Published - October 2011

By Dave Jakielo

It's the Best Time to be in the Medical Billing Industry if...

In times of uncertainty you are always faced with two choices. The first is to be passive and reactive to what is happening around you or as they say, "Roll with the Punches," or you can be proactive and forward thinking which will allow you to shape your own destiny.

I once heard a speaker say that if you, "Don't take action to improve out of a sense of INSPIRATION, you'll find yourself trying out of DESPERATION."

In today's tumultuous healthcare environment it's the perfect time to be growing and improving your business but you can't do it without a plan and keep in mind that if any client is more than 10 percent of your total annual revenue you must grow.

Step one is to determine how you want to grow and you will need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What specialties do you want to service?
  • Where do you want your clients to be located?
  • What size practice can you absorb?
  • How many clients can you successful add to your firm annually?

If you set a sales quota for your company remember this important premise, sales success equals hitting quota, everything else is an excuse.

It's really sad in today's society most people would rather make excuses than take responsibility for their success or lack of it.

Second step is to improve your operations. You will find that going forward in this industry will require you to lower your prices and continue to deliver the same if not better service. Always be reviewing your policies and procedures are there faster, easier and less expensive ways to accomplish a task. Also ask yourself the question should this task be done at all?

The most successful operations establish and measure productivity standards for every position. An example would be in your AR follow up department how many accounts should a representative be able to work per week. After you set a quota remember to inspect what you expect. If you have never tracked productivity once you start you'll find interesting results. Let's say you have 4 people responsible for follow up once you set a quota you will find one person produces 125%, one person is around 100% and two will fall in the range between 75 and 50 % of quota.

Without quotas people can have wide ranges in how much they accomplish based on how they feel on a particular day. Plus with quotas employee evaluations become fair and easy and you'll find that you have fewer morale issues.

Additionally you know whether you are over or understaffed once you take an inventory of the number of accounts there are to follow up.

Third step is budgeting for training; it is going to be costly to train your coders and clients to be ready for ICD-10. And even if you don't currently code for your clients you'll need to be involved in the process in the future. You either need to hire coders for client in-services or align yourself with a trusted coding consultant. Why is this necessary, because if you don't your competitors will be out there training your clients and possibly convincing them to switch to their billing service.

Training also needs to occur in the areas of leadership and customer service. For the first time in our workplaces we are employing folks from 4 generations and the skills it takes to effectively lead all four groups are different. The old, "Treat Everyone the Same" mentality just doesn't cut it anymore. Plus people need to enhance their customer service skills both internally and externally as our clients become more sophisticated about our industry.

Lastly, the most important factor to keep in mind is that you won't be successful if you are not having fun and taking action. Success and fun go hand in hand. Successful people are accountable, they are continuous learners and live in the future while their unsuccessful counterparts make excuses, place blame and live in the past.

Knowing what you should do and doing it are two different things. As we face the challenges of the years ahead, it's no secret; to stay in the game you are going to need to retool your business.

Dave Jakielo, CHBME, is an International Speaker, Consultant, Executive Coach, and Author, and is President of Seminars & Consulting. Dave has been helping companies improve their profitability for over four decades. Sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at Dave can be reached via email; phone 412-921-0976.

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