6 Do's and Don'ts for 2012 Healthcare Billing offices
It's that time of the year.......another year behind us, a new one beginning. Time to take stock!
2012 promises to be a year of change for healthcare; ACO decisions, health insurance exchanges, 60% of physicians already aligned with hospitals or other large organizations, social media implications to marketing of healthcare, EHR implementations, ICD10 strategies and the list literally can go on.
As a manager of the CBO, you are tasked with one goal.....show us the money, and do it while reducing cost. The very nature of this challenge means you simply cannot afford to have a "business as usual" attitude. But how do you most effectively handle these challenges? Below are some suggestions that you may want to consider.
1. Don't continue to have routine/traditional meetings with staff. I didn't say don't have meetings with staff, what I said was don't have a meeting where everyone goes around the room regurgitating the same stuff about the same areas. Create meeting expectations......have specific goals for meetings and keep the meetings on track. Meetings lasting more than an hour are rarely productive so encourage participants to have a clear and written summary of what will be reported. Clear communication between departments will encourage interaction and cooperation.
2. Make IT and the front-end your bosom buddies. The reasons should be clear........what other two areas more effect the outcome of your CBO efforts than these two departments? It is always amazing to me that so many CBO's do not have control of the software they use daily. Perhaps historically there were good reasons for this; new software needing IT support to implement, complex settings requiring IT knowledge to maintain, or it is simply a "tradition". Challenge this by appointing at the very least a CBO liaison who speaks IT language and also knows the business.....at the most a CBO IT guru who thoroughly understands software and implications of choices/options. The front end as an ally will only help you reduce the number of registration errors and denials. Too many times I have seen only finger pointing and blaming of the front end to the point where real communication and increased efficiency is almost impossible.
3. Schedule real time with your door closed analyzing data. Look at the right reports the right way. There should be only one reason why you look at data, to look for opportunities for improvement. To really improve operations, consequently cash flow, you must dive into the details. By taking time to analyze, you will get a much clearer picture of CBO productivity and where improvements can be made. Change management must be your friend in 2012.
4. Take a hard look at staff: Do you have the right people doing the right jobs? Of course to really do a good job at this task, you must first of all analyze the positions. I know, what a hassle........but if you really want to raise the bar this coming year, a good place to start. At a conference a couple of years ago, I heard "be quick to fire and slow to hire". Every CBO I have ever been in I hear that there is a person or persons that really need to be fired, but can't for this or the other reason. When you allow unproductive or quarrelsome or lazy or chronically absent people to stay on payroll you are sending a clear message to the rest of the staff. Change that message.....the "a warm body is better than no body" simply will not work in the complex business world we now live in.
5. Don't complicate the process. CBO's are by nature complex.......but we tend to lose sight of the big picture. Most billing software has functionality to accomplish goals. The bigger issue is usually we tend to blame software for not being able to perform the reporting functions our organizations need. Setting up options to accommodate reporting only complicates that process. There are so many reporting tools available and data warehouse technology that reporting should not be the driver of billing software. Get back to the basics of billing operations and seek other tools to meet reporting needs.
6. Don't spend time on work that's not worth it. Too many times we spend too much time trying to collect small balances and small dollar denials that what we spend in effort far out-weighs the value of the claim/balance. Get rid of it! Have staff focus on AR that will result in real assets. Focus on first time denials and create rules for write off that make sense and can potentially reduce staff.
It's a new year filled with new challenges....make the most of your opportunity to change status quo.