8 Ways to Earn Extra Income From Medical Activities

Leigh Page

Disclosures

March 22, 2016

In This Article

Opportunities for Increased Income

1. Perform Claim Reviews

Reviewing insurance claims is a part-time gig that can be done at home—or anywhere else, for that matter. Your work will be sent to you via the Internet, by an independent review organization (IRO).

IROs are outside companies that health insurers engage to address concerns that they might be improperly denying claims, says Heather Fork, MD, owner of Doctor's Crossing, a career consulting firm for physicians. The National Association of Independent Review Organizations, which represents these groups, provides a list[1] of IROs on its website.

"All of this work can be done online," says Barry Korn, MD, national medical director of Concentra Physician Review, an IRO based in Addison, Texas. Dr Korn says that a few hundred physicians work for Concentra as part-time reviewers. These doctors determine the medical necessity of coverage requests that have been flagged by Concentra's nurse-reviewers. They also perform more extensive reviews that involve looking back at a particular patient's treatment over an extended period, he says.

Dr Fork says IROs usually pay $85-$200, or more, per hour. At Concentra, for example, Dr Korn says payments range from $100 to $150 per hour or more, on the basis of the physician's qualifications and specialty. (Certain specialties, such as cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, and psychiatry, tend to be more in demand.) 

The IROs, however, expect a lot in return for such compensation. "Physicians who do this work need to be prompt, accurate, and reliable," Dr Fork says. "These companies often want a 24-hour turnaround," to meet deadlines they've agreed to with the insurance companies. "Many IROs also require some degree of continued clinical practice," she adds.

You might have to pick up the phone once in a while, too. "If there's insufficient information in the clinical record, the reviewer calls the patient's physician to have a peer-to-peer conversation," Dr Korn says. "The call has basically two purposes: to obtain information and to educate the physician on current evidence-based guidelines."

To obtain this work, Dr Korn says physicians need to go through a rigorous credentialing process that takes a month or two. If accepted, the physician starts with online training at home. That said, some states, such as Texas, restrict this work to physicians licensed within the state, Dr Korn says.

Pros: You can do this work at home and make decent money.

Cons: You may need to meet very tight deadlines.

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