Published - January/February 2022 Edition of BC Advantage Magazine

Challenges For 2022
By Dave Jakielo

Welcome to a brand-new year! It looks like it is stacking up to be a very interesting and possibly one of the most challenging for the medical billing industry. There is an overabundance of issues facing us in 2022 and beyond; we need to develop a strategy to ensure we continue on the pathway of success.

When I'm talking with managers across the nation, one of the biggest issues they convey to me is the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality staff members—especially in this COVID era. Many are conducting virtual interviews, which has its own issues, such as trying to read a candidate's body language when you only see them from the shoulders up.

Some employees have decided that commuting to the office is not something they want to resume doing, so they have found a position that will allow them to work remotely, indefinitely. To land a replacement for a vacancy, or to hire additional staff due to your company's growth, it is imperative to make sure you invest time in the recruiting and interview process.

While there is no foolproof way to ensure you have made a smart hiring decision, there are some tools that can help you improve your odds:

  • Administer a profile assessment (which are available on the web) to see if a person will fit your company's culture.
  • If you are hiring someone for an accounts receivable position, give them a test to see what they know and determine if additional training is required. Having ten years of experience does not ensure that they know what they are doing.
  • Provide the candidate with a detailed task list of what you expect them to do daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Setting expectations before hiring them may help you weed out folks who may not be a good fit for the position.

Every company must also be prepared for what the third-party payers are throwing at us to try to hinder the claims adjudication process. Some examples are:

  • Additional services requiring pre-authorization
  • The growth of non-covered services
  • Retroactive denials
  • Third party payers' payment schedules may become "non-negotiable"
  • The never-ending request for additional documentation

Given these trends, it is important to make sure you have a sound self-pay collection policy and "professionals" working in your accounts receivable department. Keep in mind that we must now work with the insurers rather than against them, because they are the ones controlling our clients' reimbursement.

The great thing about all the above challenges is that they also create a plethora of opportunities. We know that the healthcare delivery system will not become less complex, just different, so you must not put your head in the sand and hope that this too shall pass.

You must force yourself to maintain a positive mental attitude. Keep in mind that positive people live in the future and are solution oriented, and pessimistic people live in the past and make excuses rather than find solutions.

Here are some hints that can help you acquire and maintain a positive attitude:

  • Become a continuous learner. Load your mobile device with podcasts or other educational materials and listen while driving in your car or when exercising. Annually, you should invest about 3 percent of your net income into your personal development. It's amazing how acquiring knowledge in relation to a subject reduces your apprehension about it.
  • Block your calendar for "thinking time." Yes, make an appointment with yourself to spend time just thinking. Write a problem at the top of a blank sheet of paper, and as solutions come to mind, write them down. To make this exercise effective, you should spend your thinking time in one of your favorite places. Mine is on a Saturday morning with a pot of coffee before anyone else in the house is out of bed.
  • Lastly, avoid "Mobiledigitist" disease. There is no written rule that states that we need to be connected to one another 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is okay to turn off your email/texting devices and have other priorities in your life — like your family.

We know that the healthcare environment is ever evolving; it must, because as the Medicare rolls increase daily — thanks to us baby boomers — things cannot remain "status quo." So, you have three choices regarding your future; you can make things happen, watch things happen, or sit back and wonder what happened. The choice is yours.

Dave Jakielo is an International Speaker, Consultant, Executive Coach, and Author, and is president of Seminars & Consulting. Dave is past president of Healthcare Business and Management Association and the National Speakers Association Pittsburgh Chapter. Sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at Dave can be reached via email; phone 412-921-0976.

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