February 2017 MMN

Page 4

Opinion

To Offer Compassion While Collecting Money Is an Art First in a series BY SUSAN CHILDS, FACMPE

Note: Susan Childs, FACMPE, is a popular national speaker and noted healthcare consultant. Her talk at a recent MGMA meeting in Memphis was highly praised. She has graciously allowed the Memphis Medical News to print her message. The following is the first segment of her message. Ten million new patients have knocked on our doors in 2016! That is great access for people who would not otherwise be able to receive healthcare. In fact, 33 per cent of our Medicare patients are now on an advantage plan. The most important thing to remember is the power of your practice and how that is conveyed to your staff, patients and communities. You can reflect that value by knowing your numbers. Who are your patients, who are you affiliated with and what are your outcomes? As your teacher said, “You will be judged by the company you keep.” All future insurance fee schedules are based on outcomes and risk. Whether you are independent, clinic or system based, being familiar with your numbers will give you the power and allow you to realize the patterns and true value of your practice. Although we pay a fortune for our systems, most of us tend to go only as deep as we need to get the job done. Call your

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About Susan Childs Susan Childs is founder and president of Evolution Healthcare Consulting and is a Board Certified Fellow of the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Her experience includes Operations, Financial Controls, Staff Accountability and Role Definition, and Change Management. She has written for organizations such as Orthopaedics Today, Greenbranch Publishing and the AMA. Susan is an accomplished speaker and has served as local and state leadership and MGMA ACMPE Advancement Chair. Her passions are patient access, staff member pride and accountability, and increasing the value of the physician.

vendor today and ask about any nuances or updates to the system that you may either be not utilizing or unaware of. This may save you tons of time with operations and workflow. So where is our crystal ball? How may we best prepare for the next stage of our professional lives? Think about your future as a business. What choices can you make that can actually help you earn more money? Think in both short and long term goals. Any consideration should include a quick pro forma to get a ballpark idea as to true financial value of the option. When is the last time we reviewed missions and goals with staff members? We are so busy putting out fires over the little details of everyday life and getting a claim paid sometimes we forget why we are here. Most practices introduce missions and goals with the personnel manual that are quietly filed away with not much future reference. Personal investment turns into organizational investment that patients notice. As the practice leader, we have to live what we say and if you want staff to be a

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part of the change, invite them to help set the standards. Consider a retreat for you and your staff. It’s not just touchy-feely stuff. It includes business goals as well. Begin with your agenda. Invite staff to contribute. It is enlightening and cathartic. It helps you move onto the next step. It clarifies and confirms standards and values that you want in place. A retreat can also very quickly identify who will be there for the long run. During this retreat, also share your business goals. You don’t have to give away the farm, just enough to let them know what your goals are and how they may contribute towards that success. Of course anything that can result in increased income can also equal increased pay by the end of the year, which is something all employees can appreciate. A few tips? Mandatory attendance, including physicians. Have food, no recording and have an independent, and I mean independent, facilitator.

Provider Shortage

With physician training taking up to 10 years, this means we have a problem right now as the shortage is anticipated to begin in 2025, particularly due to the baby boomer generation. This represents and includes changes in rapid growth of the non-physician clinicians widespread adoption of new payment delivery models such as patient centered medical home and accountable care organizations, greater use of alternate settings, retail clinics and delayed physician retirement. Addressing the shortage will require a multi accessed approach including Innovation and delivery, greater use of technology, and improved and efficient use of health professionals on the care team, and an increase in federal support for residency training.

Concierge and Direct Pay

Are you tired of insurance companies dictating your care? Primary care, ophthalmology, gastroenterology, orthopedics and neurosurgery all have a presence with this updated approach to care. There are approximately 12,000 concierge and direct pay physicians in the United States with more than 80 percent accepting insurance within their practice. Most membership practices require patients to pay a fee upon each visit. The typical age of a direct pay patient is between 40 and 59 years of age. These practices typically seat six to 10 patients per day with blended practices usually higher. Female physicians fill concierge practices 30 percent faster than men and 58 percent of membership practices have 1 to 2 employees. While this may not be a current choice for rheumatology, do not discount this network of providers that can actually complement your services. They can offer another venue and patient base to care for.

Know Your Numbers

If anyone has doubts about the delivery of care with this model, please remember they exist because they are needed. Consider this yet another resource to complement the services you provide. These practices now comprise a decent part of your medical community and nothing to scoff at. This is another network that you may tap into. This is why it’s more than essential to know your numbers and your practice’s patterns of care and outcomes. Knowledge is power. Know your numbers!

Revenue Forecasting

There is an implied level of expectation of performance with any product that I purchase. I should be able to sit in a chair for a while before it breaks or the fabric tears. You know what you are (CONTINUED ON PAGE 6)

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FEBRUARY 2017

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