PoP 235 | Insurance Billing With Kathryn And Jeremy Zug

Insurance Billing

In this episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Kathryn and Jeremy Zug about insurance billing and more!

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In This Podcast


In this podcast, I chat to Kathryn and Jeremy Zug about their journey to starting Practice Solutions, a private practice billing company. They share the story of how they met along with how they developed their company and what makes it different to other billers. Furthermore, gain invaluable tips and advice about to look for when partnering with a billing company!

Part 1: Love In College

Jeremy and Kathryn met at a Freshman Orientation on Kathryn’s birthday. Her initial impression of him was not great due to the fact that he kept getting her name wrong!

Part 2: Disruption

Although both studied ministry, Jeremy ended up doing insurance billing for private practice and Kathryn looked after the children for a family and was involved in project management. She learnt a lot about business through both positions.

Part 3: Launching a Business We Never Thought We Would Launch

They then both launched Practice Solutions and discovered:

  • Therapists aren’t the best at business
  • It’s difficult to market therapy

They learnt that it comes down to who you know and how you know them.

Practice Solutions does the following differently to other billers:

  • Transparency
  • Credible
  • Detail-orientated / organized
  • Affordable

Useful Links:

Visit Practice Sol and use the promo code “iknowjoe” to get your 15% off of your first month!

Meet Kathryn Zug

Kathryn is the Founder and CEO of Practice Solutions, a medical billing company for the mental and behavioral health industry. She works with different therapists across the country making sure that they have healthy practice revenue and can focus on care. She started her career with a bachelor’s degree in pre-counseling with the hopes of becoming a therapist herself, but that plan took a turn when she spent a couple years in downtown Chicago’s financial world working at a Private Equity Firm. From there she took her passion for the mental health world and combined it with her passion for healthy business. Today she spends all her energy growing and innovating her company to meet the needs of therapists country-wide.

Meet Jeremy Zug

Jeremy grew up in the Pacific Northwest where he discovered his passion for people. He decided to go to college in Chicago to further develop his skills working with people and pursue a degree in counseling. While in Chicago he worked for a group practice as a practice biller and marketing manager. This initiated his desire to pursue learning about the business of Private Practice, particularly medical billing. He now lives in Michigan with his wife of 3 years. They both are pursuing their passion of helping helpers maintain sustainable and compliant billing practices. In his free time, Jeremy loves reading, fishing, biking, hiking, and camping.



Meet Joe Sanok

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.




Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

Pop 235 | Insurance Billing With Kathryn And Jeremy Zug

[0:00] I’m a mix of fear and excitement which almost feel the same at times it’s like you’re jumping off of the diving board and the.

[0:08] Music.

[0:16] This is the practice of the practice podcast with joe sanok session number two hundred and thirty five.

[0:22] Music.

[0:34] Oh doing three parts in part one we’re gonna be talking about love in college.
In part two we going to be discussing disruption when things and careers don’t go exactly how we planned and I’m part 3 launching a business.
That we never thought we would launch stay tuned today i’m joe sanok back from practice of the practice.
We’re gonna be talking all about loving college disruption launching a business with jeremy and katherine.

[1:05] Music.

[1:14] She is in germany side and i’m a partner at practice solutions.
I met jeremy and katherine a couple of months ago and we’ve talked on the phone a few times.
And they were on way to a barbecue while we are talking about their insurance business and stake thinking.
Is there some pretty cool people i’d love to hear more of their back story my junior year of high school i started attending a different church than my parents i was kind of getting.
Tired of the trip and going to wasn’t really challenging insight lawfully owned this other church.
And when i got there i joined the youth group to college or high school ministry group therapy and the leaders that were there.
I graduated from moody bible institute in chicago and they have both studied biblical studies.
In counseling actually was the other than wasted counseling husband dental studies.
And i never heard of it i have heard of a ton of liberal arts colleges is specifically like taylor university your who.
And they kinda made it seem like.
If you wanna go into ministry of any kind this is the place you need to be so there is this almost challenge to for me and my girl then i better go to school.
That is to carry it to do that.
And so i kind of was on a mission from there on just the head to chicago and i didn’t really know what i wanted major accident city manager quite a few times.

[2:52] And yes i got to chicago to begin with in germany what about you have hundred and up in chicago.
So in about moody through some friends but i was going up any administered household where my dad was a pastor active tractor one point.
So in.
I heard about the school through bunch of different avenues and a similar to a conference and it had this reputation of being like the place for this specific niche.
I’m so of course you gonna go somewhere and do anything you should get the nitty credential right so that’s why i went there.
That was quite a culture shock as you can imagine i grew up in cali style in idaho and nevada.
And just like red hiking and camping and then you move to the concrete jungle where things are very very different so that’s how i landed in chicago.
Yeah so hoagies me i can tell this story because it’s a funny show.
We met at an a freshman orientation.

[4:03] Sort of get togethers between my floor and catherine’s force of caffeine is in the first day.
It was her eighteenth birthday but nobody knew that should know anybody so that’s kinda funny and her first impression me when,
was not very good and i couldn’t for the life of me remember her name i thought her name was kaitlyn for the longest time which kind of bothered her for a while over to make it clearer kaitlyn and the halls and do.
I think and i write the game of the person that i didn’t care about her name at all as the dead wood for most people so that’s how we.
And we have never.
Yeah i don’t have any class we took speech together and all glasses that was one of the required freshman courses and i think it was are second semester and i walk in the class after christmas break,
it is the only person i had a small white.
Oh no i have to talk to this person to them i’m hoping that i can just look into the class and sit down and without doing the obligatory one c away.

[5:17] Music.

[5:31] Suggest me and katherine start studying together eventually the fall more and more in love and get married and they realize that.
What they thought was ministry for them in being involved in the church was completely different think if we had such a zero understanding of what it looks like we had kind of a safe understanding of what it looks like to serve in the church almost like.
You can’t serve at church and listening and full time.
I can’t make a difference in ministry unless your committed a hundred percent there is no such thing as.

[6:07] Everyday job that goes with.

[6:11] So catherine starts interviewing for a nanny jobs and doesn’t realize what’s about to happen.
And i interview in like january for this job and never heard my interview is like a first line of interviews with the new team service and i never heard back so i just assumed that it was done.
But it would have been like a lifesaver for us financially because by the time we were done i was getting into this job.
We are considering marriage lasting we’re engaged.
So i was really thinking on and never back but then like three months later i got a phone call asking you still interested because i guess the person they hired was a little bit of like.
I live everywhere every three months and move kind of person so basically they asked if i wanted to the second round of interviews.
I was like sure so i went into my second interview and it was the most interesting and not of ever had because the owner of the private equity firm.

[7:17] Then i went to the.
And the whole interview fuse asking me about god and i’m thinking scenic oh my gosh this is gonna be the worst interview of my life he thinks i’m crazy.
Turn that i got that come so i can leave one of your more ice but ended up doing that for about two years.
And they were awesome to me and i want a lot about business and a lot of acquisition and.
Journey about time was working in a private practice doing going to the gym and how did you go from.
Thinking of doing minister to working during billing in a private practice so that’s a great question so.
During my time there I decided to change Majors to counseling that’s a major that they offer.
Because my mom is actually therapist and my dad had worked in behavioral health before that an author is will i have worked in community my house which was fantastic says my first exposure to my house and is a particular.
Group of people that really need help that couldn’t afford and where were disenfranchised white stuff.
Searching for a major and then got a job at a private practice in downtown chicago with five therapists and the owner of that.
I was also very good to me and let me be involved in a lot of the business stuff and a lot of the marketing of the practice and he let me do my internship there and.

[8:58] I treated me very well and taught me a lot actually and tommy.
About how the business side of private practice is a necessity and perhaps even.
The service side of the industry and show in that’s really where i started to flesh out my desire to go into.
Billing recovery and that was an amazing opportunity and he also was the guy who helped me network a lot in chicago so.
Screw him and through a lot of our professors mean that a lot of therapists use shared a similar concern.
So that’s kind of where it started yet so jeremy when you decided that you’re going to go into medical billing instead of ministry like i would imagine there some emotions yet to sort through if your narrative had bad and.
Hey like you have to work and church and like what emotions are you going through during that time how to process that.
I think it was mainly excited I mean I had the support of my family of course there wasn’t a.
Never having some sort of family pressure to go into ministry that was my choice it was it was an interesting shift so emotions mix of fear and excitement which almost feel the same at times.
It’s like your jumping off the diving board and the great unknown so that was more was like because i knew the ins and outs or i.
That’s the only thing is a challenge but it’s also incredibly exciting and rewarding so is sort of how it felt at the time.

[10:34] Is jeremy was talking i was thinking about what are some of the bullet points business that he learned during that phase because so often it’s it’s nice to have just like what are the quick and dirty things that we should know that he took away from that.

[10:49] One i learned and say something offensive especially when the therapist perhaps on the gas at business what do.
I am a lot of their december i that didn’t likes that money.
So as a biller was sort of like what do you mean you gotta pay the bills and stuff.
So that was that was the first one to the second one was a limited incredibly difficult to market for power there be peace its like another product rights if i told.
So excited cars series but the features of the cars it’s easy to look at examples and owners of the cars for testimonials.
It’s very challenging can do therapy really ms people up for a volunteer for without violating some sort of people i know.
So marketing for private practice was very difficult to talk about your product without.
Getting into the details for your project is really so that was released.
That was very touching to that would you learn how to overcome that.

[11:58] We learned that it is one hundred percent about who you know and how you know them right everybody’s like it’s all about you know what kind of but it’s not how you know them so the owner of this practice had a fantastic reputation chicago.

[12:12] Music.

[12:19] Or positions and rick certain practices in businesses that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise it’s his reputation and been so great so really was off the relationship building i love that idea.

[12:33] Music.

[12:47] Yeah i mean.
Well we’ve talked with even jerry’s mom yeah she just started this practice and she came to us as we both we both did counseling injury both interned in private practice and.
I think for me i was like don’t be afraid to reach out to your local churches your local businesses.
Your local schools even to see if they be willing to do some kind of.
Contractual partnership with you that they would use you as a referral source for hospitals or you know.
A lot of it sounds intimidating because i’m eating all the samples to people that you know me don’t know you or.

[13:32] Yeah but you’re putting yourself out there but at the same time and like i think that those strategic partnerships can be a lot more effective than just canvassing told to single individuals that make sense.

[13:46] So then you guys are saying chicago you as head out for a bit we did it how do you decide to leave and where go.

[13:56] Yeah well it will do the context for why we left chicago.

[14:02] Well we are full time students i had as working three hours a week in their community our in to school.
And by the time we finished we are so burnt out that we raisins and house.
Cuz basically you know we’re doing 20 hours a week of school 30 hours a week of work.
This commute so actually our last semester of school and we had this liam or.
That’s told us we are on month to month and use it as the new few months of notice it when your ready to leave my golf course so on is snowing in relating in december cuz that’s when we were graduating.
We told him that we were planning on leaving and he swiftly.

[14:49] Kick us out of our current oh no so last couple of school we had to buy some where to live.
So we ended up moving an hour out of the city to live with me we didn’t now and they were having some major family.
Issues with her kids while we were there and it was really uncomfortable so by the end of the year we finished our last class even think we got out of our last final exam we talk for professor like we need to get out of the situation.
So the last day of school impact of car he drove from school to my parents house in michigan.
Or like you know what words can only and here’s only the parents house for month or so.
Just because we were legally leave and then we ended up finding a place in arbor but the private equity firm that i work for the company harder.
And so i can be with them and they hired me as their project manager.
And i worked there for two years since then.

[15:53] So so then when does practice solutions to come on your radar as.
So what you guys wanna do as a business so in probably october november group of service in workplace in cali sound so in montana during my time in high school and he now house.
It started to take the lead into private practice and go as you know that only he is really scary right you’re figuring out tax names.
Credentialing handling your figuring out where you’re going to practice your phone bill like all these little details.
And so we intercepted a lot of those colleagues and co-workers in the midst and that craziness rights are about four five of them that said jeremy without gas how do we bell,
what is the claim form how we fill this out you know.
They were doing it by hand actually so that was really fun to go over how to fill out a claim my hands is something i never done before back had printed claim so.
So that group of people we have provided good advice to and it got to the point where they asked if we would.
Become a company and then they would use us as their builder said exactly did right we have the clientele.
We knew we had the revenue coming in when you these people and people to buy products from companies they buy things from people.

[17:31] So we have the reputation we have the skills so we build the infrastructure on top of our client base and that’s kind of how we became so ever since then we’ve continue to network and build relationships with.
They’re pissed all over the country and so that’s how it goes you know so we’re putting to good use a lot of the skills and relationships that we.
I have built over the years but recently started as late as in the holler friends or colleagues really turned into this thing that i found a lot more people actually needed.
Why i love because i think often times people create a product and then they hope to find an audience but over and over the people that i,
find their most successful are those that have some sort of audience or connections or people that say it would be great if you started acts.
And then create something from that desire vs i’m gonna try to sell something i have no idea if anyone’s gonna five.
This is so true and then you museum in finland or norway everywhere but the museum of failures.
But yeah i mean you’re exactly right joe and that’s what we did you know was retailer are systems and how we do business to white people wanted.
Right in and came home one day and said you’re mad at me because he was working eighty hours a week already but i have this idea was to her.
And he’s like no and he told me i was like hey that’s a good fish what i think that’s we’re even in private practice.

[19:09] People sometimes will start a group and vehicle wise nobody coming vs,
i’m gonna talk to other practitioners and find out in my community what’s lacking okay we don’t have any eating disorder group well if i’ve specialty in the area maybe i should start that were,
no a men’s group or an anger management whatever versus just like i’m gonna create some posters and put around town and nobody by.
What’s new let’s just talk to some people get a little bit of an audience find out what’s lacking and then create a product out of that,
then you have built in people that are mature leaders and advocates for you because you took what their problem was and so it will let me create the solution so that you can refer clients to me.
Exactly so when you started structuring practice solutions.
What did you want to have the look or parts of it there may be different than typical billing companies you guys do something that are pretty unique.
And that’s why you i’m really selective about who i interview and who i talk to cuz frequently i get all sorts of giving people that want to be on the podcast to talk about some products and then just like.
You know that has the right fit for the culture practice the practice and you guys really stand out in a different way.
When you evaluate the things that may be you want to have your part of your company that the typical below didn’t have what were some of those bullet points.

[20:27] I think there are two main things that we.
Really wanted our company didn’t see and the first one is transparency.
A lot of billing companies will just have therapists and weekly or monthly super bowls of all the sessions they’ve done.
And those colors will then submit those claims and money will go to the therapist as it he’s how.
And i think the danger with that is that will at least experience we’ve had plenty of clients call us wanting to switch because.
It was such a mystery to them what was going on behind the scenes you know they don’t actually know when claim got denied they didn’t know if it even got a minute.
Because there wasn’t really a an audit hacker and.
In excel that are in the kitchen if that makes sense to kind of see what was going on and i know that a lot of their past but rather not know,
but they wanna know if they should expect not to have money coming in.
Well you guys are talking about a lady that was on vacation and just started working with you tell me on here that story and i have some questions i didn’t have answer ask before we start talking.
Yes we have this client that we start working with in may.
And the belt seem to be working with she was one of the ones that switch because it was such a mystery in her background before being there test was accounting so she has some idea of what total white rate.

[22:03] And.

[22:06] And she is much originally contact us use like i think that they’ve missed a couple claims and i was like okay so we started going back through her teaching because she had been using their no such as the hr that we use.
But she had been using for billing just for notes so she had all of her notes in the system and all of the sessions we had to go back to the beginning of the year and still and all of her payments from insurance.
And as we were calling insurance companies to sd to get those payments correctly to put in we actually found.
Twenty claims from the first quarter of the year that has just never been submitted she had progress note and everything so we know we have proof that actually happened.
But it was never submitted so we’re talking now that’s twenty five hundred dollars of claims that just for an emerson and it.

[23:02] And did you guys collar washer is on vacation letter now she came back we call her right after she got back and i have.
Hey how would you like how would you like to have twenty five hundred more dollars on that he should.
If you like how can i do that because i hate you and we’re you know proceeded to tell her and you know if andy’s mix of like in her that she pay for that service but also like.

[23:29] Super happy to have some extra money and they come in and it wasn’t expected you know.

[23:35] So jimmy tell me little bit about what are some other like red flags that.
You should know the billing like i don’t wanna just say evansville as bad cuz that’s not true but so that lacking transparency but what are some things that released counselors if they’re using insurance should be aware of.
Question they can ask for bill or maybe would be a better question.
Sure one thing that i think is really important is credentialing or getting a certification.
Write the idea that you’re going to outsource protected health information and financial information.
Turn individual who doesn’t have a few letters behind their name perhaps is not the best idea you know so that’s one you wanna know that they have one investment to learn about the industry to continuing education.
Whatever commitment to maintaining compliance procedures pick you look at them penalties of claim friday and claim abuse and it’s not that hard to do those things either.
And you can lose your license you’ll pay fines and fifty thousand dollars per date of service.
Or if you say so your saying the counselor would could lose their license not the builder oh yeah right exactly so so if you have a builder who’s doing things that’s negligence or fraudulent.
It is depends on the therapist right now the dealer can also have some legal penalties but.

[25:07] Camera and reflects on therapists and that’s really important that you have somebody who knows what they’re doing who’s up to date on the laws regulations.
Am so that’s the first thing credentials or commensurate experience.
Joe’s to introduce been doing this for fifteen years would probably know or somebody with experience in that in the mental health field.
Write to somebody’s aware of the codes and the challenges of the mental health industry will definitely be something you’d want to ask.
And then the second just a character thing so we heard from a friend the three c’s of hiring somebody character competence and chemistry.
So one of those character things that you want is someone who is detail oriented and organized.
So when it comes of billing is that you can get lost in the weeds pretty quick which is how billy’s mistakes and service c somebody’s gonna be working is tries efficient clean systems.
And who were details really so and you get that information from a referral from a colleague shows if i am talking to a therapist about how do i know my tiller is the real deal right.
Ask ask your friends if they use them and they know it’s me who’s used them and that’s the way to go for sure awesome.
So when you guys launch practice solutions you guys had transparencies one of your core things you look at it and being credential being detail oriented having clean efficient systems.

[26:45] What else did you really determine as part of practice solutions.
Yeah the big thing one and is for it to be formal i mean there are so many billing companies out there that i truly think god people for money and saying all the ports their quality billing companies out there.
You know there are companies that charge anywhere up to fifteen percent of collected revenue which to me is robbery think that the same.

[27:16] But we charge.
A third of that and we don’t charge anything for data migration we don’t charge anything for set up twenty minutes your integration with set up like for people that don’t know what that means what would that.
Sure so it’s because we use a specific hr there scan it and need to migrate all of your peace information and notes for the current year that your answer that you have a clean.
File for the year so that when you go to do your tax returns in the year you don’t have to double between multiple different you know software says.
Then so in that case thirty to forty five days so basically what we’re saying is we get paid.
We get paid for that we want to do that make that as painless as possible for the rest because.
Nobody wants to do on a date immigration first place it’s kind of a nightmare and we try to handle as much of it as possible without having to make the burden of their past.
But then to charge someone on top of that to me is it seems like even more of a pain right you doing something you don’t want and you have to pay for.

[28:30] Let’s invite migrations that so we have that thirty to forty five a period before we actually start services of making sure there file is ready to go.
Gotcha okay.
Wow so many things to think about as you’re doing insurance billing and i know bunch people to listen ar can private pay but for those that have insurance as part of your model will talk a little bit about how they can connect with you guys but.
If every counselor in the world were listening right now every practice owner katherine what would you want them to know.

[29:03] I want them to know that they should be working with somebody that.
Cares about the financial health of the practice and cares about their patients getting the care and jimmy would you.

[29:20] So one thing i will say which is out of a book that i read during my internship i believe it’s called the million dollar private practice i think is name is can steal.
If i remember right to get a quote in there about how the long way is the sure way to shortly is really the long way.
Is quote meaning if you cut Corners eventually you’re going to have to go back and clean up the mess of that I mean that tends to come around and bite you later.
And versus doing things the right way the first time so certain doing the right thing the right way at the right time.
So that would be the thing i would say is the long way is really to short way just side.
Yeah continue on its health keeping on keeping on so that’s the one thing i would say.
That’s awesome and so is practice solutions you guys can head over to practicesol.com/joe on you guys actually have a deal for listeners if the use of special code are gonna get fifteen percent off visit the first month.

[30:26] Yes if they say the code mention the code in joe they can get fifteen percent off their first service where the services at very cool thank you so much jeremy and kathryn for being impacts the practice podcast have an awesome day.

[30:43] Music.

[30:51] Today was a little different format and i would love to hear your thoughts on it took me longer to edit and can jump in there and get my comments but would love to hear if you like it heated.
You can tweet me of the practice or am i on facebook or drop me an email joe at practice of the practice.
You guys are great again head on over to practicesol.com for selections go through the pain of that deal to get fifteen percent off your first month,
katherine and jeremy are the real deal and i’m really happy that they are part of the connections here we have practice of the practice.
Thanks for letting me into yours into your brain next week something that you do on your website i really admire in and like is that your income reports.
And how you actually posts your very visible about the income you make in your their consulting as well as your therapy practice.
I’m so help us a little bit about how that came about and why do you actually published doesn’t make them available for anybody to look at.

[31:49] Music.

[31:55] Special thanks to the dance ounces sexy and this podcast is designed by acting for keeping commissioner.
It is gonna understand me the host for the gas for the publisher rendering legal accounting clinical or other professional information,
you need professional go find one.

[32:11] Music.

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