Monday, December 1, 2014

Getting Paid in a High Deductible Landscape

Physicians getting paid
It's time to have the
"money conversation".
To thrive in the new healthcare environment it is vital to address the shift toward cost sharing where patient portions are a bigger piece of your reimbursement pie.

Patients’ financial responsibility has increased dramatically with rising co-pays and one-third of U.S. workers on high deductible plans. Practices can no longer afford to write-off as much as half of patient portions!

You and your staff members must take a firmer stand on patient collections, and do so in a way that works for patients too. Upfront financial conversations with patients are now an essential part of medical practice. It’s not easy for staff to have the “money conversation” but its necessary. Taking a patient-centered approach can boost collections and ease the process for staff -- while showing patients you’re on their side too!

Here are the main issues to consider when formulating your approach:

  • What are the best practices for discussing financial obligations with patients?
  • How can you use the power of HealthIT to influence patient expectations?
  • What communication techniques for staff best boost Point of Service (POS) and Over the Counter (OTC) revenue collections?
  • What are the ways to obtain team support to improve collection efforts throughout the practice?
  • What financial policies and procedures work?
  • How do you educate patients about their coverage and coverage options, especially newly insured patients?
  • How should you discuss, write up and execute patient payment plans?

Here is a resource that can help. Its a 60 minute, recorded webinar (in CD format with handouts) by Cheryl Bisera that addresses these questions. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to Layoff and Not Get Sued

medical practice layoffs
Medical Practice Layoffs
Some employment-law attorneys report an increase in discrimination suits. Threatened layoffs raise tensions, and worries about unemployment often create unrest and anger among employees. A staffer may react to losing his or her job by finding a lawyer to come after you.

If you expect to have to lay off some employees, you had better pay close attention to every detail in order to reduce your risk. Some of the details to keep in mind include:
  • Create a layoff-selection policy that puts all employees on a level playing field.
  • If using performance as one of the criteria, ensure that you’ve properly documented staff evaluations and discipline actions.
  • Use caution when refilling terminated positions.
  • Relax reference-giving rules for laid off employees and document the variation.
  • Offer a severance package.
  • Get the laid off worker to sign a release from employment liability.
  • Handle announcements with care.
  • Give layoff notices privately, on the employees’ last day.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Physician Alignment

In light of the evolution of healthcare, physician alignment is a legitimate issue for providers who now function in the era of accountable care. The dilemmas providers face are less about whether to align with other entities and more about how to ensure success. Many options are available. The key issue is how to arrive in the best situation possible.

To prepare, participants must stay informed, stay flexible, be realistic, and prepare in advance for changes that are certain to occur over the duration of the arrangement. Possibly the most volatile area is the need for appropriate compensation. The most vital area, perhaps, is the call for physician leadership.

There's a new book out written by Max Reiboldt, CEO of Coker Group, titled "Physician Alignment: Ensuring Success with Negotiations, Payment Systems, and Education of Stakeholders".  The book attempts to address the challenges of ensuring successful physician alignment.

The purpose of the book is to help readers to:
  • Understand the different alignment options available to practitioners.
  • Learn how each of the alignment options fits in with the future of healthcare, including ACOs and risk-based payer contracts.
  • Recognize the benefits and challenges of physician alignment outside of a hospital relationship; 
  • Identify the critical success factors in an alignment model.
  • Develop strategies related to creating a new alignment relationship with other physicians or investors.
  • Educate the key stakeholders on how to be involved in the process from concept to implementation and beyond. 

The options that are available continue to attest that no one model of alignment fits every scenario, specialty, or marketplace. The challenges and pitfalls are predictable. The resources in this book identify a clear pathway to ensuring success with negotiations, payment systems, and education of stakeholders.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How Would You Rate Your Medical Practice on Answering and Using the Phone?

telephone in the medical practice
The telephone is the lifeline of your practice. It has been a critical component for all businesses, healthcare or otherwise, since the early 1900s when the telephone became a household device. No matter what technology or medium exists today that allows patients to communicate with you and your staff, or how easy it has become for them to learn more about your practice from the Internet, the phone still sits front and center as the key ingredient in their doctor selection process.

Some would argue that the Information Age has simplified the decision-making process for all of us; an equally valid argument can be made that instead, it has drastically complicated things! With so much information available on the web with the click of a button, and an overabundance of medical experts who now have quicker access to patient’s eyeballs and ear drums, people in search of medical advice constantly find themselves having to determine which expert is right and which one is wrong. This only makes your job as a healthcare provider more difficult.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Techniques for Improving Appointment Scheduling in the Medical Practice

(If you find the following blog post helpful, you'll probably want to invest 60 minutes and order Judy Capko’s recorded Webinar "Scheduling Secrets for the Medical Practice that Master Workflow and Profitability".)

If you are repeatedly running behind schedule or have patients who are arriving late, canceling appointments, or not showing up, there’s a problem. The problem is a poorly managed schedule. An appointment schedule can make or break a practice in terms of efficiency, patient service, and profitability.

When a practice overbooks or doesn’t manage the appointment schedule, everyone pays the price—the physician, patients, and staff. Missed appointments can compromise patient care and reduce your potential profits. Three missed appointments a day can add up to as much as $150,000 a year in lost revenue.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Field Guide to Physician Coding is now in its THIRD Edition!


Field Guide to Physician Coding Third EditionThe third edition of Betsy Nicoletti's most popular and successful books, The Field Guide to Physician Coding, has just been released.

The book was exceptionally well received in its first and second editions, and now has been updated to include the most current information on coding rules and guidelines such as :
  • Cloning Notes in an EHR
  • Diagnosis CodingTransitional Care Management
  • Foot Care
  • Modifier 33
  • New Patient Coding
  • Consults
  • Wellness visits
  • Changing Medicare Regulations
  • Transition to ICD-10
  • PPACA/Health Reform Act
Betsy Nicoletti is a nationally-renowned physician coding expert and founder of Codapedia.com

This book should be on the desk of every clinician, biller and coder in the country! No-nonsense advice supported by weblinks that answers the most pressing questions from physicians, practice managers, billers and coders.
  • The "Rules" that help doctors get paid, not just the codes 
  • Organized alphabetically, by topic, for ease of use 
  • Relevance to all specialties 
Rules explained in plain, easy-to-understand prose. Each entry includes:
  • The definition of the service 
  • Clinical examples, when relevant 
  • Medical references, CPT rule references

Friday, October 10, 2014

Annual Practice Management Conferences - MGMA in October

medical practice conventionsIf your practice is like most practices these days, you're probably looking for ways - any ways - to trim a few bucks from your overhead burden. Sending an administrator or physician leader to the MGMA conference in Las Vegas for a few days may look like an easy target for budget cuts. You may be tempted to skip the late October conference this year.  Don't do it.

You might respond, "But you don't understand! Our profit margin actually fell this past year. Regardless of some jury-rigged numbers from the Fed that point to economic recovery, we're still struggling with flat (or declining) revenues and ever-increasing expenses. We can't afford to send the manager off to a mini-vacation in Vegas." Don't do it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Top Ten Shipwrecks of Hiring Mistakes

hiring mistakes in medical practice
According to Mark Debinski of Bluewater Advisory, a consulting and recruiting firm specializing in talent management, “shipwrecks” are defined as employees who are bad hires. And they cost companies three to five times the salary of the employees who did not work out. Many business owners and human resource directors feel their recruiting jobs stop when the new employee starts. But if the hire is a “shipwreck” then job failure is a given. And then the hiring process will need to be repeated, with the the company losing money and opportunity. Many times job failure is also directly linked to the lack of a well-thought out orientation and new hire training process...but that is commentary for another blog. For now, here is the list of the top 10 hiring mistakes:
  1. My biases made me hire: There are unconscious and conscious biases that managers have.
  2. Self-mirroring mirage: Self-mirroring behavior is a tragic hiring mistake.
  3. Rushing to fill the slot: This is the most costly and easily avoidable mistake.
  4. Poor at interviewing, poor at hiring: Individuals charged with hiring must be trained.
  5. Flawed interviewing processes: There is no excuse for not being prepared.
  6. The favorite son (or daughter, or nephew): Ideally the family member has worked somewhere else first.
  7. Groupthink: This can be evident in a company culture that is reticent to conflict with management.
  8. Rite of passage promotions: Proficiency in one position doesn't guarantee proficiency in another.
  9. Weak candidate pool: With today's technology, there is no excuse not to develop ongoing and strong pools of candidates.
  10. Getting romanced or sold: Some candidates are masters at this. Use objective tools not just subjective “gut” feelings.

Source: The Hiring Compass: How to Navigate the Talent Pool Paradox and Avoid Hiring Shipwrecks - www.thehiringcompass.com

If you enjoy reading the blog entries in "Solving Problems in the Medical Practice" you may want to check out all the great products at Greenbranch Publishing.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Researching New Purchases for the Medical Practice: Use the Exhibit Hall

specialty conferences
For many doctors and practice administrators, the autumn is the time to attend annual specialty conferences and to do research for major business purchases. A carefully planned visit to the exhibit hall, and spending quality time speaking with industry reps will payoff in huge returns once you return to the office. Take the time, however, to prepare ahead of time. This shows you are a serious buyer and you won’t be “sold” so easily.


Major Business Purchases

Managers and owners who face major purchases—like computer systems, medical equipment or a new office building—must take control of the process from the beginning. If you start entertaining vendor reps and reviewing slick promotional literature without doing your homework, you risk falling victim to high-dollar impulse buying. Have a framework in place, and you’ll also be ready to act and follow-up once you get back to the office.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Advancing Excellence in Healthcare Quality: 40 Strategies for Improving Patient Outcomes and Providing, Safe, High-Quality Healthcare

Greenbranch Publishing has just published a new book titled "Advancing Excellence in Healthcare Quality: 40 Strategies for Improving Patient Outcomes and Providing, Safe, High-Quality Healthcare" written by Dr. Mary Sue McAslan, Pharm.D.

The book's intention is to "enhance quality, reduce readmissions, decrease errors, improve disease prevention, and cut healthcare costs" through providing 40 practical and easy-to-implement strategies.

The book's foreword, written by David Nash, MD, MBA and Founding Dean of The Thomas Jefferson School of Population Health, accurately describes the book's content, message, style and effectiveness:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Practical Rules for Physician Employment Agreements

Physician Employment AgreementRecruiting a new physician requires a lot of hard work for sure. But it's an exciting and rewarding process, too. In the midst of all the activity and thrill, however, some little details sometimes fall by the way. Neglecting the little things can come back to bite you later - especially if the relationship ends badly.

The chief document outlining your agreement remains the employment contract. But it often lacks details regarding who is responsible for purchasing professional liability insurance - especially regarding prior acts (or "nose") coverage and extended reporting period (or "tail") coverage.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Best Practices for Working with Governing Boards

working with governing boardsFor years, hospitals have reaped the benefits of diversity when recruiting directors for their governing boards. Each member of a well-balanced board brings his or her unique contribution— social and political connections or business experience and expertise. Sometimes the organization goes so far as to recruit “c-suite” leaders from this rich resource.

But there are limits to the number of board members and senior executives for even the largest healthcare entities. As healthcare continues to become more and more complex, many hospitals long for an even broader range of expertise among their leaders. Creative leaders have man- aged to augment their knowledge base by creating advisory teams in addition to administration and boards of directors.

Some organizations form task forces or special committees for specific projects—like facility design and expansion or reworking a strategic plan. Others maintain a special advisory board that meets four to six times per year for highly focused sessions on just one or two strategic issues each time.

Does your group practice suffer from intellectual inbreeding? When your idea “gene pool” remains closed to outside influence, you risk making the same mistakes over and over. Problems become “unsolvable” because you’ve tried every- thing you can think of—to no avail.

Practices usually rely on outside sources for fresh ideas—seminars, publications, professional advisors and consultants, and even casual conversations with peers in the surgery lounge. All of these are valuable, but here’s an idea that will really get you thinking outside the box: How about forming a practice advisory board?

You would start by identifying several business leaders in your community, each of whom could bring a different professional or business angle to the discussion. Attorneys, accountants, hospital administrators, real estate brokers, financial advisors, retail store managers, politicians, bankers, and religious leaders—any successful leader in the community may qualify. But why would any of them want to participate and help you out? You might be surprised.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Medical Practice Marketing to Female Patients and Their Relatives

women make medical decisions
One statistic in American medicine remains constant: Women far outnumber men as medical decision-makers. Forty percent of all patients are female; and even when a man shows up at your office for treatment, it’s highly likely that it was at the urging of a significant woman in his life. Women represent a center of influence that can make or break your marketing efforts.

Women represent the majority of people seeking health information online and in print; they account for twice the healthcare expenditures of men, and they are far more likely than their male counterparts to talk about their experiences at your office.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Going Overboard in Emphasizing Your Strengths

overdoing stengthsEveryone knows that successful leaders discover which of their strengths best meet their organizations’ needs, then capitalize on those strengths. They learn not to waste time trying to fix their weaknesses; rather, they surround themselves with complementary strengths to build the ideal team.

But if you go too far emphasizing your leadership strengths, it might actually hurt the organization overall and leave those to whom you answer feeling very dissatisfied. Overplaying a strength can lead to diminished capacity on the opposite pole. For example, press too hard with new ideas and creative innovation, and you may falter in the orderly execution; and operations may fall into chaos.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A New "Club" for Practice Management Professionals

There's a new "club" for medical practice professionals called "The Medical Practice Managers Network (MPM Network®), with the mission to provide an arsenal of educational materials for the personal and professional growth of healthcare professionals.


The benefits are truly impressive. They include:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Office Romances? Disclose and Sign an Agreement

medical practice romanceA medical practice - like any other employer -  must take great pains to protect itself regarding romantic relationships between employees or between employees and owners. Experts in HR law usually advise having a "no-romance" policy in the employee handbook that prohibits romantic relationships within the practice.

If a romance develops anyway - and circumstances prevent terminating both parties - the practice should require the couple to disclose the fact of the relationship and sign documentation indicating that the relationship is indeed consensual. It's likewise a good idea to review the practice's anti-sexual-harassment policy, too.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ways to Ensure You Spend Too Much on IT and ...

spending too much
An experienced IT health information consultant offers tongue-in-cheek advice for healthcare administrators hoping to increase their information technology expenses.

They show ways to increase costs by mismanaging the internal workings of the IT department and by failing to optimize how the rest of the organization uses the technology.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Partnering with Hospitals

Despite a tradition of strained relationships, trends in modern healthcare delivery reveal the need for physicians and hospitals to find new ways to work together more closely. The ultimate alignment, of course, includes hospitals purchasing physician practices and employing the doctors.

After the debacle of hospital employment in the 1990s, some physicians are reluctant to consider the idea. But successful hospitals have learned from the past and have found creative ways to structure physician-employment arrangements. Veteran physicians, tired of dealing with reimbursement issues and uncontrollable costs, have become more interested in surrendering some of their treasured autonomy. And recent graduates represent a generation characterized by a greater willingness to be an employee rather than a business owner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Financial Health of Your Medical Practice - Pearls of Wisdom

Financial Health of Your Medical Practice
Whether or not you agree with today’s common wisdom that America’s healthcare system is “badly broken,” one fact remains virtually undeniable: Billing and collecting for health services is unlike that of any other industry. Consequently, providers are way behind the rest of the business world when it comes to credit reporting and debt collection.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Primer on Medical Accounts Receivables

medical practice collections
Collecting patient balances has become more important than ever for medical practices. Many practices neglect pursuing those accounts, but those who do usually take one of two extreme approaches. The “aggressive” practices turn accounts over to traditional collection agencies for a contingency fee after 90 or 120 days. The “conservative” ones keep on hounding the patients with statements, letters, and phone calls for months—or maybe years.

Either extreme ignores how patient accounts differ from one another. Recommendations include “segmenting” accounts into at least three categories:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Patient Reviews and the Internet

Independent online quality rating systems for physicians have cropped up all over the Internet in recent years. Patients can anonymously vent their dissatisfaction with any medical practice. Even the most competent doctors have unhappy -  even vengeful - patients who mercilessly berate them for anything from cold stethoscopes to poor outcomes.

Develop a strategy for dealing with the inevitable attacks, but remember that fighting back - especially taking legal action - can draw more attention to the negative criticism than you want.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Theory of Provoking Your Customers - Try it in Your Medical Practice

Theory of Provoking Your CustomersDuring difficult economic times, business-to-business vendors usually see sales fall off markedly. Discretionary budgets all but disappear, and even "routine" purchases get a second, or third, look from company higher-ups.

Savvy sales departments work all the harder to find alternative routes to success - including developing a provocative point of view on some critical issue and communicating it to decision - makers with the authority to override the very cutbacks they instituted.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Medical Practices are a Business and Doctors are Business Owners

Medical Practices are businesses
Specialized professionals - like attorneys, CPAs, and physicians - own and operate multi-million- dollar businesses while performing the services that generate most of that revenue. And in most group practices, the owner-physicians are often employees of the practice, too. This multi-role existence creates some real challenges in time management, decision making, and overall attitude and behavior. Most physicians were not attracted to the profession by the prospect of owning and operating a business. Doctors usually see their chief role as that of medical caregivers - and rightly so. No one else is so uniquely prepared to provide the knowledge, judgment, and skills sought by your patients.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Healthy Ways to Resolve Conflict

Conflict Resolution in the Medical PracticeInterpersonal relationships at work greatly determine the effectiveness of the overall organization— whether it succeeds or fails. The organization’s health rests heavily on whether individual members share common goals, treat one another with respect, and mutually encourage the best effort from each other.

Most people tend to avoid confrontation at all costs. But a positive outcome is more likely when staff members can address problems face-to-face with one another. It’s the first step in a more effective conflict-resolution strategy:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Don't Let a Slow Economy Strangle Your Medical Practice’s Progress

medical practice during slow economiesMedical Practice experts remind us that that the economic downturn a few years ago marked the first time in recent memory when healthcare has proved not to be “recession- proof.” That fragile economy made it more difficult than ever to get patients to come in for non-emergency care and was truly a tough time for physicians. The memory continues and a "skittishness" to invest for growth exists.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Improve Your Collections Percentages and Accounts Receivable: Strategies

In our work with medical practices, we know that collecting self-pay and co-insurance balances from patients ranks high as one of medical practices’ most pressing management challenges. Focusing on these accounts holds the most promise for practices hoping to improve their collection rates.

The single most important key to effective patient collections is time. The older the balance due, the less likely you’ll collect all of it. It starts at the front desk, where you’ll find it necessary to apply significant and repetitive training to get consistent co-payment and self-pay collections up front.

Friday, May 9, 2014

So Your Physician Wants to Drop Call ... A Tough Issue for Group Practices

Drop call
A group was wrestling with how to adjust compensation for a senior physician wanting to drop call. The group’s nonproduction-based compensation structure further complicated the question: “How much is call worth?”

Planning early—before someone asks to slow down—to hammering out the tiniest details and amending employment contracts with new language. One respondent said his practice valued call coverage so highly, it became a non-negotiable item: Either you remain on the call schedule or retire outright.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Authentic Strategic Planning

Strategic planning in medical practice
Medical practices are taking note of the importance of strategic planning, as they tread the unknown waters of healthcare reform and adapt to changes they may not have invited. According to Practice Management Consultant, Judy Capko of Capko & Morgan, key stakeholders of private medical practices really need to understand what it takes to succeed with efforts to create and successfully execute a strategic plan. But do they know the importance of developing an authentic and that in order to be authentic it must be driven by the practice mission? If the strategic plan is not authentic in consistently delivering on the mission it is likely to fail. If it is authentic it will guide the practice in achieving its strategic goals. Start on your path to strategic success by keeping these essentials in mind while go through the strategic planning process.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For Job Descriptions "Other Duties as Assigned" Isn’t Enough in Current Medical Practice

Job Descriptions
According to compensation experts relying too heavily on the age-worn tagline " . . . and other duties as assigned" can seriously decrease a job description’s effectiveness. If you believe a particular task is essential to a staff member’s job, specify it in the written job description.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Is Your Practice Prepared for a Medical Office Emergency?

handling emergencies in the medical practice
Medical practices, especially primary care practices, are generally ill prepared for the various kinds of emergencies that can occur right in the office.

There is considerable debate regarding what constitutes minimal preparedness for a doctor’s office. Some associations publish a list of the minimum requirements for a practice. Consult your individual specialty society for preparedness suggestions for your medical specialty. Each office should develop its own standards based on factors like staff skill levels, distance from the nearest emergency department, and availability of local emergency services.

Monday, April 14, 2014

6 Strategies for Marketing on a Budget

Medical Practice MarketingIf your practice is experiencing more than an occasional gap in the schedule or a reduction in new patient volume you are not alone. Despite healthcare being a resilient industry, it is feeling the pinch of the national economy. Certainly the higher deductible insurance plans are another sting for medical practices, resulting in patients thinking twice before they pick up the phone and call the doctor. Many are turning to home remedies in an attempt to eliminate that trip to the doctor; others are postponing their annual check-up, a visit to the specialist, or surgery that can be put off for awhile.

It’s hard to think about putting out marketing dollars when your own revenue is declining, so what can you do to keep your practice humming and attracting patients when things may look a little dismal?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ways to NOT Practice Defensive Medicine

Defensive Medicine
Depending on which study you review, from 55% to 93% of physicians report that they feel compelled to practice “defensive medicine” in the form of ordering unnecessary diagnostic tests, referring patients to specialists or subspecialists earlier than necessary, restricting their practices to avoid higher-risk patients, prescribing more medications than necessary, and recommending invasive procedures that might not be medically necessary.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Got a Mission?

Mission in the Medical Practice
A mission statement is a short, descriptive phrase or sentence that is easy to remember and illustrates the business’ goals and purpose. A mission statement is very personal, and it should be solid.

For those of you that have never developed a mission statement or attended a mission retreat to define what the practice is all about, what it represents, and how it will exhibit that definition, read on.

For Physicians: Strategies to Market Yourself

Marketing the medical practice
Marketing is more than just “sleazy, used-car dealership” commercials and tasteless slogans. It’s simply planning and delivering a high-value, patient-friendly atmosphere in such a way that the entire community identifies your name with quality medicine.

If you’ve never really marketed yourself before, here are five suggestions for physicians (or their office managers or hospital managers responsible for marketing practices) :


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Noncompete Clauses May Not Restrict You

Noncompete ClausesNoncompetition clauses don’t always accomplish what the employer intended. Usually the employer includes language in an employment agreement that says, “If you leave our company, you agree not to go to work with another employer (including yourself) in a way that directly competes with us.” But poorly written contracts— especially over-restrictive agreements—often fail to hold up in court.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Don't End Up on the Losing Side of Company Issued Credit Cards

Tempting credit card offers with low interest rates and bonus points flood your home mailbox from week to week. The card companies have increasingly targeted your medical practice for hard-to-resist offers, too.

A credit card can be a useful tool for running a business, but it can open the door for abuse on a grand scale.

Abusers usually come in two varieties: upper-level managers and owners, who often blur the lines between personal and business expenses; and mid- and lower-level managers, who tend to slip into misuse of company credit cards—almost unintentionally.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Marketing Elements and the Patient Pleasers to Include in the Web Site

A Web site remains one of the best values for a medical office’s marketing dollar. Its contribution to promoting the practice is unique among the many ways to advertise and market your services. A well-designed Web site serves as a great “equalizer.” On the Internet, a multi-billion-dollar corporation and a small physician-owned practice can look remarkably similar. It increases the practice’s “presence” both in the patient’s perception, and in the way it draws the patient into the Web content. A Web page lets the practice tell far more about itself and increase patients’ comfort level even before they visit for the first time.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Flawed SGR Formula: A Final Fix in Store but at What Price?

SGR Formula
[Reposted with permission from Woodcock & Associates]

After years of general agreement about the problems associated with the formula used to reimburse physicians for services provided to Medicare patients, a permanent fix is finally on the horizon. While experts – and even casual observers – have agreed that the underpinnings of the formula were flawed from its beginning, debate has raged for years about its replacement.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Lean Intro to Lean Healthcare

Lean Healthcare
The following is a short interview conducted by Nancy Collins, President of Greenbranch Publishing and Donna Weinstock, President of Office Management Solution based in a suburb of Chicago.

NC: Donna, what exactly is lean healthcare?

DW: Lean healthcare is the process of improving patient satisfaction and streamlining your processes to increase productivity and eliminate waste in your office.

It's based on the Toyota Production System, otherwise known as TPS. The seven wastes are identified as waiting, defects, motion, inventory, overproduction, transportation, and processing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Internal Marketing During Tough Times: A Mini-Seminar

Internal Marketing in Medical Practice
Here’s a digital mini-seminar on internal marketing during tough times, and how to prioritize customer service during a down economy. Our editors encourage medical practices to safeguard customer service in the face of cost-containment and staff layoffs.

A number of physician practices across the county are still reeling in shock over the double-barrel hit the present economy has delivered them. Bad economic times in the past have hurt pension and 401(k) accounts—sometimes severely. But the recent recession, in experts’ collective memory, was the first to seriously curtail operational revenue.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Stand-ins Can Save the Day —Temporary Management Help in the Medical Practice

Temporary Management in Medical Practice
Facing an extended search for professional management, an increasing number of medical practices are turning to interim administrators to bridge the gap between “permanent” hires. This strategy relieves the pressure to fill the position quickly, keeps the practice on course, and brings an objective outsider’s observations and advice.

In a temporary situation, you can afford to “hire up”—actually hiring a better-trained and more experienced veteran, because you don’t have to make a long-term commitment to the higher compensation required to retain this level of help.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Physician Recruitment Tip: Offer Relocation Assistance in Down Housing Market

physician relocationMost physician groups pay a large share of relocation expenses incurred by new physicians invited to join the practice. Traditionally, the group almost always pays moving company and transportation expenses, but few groups help with costs related to purchasing a home in the community.

A few groups help pay realtor fees; others retain a professional relocation company to help with the housing search. Some even offer low-cost home loans or other financial subsidies. Experts in physician recruitment observe that though such offers are exceptional, they expect to see more aggressive physician practices sweeten their offers with these additional benefits.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let’s Get a Management Consultant! 6 Common Situations to Get You Thinking

Medical Practice ConsultantA lack of progress—financially, economically, or strategically—often prompts a medical practice to seek the services of an outside consultant. But physicians often struggle with deciding when to call in an expert. In general, when facing significant issues outside the physicians’ and in-house managers’ experience, it’s probably time to seek help.

Six common situations in a physician practice should get you thinking about calling in a management consultant:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Five Tips for Making Deposits into the Leadership Bank

Leadership in Medical PracticeYou hear a lot about “political capital” among leaders in government. That’s the favorable image a politician has in the public eye and among influential persons both in and out of government. A president enters office with a certain amount of political capital, but he or she spends it quickly by pursuing unpopular programs and goals.

Similarly, when a business leader assumes a new position, he or she has a “leadership account” of qualities such as credibility and respect - character traits that inspire others to trust and follow. Savvy leaders with long tenures know how to build their accounts and how to leverage leadership qualities for the good of the organizations they lead.