August 1, 2013

For many August offers a bit of break in the general hectic-ness of schedules and allows opportunity for vacation, relaxation, stress reduction, family time, etc.  What many of us do not do in August is take on new projects.  It is here I offer a challenge and suggestion - use August as an opportunity to catch up on areas or matters you may not have had time for earlier this year (or in years prior), for example, taking a harder look at your practice's general accounting - revenue v. expenditures.  While medicine is a calling for many, practice ownership is proprietorship requiring business skills and management.  For those of you reading this in charge of a practice, a key element of practice ownership is understanding what is billing out of the practice, what money is coming in to the practice and where that money is going.  I am past the point of surprised when I hear a regular brilliant physician client be at a total loss for words when it comes to explaining their collection rate or general expenses. Do not be in such a situation.   Take time this month, while you may have it, to take a deeper look at your practice.  If your bookkeeper or accountant handle this for you, set a meeting and review.  Make sure you understand how your practice operates and ask questions when you are not sure why things are running the way they are or why you have certain shortfalls, etc. 

You may be surprised by the results - for instance, you may find your billers are writing off easy to collect claims and your collection rate is substantially lower than it should be.  You may find you are supporting bloated salaries for too many staff members and its time to downsize.  Or, you may find co-payment amounts are going missing (don't be surprised - I hear this on a monthly or weekly bass - depends on the time of year!). 

Other suggested August projects -

  • prepare for I-STOP since its effective this month
  • accept your fate as requiring new HIPAA documents by September 23rd and prepare by updating your policies and procedures and training your staff
  • hire that coding expert you have been meaning to contact for a coding review of your documentation patterns
  • look into your practice debt and look to refinance or consolidate  

Have other ideas for the listserv?  Send them in and help your colleagues!

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