Sometimes medical groups need to make major decisions. And whether it’s adding an ancillary service, opening a new office or updating your practice software, there comes a time when the talk turns to action.
So when that day arrives, where do you start? How can you — already multitasking all day long — keep the workflow flowing and steer your medical group toward the right long-term decision?
Start by involving all your physicians in the decision-making process. For example, if you’re looking for new practice management software, engage the providers who’ll be using it every day. Get their buy-in early. That way, some won’t resist the change as much.
It’s about informing them at the same you help them through their fear of change.
If you’re like most providers and practice managers, you’re already busy enough keeping up with the day-to-day operations. But monitoring your practice’s financial performance remains vital to your medical group’s success as a business. It is not only worth investing your time, it is critical that you do it.
One of the top reasons practices lose money is failing to track key performance indicators (KPIs) consistently.
Reasons can include:
* Staff members don’t know how or which financial metrics to track.
* Your practice management software doesn’t provide a reporting capability that makes this easy.
* Even if you can look at KPIs, some practices don’t really know what those KPIs need to be, or what it means to their bottom line if they are not in line with benchmarks.
* If you outsource your medical billing, not every company provides these essential metrics so that you truly know how well your practice is performing.
So where should you start?
It’s becoming clear that the Affordable Care Act is working to cut the number of uninsured Americans. But are U.S. physicians ready for an influx of these newly insured patients? If you’re not ready, what are the best ways to deal with an increased patient volume without sacrificing quality of care or patient satisfaction with your medical group?
The number of uninsured Americans continues to decline since ACA open enrollment began in 2013. For example, 29 million people were uninsured in the first quarter of 2015, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, down from 44 million people in 2012. This means the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from 17% in 2012 to 9% now.
How many new potential patients is that? 17 million more insured, according to a RAND Report.
The U.S. economy is gaining traction. The overall unemployment rate is 5.3% — about half what it was in 2009/2010. But with the job outlook brighter than it’s been in years, you might worry about losing staff.
And you could be right to be concerned.
Employee Turnover Can Be Costly
Although the estimates vary by position and pay level, each lost employee costs a business about 6 to 9 months of salary. That means if you’re paying an employee $40,000 per year, it could cost $20,000 to $30,000 to replace them.
When deciding whether or not to make a purchase in a store or online, knowing the price in advance is important for most people (I know a family with their own private jet, and I’m not including them here).
For the rest of us, buying airplane tickets, a new tablet or a car typically involves research on what it’s going to cost.
But what about healthcare? Most people do not know how much a physician visit, new medication or stay in the hospital will cost until after the fact.
That’s expected to change.
If your medical group still relies on paper superbills, like 54% of physician practices recently reported, what does that mean come October 1, 2015? Will the transition to the more complex and greater number of ICD-10 codes make all paper superbills a thing of the past?
Some predict yes. The simplicity of the traditional superbill — which allows providers to check off the most common ICD-9 codes quickly on one sheet of paper — gets more complicated quickly with ICD-10 codes. One estimate reported by Government Health IT is ICD-10 code specificity could take almost 5 times more space on a page – meaning the front and back of a paper superbill becomes 9 – 10 pages after October 1st. This complexity alone might prompt many practices to drop their paper superbills. Continue Reading…