We recently worked with a smart, energetic practice administrator who was very motivated to improve his practice’s bottom line. He’d already found significant savings by switching billing and phone services (even getting better billing results, to boot). Spurred on by those successes, he’d turned his attention to clinic staffing. While the physicians in his practice […]
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When we work with physicians and managers who’ve found their financial results have inexplicably declined, they often wonder why the profit numbers changed when the practice is still managed in the same careful way as before. It’s a puzzle and a disappointment and a huge source of frustration! But therein lies the rub: As managers, […]
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Practice management literature often offers advice about cutting expenses – advice that promises cost-cuts improve margins and “directly boost the bottom line.” Many physician owners and practice managers seem to have internalized the idea, so they’re always on the lookout for things to trim. But is this the best way to strengthen your practice business? […]
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A practice we worked with recently was struggling to improve profitability. The practice’s new manager wanted to make an impact fast, so she decided to try replacing longer-term staff with less expensive newbies; since staffing was such a big practice expense, she reasoned that this was the best way to improve profitability. The physician owners […]
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When presented with ideas to update your medical practice’s technology, better support your clinicians, or market your practice in a new way, is your go-to reaction “we don’t need that” or “we’re doing fine without it”? Is your financial management approach simply to always minimize expenses? (Perhaps because you remember the old maxim of taking […]
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As we’ve posted here before, almost all practices face the risk of a cash flow crunch in January and, really, through all of Q1, thanks to the deductible reset.  (January’s revenue collections are sometimes also hit lower volume in December because of the holidays — a double whammy.) In our experience, the decline in revenue […]
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If you’ve visited here before, you might have seen some of my posts about the challenges physicians face in managing their practices.  In most medical practices, the physician-owners are also very busy health care providers whose business management time is quite constrained.  This makes it that much more difficult to know what’s really happening on […]
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Physicians and practice managers love using online tools to help run their practices. Whether you’re submitting payroll, doing some online banking, reconciling a credit card statement or confirming patient eligibility you’re using a connected network of devices, any of which could pose a serious threat to the well-being of your practice. While I’ve blogged here […]
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Health Affairs has a nice analysis of the ACA’s 90-day grace period on cancellation of enrollment for subsidized patients who miss premium payments.  But one piece of the puzzle that their article doesn’t touch on is the perverse incentive for health plans not to vigorously pursue those missed premiums. Under the grace period, plans are […]
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I just got around to watching the episode of  The Profit focused on A.Stein Meats. Now, you may be wondering why on earth I’d be posting about a meat business here — what could that have to do with medical practice management?  Well, The Profit deals with a variety of small businesses, and there are […]
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We were recently called into a group practice where the physician owners of Struggles Medical Group were disillusioned with the practice of medicine. Their concerns were typical, shrinking reimbursement, dismal profits and the threat of new competition, as a large urban academic faculty practice was beginning to penetrate this suburban community.  Sound familiar?  This is […]
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Many practices already suffer losses from surprise payment retractions by health plans.  These can occur when patients attempt to exploit system update lags after leaving their employer (and therefore the employer’s plan) or the grace period after failing to maintain payments on their own policy.  (So, the patient knows he’s not paid his premium or […]
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A new study from the Rotman School of Management in Toronto about workplace theft and cheating may have important implications for medical practices. The study found that deprivation effects — such as being harmed by the recent recession, or by new public policies — reduce employees’ commitment to ethical behavior.  Prior to feeling deprived, people […]
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If you follow this space, you may already know that I’m dubious about the value to physicians of stopping out for an MBA.  As an MBA-holder myself, I think the coursework can be overkill for independent physicians who just want to run their practices better (this is less the case for those that intend on […]
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Let’s take a few moments to consider what risks you may be carrying around with your phone.  One common vulnerability is stored passwords on your phone, e.g. within a “notes” program.  Imagine the harm that could come of a thief having access to your banking accounts or practice management software.  Your firm could suffer an […]
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Did any of you catch the ICD-10 TweetChat Kareo hosted on Tuesday?  I participated representing our team(@capkoandcompany); three other panelists from different segments of the medical management world joined in as well (@brad_justus, @modmed_EMA, @hitconsultant).  Kareo does a wonderful job reaching out to its clients and the entire practice management community with events like these […]
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The AMA’s National Health Insurer Report Card (NHIRC) for 2013 was released today.  In addition to illuminating data comparing the burdens/benefits of doing business with eight major US health plans, the report added a new metric that caught our attention: patient responsibility as percentage of allowed amount.  Among the eight major insurers studied, patient responsibility […]
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A new year has already begun! If you are hoping for significant year-over-year improvement you need to act – and sooner rather than later.  Here’s how great practices help ensure that each year is better than the last. Examine past performance.  Consider what data points are important to review.   As a guide, great practices will […]
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Do you accept cash payments at your practice? The start of a new year is a great time to review how your practice handles cash — to determine if your internal controls could use some tightening up. With cash, the biggest temptation is to handle these “small” amounts more casually than other payments.  When cash payments […]
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What if hotel billing were like medical billing? A funny-but-sad video by Costs of Care in partnership with Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago explores the possibility in a tongue-in-cheek way (click “continue reading” to view the video). “Surprise” medical costs do more than just frustrate patients — they hurt practices, too.  By […]
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I recently completed a series of articles for Kareo’s Getting Paid blog about how small business management issues relate to practice management.  While medical practices have an important mission that reaches beyond business, they can’t achieve that mission without succeeding on business terms.  And, in many fundamental ways, medical practices are not so different from […]
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Joe and Judy’s recent webinar (sponsored by Kareo) was a big hit! If you didn’t have a chance to attend ‘live,’ you can register and view it here: Embezzlment-proof your practice Most medical practices are victims of embezzlement at some point — yes, you read that right! — so if you haven’t already learned how […]
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Michael Zhuang, an investment advisor with a focus on physicians, offered an interesting point of view in a recent post on Physicians Practice.  He observed that doctors often fail to accumulate significant wealth in large part because they place too much emphasis on living a “doctor-appropriate” (i.e., fancy) lifestyle, they’re so busy they don’t have […]
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Our last post talked about some of the key performance indicators a practice can examine to understand how well it is performing.  Now we will dig a  little deeper and look at other indicators that identify if a practice is above the norm and meeting the expectations the team has set. Managing referrals and the […]
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To begin your quest to understand  how well the practice is performing is to  compare last year’s financial performance to the prior year, examine shifting trends and identify the reasons these shifts are occurring.  For example, are you doing less of a particular procedure and, if so, is there a reasonable explanation – or if one […]
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Collection problems don’t begin with a rejected insurance claim or a patient’s failure to make prompt payment.  The headache of managing the accounts receivable starts with  the patient registration form – data collection. It’ s the  receptionists and schedulers failure to  gather sufficient  and accurate financial data when patients first contact the office. Why does this occur?  […]
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Medical practice revenue is tighter than ever. It’s time for you to take critical steps to keep costs under control and improve profits. The first step to fixing the bottom line is to look for the waste. Wasted energy results in a loss of potential revenue and lots of frustration.  There is waste throughout the typical practice, but most of it is […]
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Did you know that 30% of  the insurance claims submitted for payment of  medical services in the United States are denied and of that amount 15% are  never resubmitted?  According to Medicare, 40% of their claims denials are never resubmitted. These are daunting statistics. Experts state that 70-80% of appealed claims are eventually paid – That’s a […]
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