Founded in 1993 by Liz Menduke, CHBME, Primary Billing Service, Inc staff are experts in all aspects of medical insurance billing and collections. Liz Menduke, CHBME has been certified by the Healthcare Billing and Management Association which will assure you the utmost in excellence and professionalism for your medical billing needs.
At Primary Billing Service, Inc., we possess in-depth knowledge in current industry laws, standards and guidelines pertaining to insurance coverage and filing procedures. We are well versed with all aspects of medical billing and our comprehensive experience includes Medicare, Medi-CAL, HMO, IPA, POS, EPO, PPO, Worker's Compensation and private indemnities. We maintain awareness of Relative Value Study (RVS), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9) and multiple specialty practice nomenclatures.
Primary Billing Service, Inc. is bonded and a member of both the California Medical Billing Association and the Healthcare Billing and Management Association. We are qualified to serve as an expert witness for county, state and federal jurisdiction court testimony. We're equipped with the most advanced medical coding/billing programs, analysis tools and Internet tools available today including California Medical Systems Medical Practice Expert Plus, codecorrect.com, HEALTHCARE INTELLIGENCE NETWORK, CODING & REIMBURSEMENT NETWORK, ORTHOPEDIC DISCUSSION LIST and PODIATRY CODING DISCUSSION LIST online discussion groups.
Liz Menduke, CHBME is a contributing author for several billing and coding resources including "Coding 911" and "Podiatry Coding Alert". Liz also serves on the Publicity Committee for the Healthcare Billing and Management Association. In addition, she has served as a billing and management consultant to hospital billing departments as well as private practice providers.
We have the knowledge and experience you need in a Medical Billing and Collections service
Torrance woman's the 'Billing Queen'
Liz Menduke puts flair for details to work for doctors.
By Muhammed El-Hasan, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 09/01/2008 10:46:31 AM PDT
Liz Menduke, 47, owns Primary Billing Service Inc., a Torrance firm that performs billing services for more than 100 medical offices in the South Bay and across the state. (Scott Varley/Staff Photographer)
The license plate of Liz Menduke's black Lexus coupe reads "BILNG QN," for billing queen.
But in 1993, when Menduke started her business in a "glorified closet" in Torrance, she was far from royalty.
"I got a loan of $5,000 and I started my business with two computers and software. And I ran out of money," Menduke recalled. "I had no desk and no chairs. And the guy I rented from felt sorry for me and gave me a folding chair and a desk."
She held tight for three months before she finally landed her first client.
The Torrance resident employs about 40 people in 6,000 square feet of space near Torrance Memorial Medical Center. It is her fifth office in 15 years.
"We sort of kept growing and moving to bigger places," Menduke said. "The (current) office was strategically chosen so the doctors who pass my office will see my sign. And it has helped."
Menduke estimates her business grows about 10 to 12 percent a year. The medical billing industry is largely recession-proof, Menduke said.
"Unfortunately, people get sick no matter how the economy is doing," she explained.
Primary Billing Service bills Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurance companies on behalf of physicians in numerous medical specialties.
Collecting the money involves sending electronic insurance claims, calling to follow up and sometimes nagging reluctant insurance companies.
"We are the insurance company's worst nightmare because we are the squeakiest wheel there is. Because if the insurance company doesn't pay, we don't get paid," she said. "We're not doing anything magical. We're only saying, `Hey, these are the rules you set. Now you have to follow them."'
Menduke's company usually charges doctors 8 percent of insurance reimbursements.
Primary Billing Service also calls patients to collect payment.
"Most people don't know we exist," she said. "The patients don't realize we're not in the doctor's office. Sometimes they call us for appointments or lab results. So we're perfectly invisible."
Menduke also keeps up with the industry's latest rules and regulations and passes on that information to clients.
"It's our job to educate the doctors on what they can and can't bill for," she said. "It's an easy way for doctors to concentrate on treating patients and just not worry about the business part."
While most of her staff members either work in data entry or collections, Menduke sees her main job as coming up with new ideas to improve her business.
"I'm always looking to streamline things," she said. "I'm always looking to use technology to do things."
For example, several years ago, Menduke purchased software to post data. The software reduced the time to complete the task from two weeks to 20 minutes.
"I sit in here and try to think outside the box," she said as she sat on a sofa in her office. "I'm as creative as I could be in medical billing."
Wearing a gray pantsuit, Menduke explained the large wall clock across from her desk. "I always know the time," she said. "Time is money."
Menduke described herself as a driven Type A personality. She added that there are two versions of herself.
"There's the work me and the home me," she said. "The home me is a lot more easygoing, a lot more kickback, very much like a kid. It's all about having fun."
Carl Wagreich, a Torrance podiatrist and one of Menduke's earliest clients, described her as a "very strong woman" with good people skills.
"You wouldn't necessarily think of a woman being the head of this type of enterprise," Wagreich said. "She definitely has good skills with people. And as a billing service, if you don't have that you're causing nothing but misery."
Menduke grew up in New York listening to her father talk about the insurance brokerage he owned.
"He would come home and talk about work, and I was incredibly interested in what he was saying," Menduke recalled.
Menduke attended Kingsborough Community College in New York to study business. She left after a year to move to California with a boyfriend.
She found a job doing billing at a South Bay doctor's office. With little instruction, she "just figured it out by trial and error."
It was about 1982 and Menduke was only 21. But she would eventually realize she did not want to be someone else's employee forever. Eleven years later, after her fourth billing job, she went off on her own.
"I was working in the doctors' offices and I was making some minimal income. And I would get a raise, maybe 50 cents or a dollar an hour," she said. "And I figured if I wanted to make some real money, I couldn't just stay there."
In the beginning, Meduke often leaned on her father for advice.
"When I started the company, I would call him a lot and ask him questions," she said. "I still call him every Saturday."