How We Became Insurance Experts

 

Epson CPM Computer

W

hen I started into practice back in the 1980’s only the banks had computers. Then starting about 1983 or so PCs or “Personal Computers” began to come on the market and I was keenly interested in them. I eventually bought an Epson QX-10. It had two floppy disk drives and the operating system was CPM – that was the precursor to DOS. I had bought the computer to help me do bookkeeping.

Along about that time my wife Sheila came to work for me in the chiropractic office. At that time we were typing insurance claim forms on a manual underwood typewriter. We would file claims and if we got a rejection from the insurance company, Sheila took it personal. “We are working twice for our money!” she would say. “We have to earn it from the patient first and then turn around and earn it again from the insurance company. I’m not doing this anymore!”

So with that “incentive” I began looking to my new computer for some help. At that time there was basically only one software package on the market and it was $30,000.00. I knew I couldn’t afford that so I thought “maybe I could write a program that we could use to fill out the top and bottom part of the claim form, that way all Sheila would have to do is to type in the services and the claim totals.”

Chiropractic ClinicAnd so I began, with no training, to write a computer program. In due time a created a program that you would type in the information on a patient. If you made a mistake you would have to start over – you couldn’t go back and edit. Once you had the information entered you could print claim forms, say 5 or 10. The patient information was not saved so that if you needed more claim forms for that patient, you would have to start all over. Not exactly elegant but a real time saver none-the-less. From that starting point, I was soon able to save, retrieve and edit the patient information. Then I added the ability to put services on the claim form. One momentous new years day we went to the office and printed out 53 claim forms!

Gradually I realized that I might have something I could sell. With great trepidation, I sold my practice, moved to Atlanta, started a new company called FormSmith, bought a DOS computer and began writing a new program that we could market.

When we began selling software, we went to the doctor’s office, set up a computer, installed the software and did a day of training. At that time we were working with clients of a practice management group called Practice Consultants. All of a sudden, they noticed that their clients that got the FormSmith system had dramatic increases in income. Since they had clients all over the country, we got to travel all over doing installations. This exposure gave us a nationwide overview of the subject of insurance processing in the chiropractic office.

FormSmith Insurance ManualWe had always assumed that everyone knew how to do insurance but after doing several installations, we realized that although we had learned to do insurance properly it did not mean that everyone else did. Unfortunately, the way we learned to do insurance was by the “one-mistake-at-a-time” method. This is the most frustrating and expensive way to learn insurance. So we put together an insurance manual and started teaching insurance workshops.

And now with the advent of the web we have adapted our workshop to online courses and are offering them under the brand name ChiroWise.

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