Archive for June, 2009

Obama Talks Health Care on ABC

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

As President Obama advocates for a health care system overhaul, many Americans are questioning how it will function as well as how the country will pay for it.  The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog profiled Obama’s televised town hall meeting on ABC last week to try and explain his plans in more detail.

The President assured Americans that the government will not force them to switch doctors or health insurance plans.  Also, private companies will still be able to choose different plans for their employees on their own.  However, critics argue that given a cheaper government option, most businesses will jump ship from private insurance companies. 

Health insurance companies feel threatened by the proposal, stating that a government program would put them out of business.  Obama responded to these concerns by admitting he wasn’t sure a government plan would be included in his final proposal.

Additionally, Obama explained that the funding for his health care system would either come from lowering the amount that wealthy Americans can deduct on their taxes or from taxing health benefits. Regardless of how he accomplishes this, many wonder if Obama will be the first president to solve the problem of uninsured Americans.

Little is known right now about how President Obama’s healthcare reform will affect healthcare vendors like medical billing and coding companies and/or temporary nurse staffing agencies. They will have to wait patiently to see how the President’s changes will affect them.

To read the entire Wall Street Journal Blog article, click here: Separating Fact from Fiction on Health-Care Reform

To view a clip of the town hall meeting, click here: President Obama Defends Right to Choose Best Care

For a full transcript of the meeting, click here: Questions for the President: Prescription for America

PRN Funding Prepares to Meet MTSOs

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Nashville, TN- For the fourth consecutive year, PRN Funding, LLC will be exhibiting at the annual Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) convention.  PRN Funding will be sharing information about factoring and how it can help medical transcription service owners maintain a positive cash flow in this uncertain economic time. 

From July 29-August 1, Nikki Flores and Stephanie Chmielecki will represent PRN Funding in booth #127.  Medical transcription service owners interested in a unique way of financing their business should stop by PRN Funding’s booth during exhibiting hours (10:00am-4:00pm) on July 30 as well as breakfast and lunch on July 31.

With years of experience in the medical transcription industry, PRN Funding has a precise understanding of the unique challenges within the medical transcription industry. PRN Funding offers financial resources to these companies by purchasing their accounts receivable–a process known as ‘factoring’, which provides the cash needed to sustain and grow a healthcare business.

How Nurse Staffing Agencies can Utilize LinkedIn

Friday, June 26th, 2009

The Haley Marketing Group talked up the advantages of LinkedIn, a social networking site for business people, in this week’s Net-Temps Recruiters e-newsletter.  The newsletter was in response to an inquiry from a staffing firm asking how and if they should use LinkedIn.  The temporary nurse staffing factoring specialists at PRN Funding thought this information would be useful to our staffing readers.

 

LinkedIn’s base of over 42 million people in 170 industries from all over the world is expanding by the second.  In fact, according to LinkedIn, one account is created every second.  But is LinkedIn becoming the next Facebook for business people? The Haley Marketing Group believes it is a powerful tool that can positively impact your medical staffing business.  Below are some of their tips for success.

 

  1. Maximize your network– Build a big network of former clients, prospective candidates, colleagues at former employers, alumni from schools you went to, and members of other groups you join.
  2. Use the company search– Find important executives who work at specific firms or recruit with LinkedIn by connecting with current or former employees in specific job functions.
  3. Use the people search tool– This feature allows you to search for candidates based on specific keywords they have listed in their profile.
  4. Use the group search tool– Find organizations and networking groups of people who are relevant to the types of prospects you are looking to hire. (Insert info about the “Temporary Nurse Staffing” Group here, and include the link.)
  5. Build your credibility– Ask for recommendations, share relevant articles with groups you join, and answer questions. 
  6. Keep people informed– Going to a trade show? Make sure you let people know when you are attending an event.
  7. Track your competition– Use the company search to see how they are utilizing LinkedIn.

Extinction of Small-Business Credit Moves Factoring into the Limelight

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Because it’s become increasingly harder for businesses to obtain bank financing, there is a general misunderstanding that accounts receivable factoring firms are booming in today’s economy.  However, the decrease in bank lending has not led to an increase in factoring.  On the contrary, businesses tend to use factoring companies because they do not meet the general lending criteria (i.e. profitable operating history, meaningful collateral) that banks require in order to extend credit.. On the other hand, with the number of alternative credit and lending sources drying up, the factoring industry will soon see an increase in business.

 

According to the National Small Business Association, 59% of America’s small businesses depended on credit cards for their daily operations in April (up 15% from last year).  Although small business credit accounts for roughly 11% of the revenue for Visa and MasterCard, as reported by David Robertson of The Nilson Report, the credit card industry cannot afford to take risks with struggling companies.

 

As mentioned in a previous factoring blog post, New Credit Card Reform Law Excludes Small Business Cardholders, President Obama’s recent credit card reform plan does not include small business cards.  However, there has been a congressional push to extend the reforms to small businesses, which limit extreme fees and interest rate hikes, but it will be a stretch when considering the delinquency rate among small businesses recently exceeded 12% (2% higher than the consumer delinquency rate).

 

The recent small business credit card changes are quickly affecting business owners’ ability to operate.  According to an article from The New York Times entitled “A Credit Squeeze for Small-Business Owners”, Floridian Jeannie Macone, who owns a home décor business, saw her interest rate jump to over 30% as well as her credit limit plummet to a measly $5,000.

 

Even though small business credit card financing is becoming harder to obtain, there is still one viable funding option available to small business owners trying to grow– Factoring.  Instead of waiting weeks or months to be paid by their customers, medical staffing and medical billing start-up companies could sell their receivables to a factoring firm and receive cash immediately.

 

What’s more, since banks are decreasing credit lines and raising the interest rates for small business credit cards, they will be looking for a new way to finance their business. So keep in mind that factoring brokers and cash flow consultants have an excellent opportunity right now to find new business and earn factoring commissions.  

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Billing Industry in Fast Growth Mode

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

While doctors’ offices are beginning to overflow, the demand for medical billing companies continues to rise.  The medical billing factoring specialists at PRN Funding came across an interesting article on Ocala.com and thought this information would be useful to our medical billing readers.

Accounting for about 17% of the U.S.’s GDP, the healthcare industry is growing at an alarming rate.  The reason for the sudden influx in the system is the 78 million baby boomers who are now approaching retirement.  Getting older means increased frequency in doctor visits, and medical billing companies are being called in as a result.

Because of this, doctors will need more time to deal with patient care and less time to handle the business side of their practices.  Instead of hiring full-time employees to take care of the billing, practices can save money in these harsh economic times by outsourcing this service to subcontractors.  Submitting claims, tracking denials, and making collections calls can be very time-consuming tasks. So many doctors will outsource the billing aspect of their business to a medical billing company.

Cyndee Weston, executive director of the American Medical Billing Association, reports that over the last 3 years, membership has increased 33%, from 900 members in 2006 to over 1,200 members currently.  “Health care providers have been slower to embrace the outsourcing of their billing, but with the downturned economy they’re trying to save money just like everyone else.  Billing is costly, especially when claims aren’t paid the first time.”

Click here to read the entire article: With doctors’ workloads increasing, medical billing becomes growth industry

Should Medical Staffing Agencies Lower Their Prices?

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

The Haley Marketing Group had a very business-wide applicable write-up in last week’s Net-Temps Recruiters e-newsletter, in which they broke down the consequences of lowering prices in a bad economy as well as thoughtful alternatives to price decreases. The newsletter was in response to an inquiry from a staffing firm asking if they should follow their competitors and lower their prices. The medical staffing factoring specialists at PRN Funding thought this information would be useful to our staffing readers. Below is a brief overview of Haley Marketing Group’s response. They claim that lowering prices is a bad idea because it:

  1. Devalues your services.
  2. Makes people think you were overpriced.
  3. Assumes price elasticity exists.
  4. Assumes price is the most important buying criteria.
  5. It will be almost impossible for you to raise your prices once the economy picks up again.

 Here are some of their suggestions to implement as alternatives to price decreases:

 

Bundle – offer a discount on a group of services.

Volume discounts – offering a discount for volume purchases does not damage your profitability.

Unbundle – give your clients the option to pick and choose the services they require and are willing to purchase.

Payment plans – offering better payment terms can be a great way to win business without cutting prices.

Prepayment discount – if your customer has the cash to pay upfront, offer a 10% discount on your services.

Increase your value – instead of cutting fees, find ways to deliver higher value services.

Throw in a little extra – give your clients a few “surprise” freebies to enhance your value and differentiate your services.

Cash Flow Concerns Rise as Confidence Levels on Economy Fall

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

The Discover Small Business Watch’s monthly index is confirming the general population’s dwindling confidence in the economy.  The index, which began surveying randomly selected small businesses in August 2006, fell more than 10 points in May to 78.1.  The survey poses six questions to small business owners and includes whether or not the owner plans to decrease spending on development and if the owner believes the economy is worsening. 

Ryan Scully, director of the Discover business credit card, explains that he, “…saw cash flow problems jump this month to their highest level in two and a half years, which is certainly not going to boost the optimism of a small-business owner, especially in this economic climate.”

In May, about half of small business owners surveyed have had short-term cash flow problems in the past 90 days (up from 40% from April) and another 53% say they have plans to reduce spending on business development over the next six months (up from 46% in April). 

Click here to read the entire article: Business Owners Report Cash Flow Concerns

2009 Healthcare Staffing Summit Comes to D.C.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

From September 14-16, the 2009 Healthcare Industry Analysts Staffing Summit will descend upon the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Topics of discussion include travel nursing, per diem nursing, locum tenens, and allied medical.  Highlighted by former U.S. Senate Majority and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, healthcare staffing participants will have the opportunity to listen in on several keynote speeches focusing on the healthcare industry’s history and what is to come in the future.

The conference kicks off on Monday with registration, orientation, and a networking event in the evening.  Exhibits will open on Tuesday in conjunction with moderated networking discussion sessions.

The healthcare staffing industry considers this conference as one of the two must-attend events of the year.

New Credit-Card Reform Law Excludes Small Business Cardholders

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It has been about a month since President Obama signed new credit-card reform laws.  The goal of the new reforms is to protect individual cardholders from long-term practices in the industry such as changing terms on short notice and unexpected jumps in interest rates.  However, the popular business credit cards that many small businesses have relied on for years will not be subject to the same change.

Card companies are combating the new law, which won’t go into effect until February 2010, by increasing rates on current business cardholders.  Small business cardholders are upset about the sudden increases, but they aren’t being left with many options; they can choose to close their accounts within a month of the announced increase to avoid the hit.

Paul Hartwick, a spokesman for Chase, is claiming the recent increases in small business credit cards is not due to the new law, but is instead based on, “borrower risk, market conditions, and the costs to us of making the loans…”

Congress attempted to include small businesses with fewer than 50 employees in the new law, but the effort failed.  There is a glimmer of hope, however, as the law ordered the Federal Reserve to monitor the use of small business credit cards and present their findings to Congress sometime next year.

Click here to read the entire article: No Relief for Small Business Cardholders.

Economic Recession is Helping the Nurse Shortage

Friday, June 12th, 2009

In the past, PRN Funding’s nurse staffing factoring specialists have blogged about the effects of the economy on the nurse shortage. Today’s Wall Street Journal had more proof that the economic decline is helping to ease the nursing shortage, though some people think that once the economy turns around, the the nursing shortage could quickly reignite.

Long story short, many nurses who had previously left the field during better economic times have been returning in droves to compensate for a spouse’s lost income and/or health benefits.

According to the WSJ article, about half of the nurses who boomeranged back into the profession were over 50. As those nurses continue to age and retire from the field entirely, the shortage will most likely widen.

Click here to read the entire article: Nursing Shortage Eases With Recession’s Help.