence.

Score one point for me.  One small satisfaction in a morass of disappointment and disgust.

To be continued….

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, Big Changes


So.  Working in my own community has been a dream of mine since I still worked for the local fire department.  Yes, I worked for my community, but I wanted something more.  Then I hurt my back on the job and re-evaluated my entire career choice.  I went back to school, then went back for more, then went back for my master’s degree.  And got my national certification.  And started working.  In my own community.

Well, the lesson was Be Careful What You Wish For.  My boss literally hated his business and all of the people working for him.  When I started there he was on the verge of both business and personal bankruptcy.  He hired someone I’ve known for years to be office manager/biller and then we hired someone who has extensive (30+ years) experience in the medical field for the front desk/referrals.  We brought in friends and spouses and we spent our weekends there, unpaid, working to make the office presentable.  We cleaned carpets, washed walls and windows, scrubbed floors.  We brought in our own cleaning supplies because he wouldn’t furnish them.  I brought in my own furniture to make the waiting room more pleasant and less like a bus station.

We turned the practice around.  When I started there it was losing about $15,o00 per month (estimate).  Every month since I’ve been there we’ve made at least enough money to pay the bills, and every month since September we’ve made a profit.  A small one, but a profit nonetheless.  In December we made nearly double what is needed to break even.  We brought people back into the practice that had left years ago due to bad management.  We were nice to the patients.  We knew many of them because we too live here.  And they knew us.

But he lied to us the whole time.  He wouldn’t even buy supplies needed to see patients, the doctor bought our supplies out of his own pocket.  He sold the business out from under us – the doctor and I were working on a deal to purchase it – to someone else with cash in hand and a slick line.

And the new owner let all of us go.  He bought the practice on a Tuesday night, and we were all fired by Wednesday at 130pm.  He said he didn’t need us, he was bringing in his own staff.  The irony of this is that if he had seen the practice when I came on board, or when the office manager came on board, he NEVER would have looked twice.  We made it work.  And for that we are out of jobs.

The new owner is from the East Coast, New York or New Jersey, and he doesn’t understand how word travels.  He’s a physician’s assistant, and he needs a doctor at the office to be able to work – the doctor is the only one who didn’t get fired.  But he doesn’t like him, and he doesn’t like how he works.  Which is very slowly.  Because, while he wants to make a living, he’s not in this to get rich.  Which is why he is still here in this community – the patients know that.  And they are loyal to him.

I don’t think this new owner understands small town politics.  At all.  The patients who were coming to see me were coming to me, for the most part, because they wanted to see ME.  Not just anyone.  I’m not a number to them, I’m their neighbor.  The office manager is as well, and so is the front desk person he let go.  And by firing us, by assuming that people would just see him instead and just have to deal with his new office staff, I think he has badly miscalculated.  We are not interchangeable.  If the phone calls I’m getting are any indicator, I think the physician’s assistant owner may be in for a nasty surprise in the financial department.

You see, common sense doesn’t mean what most people think it does.  Common sense is what the peasants have – hard won experience based on the realities of struggling for a living day to day.  It isn’t common, and it’s not something wealthy people have in any degree whatsoever, because they lose it as they get more out of touch with every day realities.  And this guy has no common sense.  He sees dollar signs instead of patients.  I see my neighbors.

Full Story on What’s Going on In Oregon – Militia Take Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge In Protest to Hammond Family Persecution…


I guess private property means nothing to the BLM.  And double jeopardy isn’t a legally prohibited thing any more.  I’m saying it again.  The Feds get their money from the STATES.  QUIT SENDING THEM MONEY.

 

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Source: Full Story on What’s Going on In Oregon – Militia Take Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge In Protest to Hammond Family Persecution…