Badger Billing Services to close

Ebix acquires clients and hires 15 new employees

Mequon-based Badger Billing Services Inc. plans to close in the first quarter of 2017.

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The company, which administers medical billing for private practice medical groups, has about 20 employees. It was founded in 1984 by a group of physicians who wanted to help private doctors with the business of their practices.

“There’s a number of (employees) who have already left and taken new jobs and some who have stayed on and are helping us complete the work, and there are those that have stayed on to do the work for another company,” said Bob Chang, co-owner and chief executive officer of Badger Billing. “We’re closely related to a medical group practice and some of the people will be staying on with the medical group practice to work there.”

Chang would not reveal the name of the medical group practice, but said it was Badger Billing’s largest client.

Badger Billing sold most of its 40 clients’ contracts to Greendale-based Ebix Inc. in June for an undisclosed price. The remaining Badger Billing employees are working to transfer the clients to Ebix in waves.

“The clients they didn’t acquire, we terminated,” Chang said. “We have been friendly competitors with Ebix for many years and have a high level of confidence in their work product and their business integrity.”

As for the reason for the closure, Chang said he and an undisclosed number of shareholders decided to leave the business.

Ebix offers medical billing as well as physician education, physician auditing and accounts receivable liquidations. It helps clients increase their revenue by up to 10 percent with its services, said Brian Nelson, president.

The company, which has clients in six or seven states, said with the new Badger Billing clients, it has taken a leading position among revenue cycle management firms in Wisconsin. Ebix created about 15 new jobs to accommodate the growth.

“We’re expanding our staff to accommodate the newly acquired clients, while making sure our current clients’ needs are met,” Nelson said. “We’ll be operating with over 75 staff members by the end of October.”

Nelson said Ebix also is in talks with several other health care billing firms about potential acquisitions, which he expects to complete in 2017. The firm’s growth is being driven by changes in health care reimbursement and regulations.

“It’s becoming a much more complicated industry that some of the smaller organizations don’t have the critical mass,” he said. “When the hospitals choose to employ physicians instead of having them remain independent, if a revenue cycle management firm, a billing firm loses clients because of that, if you lose critical mass, you aren’t able to provide the services…that’s kind of driving some of this also.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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