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Thursday, July 9, 2020

5 Ways to Revamp Communication in Your Workplace

“Great things in business are never done by one person.  They are done by a team of people.”

                                                                           -Steve Jobs

 

As the face of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs is one of the most successful and well-known entrepreneurs and businessmen of all time.  He KNOWS business.  He KNOWS the importance of a team. What is the root of a successful team? What is the foundation of a team? Communication.

 

Communication is the glue to a team.  Imagine the famous 1992 Dream Team (Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and others), out on the court with their mouths zipped shut and not saying a word.  Okay, that might be a bad example because they probably still could have pulled it off!  But unless you are a one-man team in your garage, you need communication in your team.  Even after you and your team have been together for a while you may need to revamp how you communicate!

 

Today, I will share with you some ideas and strategies you can use to help upgrade communication with your team...  It never hurts to go back and reevaluate your methods to make sure you have not veered away from a solid communicative base!

 

The first two suggestions are key for building a solid base for communication in your workplace.

 

1)     Establish your company culture.

 

This is a particularly important part of establishing a foundation for communication within your company.  The company culture sets the tone for respect, workplace norms, and expectations in the workplace society. 

 

A great starting point here is to define, or redefine, your company’s mission statement and core values.  These key factors in a company may become outdated and a refresh can bring a spark to your company culture.  You also want to reinforce this mission and these core values in everything your company does: coworking, sales, marketing, etc. [1]

 

Another great step in establishing company culture is understanding and embracing diversity. [1]  This awareness help to ensure no employees feel left out, unappreciated, or disrespected.  With a diverse workplace comes fresh and inclusive ideas to help revamp communication and innovation as well. 

 

When building your company culture, it is also important to show care for your employees.  This can be by having different perks for working in your company (gym discounts, pizza Fridays, snacks in the break room, etc.). [1] Show your employees you love and care for them anyway you can!

 

2)     Invest in a cohesive team

 

The hiring process is especially important for each individual you are considering bringing onboard.  When you are looking to foster communication in your office, you want to be sure to hire individuals who will feed that mission. 

Interviews should be thorough and take into consideration how the person expresses themselves, the clarity of their nonverbal cues, demeanor, manners, and anything else that will influence their interactions with your team for the position they are applying for. [4]  For example, you will want to evaluate the clarity of their nonverbal cues, demeanor, manners, and anything else that will influence the members of your team. 

 

Lastly, the new hire must embody and be willing to embrace your company’s culture, mission, and core values to ensure they are a great fit for the communicative environment you want to build.

 

These next suggestions are in no order but great for fostering and revamping communication amongst coworkers and employees.

 

3)     Open channels for communication.

 

Consider the layout of your office.  Does everyone have individual offices? How are cubicles arranged?  Are there common work areas? A breakroom?  Where can people convene either for work or for a break?  Think about how you could rearrange the office to give people more opportunities to interact. [2]  Even small policies such as an “open door policy” where those in their offices keep the door open unless privacy is required… I won’t lie, I got this policy from living in the dorms in college and it did wonders for making friends and meeting the people on our floor!  It also makes people less hesitant to reach out, chat, and collaborate.  A closed door can be intimidating. 

 

Another way to open channels is to welcome feedback both ways.  Managers can reach out to employees for suggestions on how they can better manage to make their voices her and improve reciprocated communication based on their needs and observations. 

 

Finally, the practice of “notice, connect, respond” is great for building between coworkers, superiors, and subordinated on a more personal level so work feels a little more comfortable. [4]  By noticing a picture on someone’s desk, relating to it, and responding to it, there can be a bonding moment between coworkers which tends to open communication when work matters arrive in the long run.

 

4)     Educate your team.

 

This is possibly the BEST way to revamp communication in your office.  Providing resources for your employees via email, in staff meetings, or in one on one meetings can help them advance their communication skills and make them a better coworker and employee. [1] 

 

One valuable resource you can share with your team is this list of TED Talks which focus on communication. [3]

 

Another way to educate employees on interacting is to bring in a communications expert.  They can give insightful presentations, evoke participation in activities, and provide even more resources to expand employees’ knowledge base.

 

5)     Build team morale.

 

When work isn’t such a miserable place to be, employees have shown to be happier, more productive, and employee turnover rates drop. [1]  Investing in workplace morale is well worth it for the company cost wise as well.  With happy, productive, loyal employees comes less training new employees, less time off, and increased production and profits. Companies can boost morale by working to build traditions in the workplace (celebrations for big sales, team bonding activities, success incentives, perks, etc.).  

 

 

In conclusion, effective communication in the workplace can be the solid foundation for a companies success.  When communication is revamped, employees will be more productive, happier, and more loyal which will make the company thrive in the long run.  Communication promotes innovation and creativity to expand between workers where ideas can flourish where one individual may not have been able to grow it alone.

 

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

In-House or Out-House? …I Mean, Outsource!

              Could a third-party firm save you thousands of dollars & hundreds of headaches?

 

Whether you are a CFO of a healthcare organization or the medical biller, a third-party may be the solution you don’t know your facility needs.  Let’s weigh the pro’s and con’s of hiring outside of your facility for a more efficient Accounts Receivable operation.   

 

Consider your facility’s in-house billing methods; think about the routines, the hassles, the “easy stuff”, the headaches, the questions- visualize Everything… even the stapler.  What are the most important factors in your medical billing processes? It is likely you are thinking labor costs of billers, return on investment of said labor, and reports or statistics on efficiency.[1]  Keep in mind were talking about the processes here and optimizing said processes via in-house or outsourcing.  I challenge you to use your open mind and compare all of the dynamics of both in-house and outsourced billing methods.  Of course, feel free to ask any questions in the comments below, or even shoot me an email at dbarry@mcaskilled.com!


In-House Billing

In-house medical billing departments are most beneficial for facilities who prefer a more hands-on management of their operation.[4] This is because it allows you to have direct oversight, the billers are accessible, there is an assurance of security of sensitive materials, and even the convenience of maintaining your existing system and software.[2] 

Now on the other hand, consider the cost of having an in-house medical billing operation: managing personnel (salary, benefits, time off, training), entry errors, liability (embezzlement, physically on site), and employee turnover.[3]  I got a headache just typing that out!

 

Let’s consider outsourcing your medical billing…

Of course, utilizing a third-party billing company, you do give up some control... but relinquishing some control comes lowering YOUR responsibilities as well.[4]  Let’s face it, who DOESN’T want to give up some of their responsibilities!?  Also, sometimes with third party companies comes a lack of transparency with hidden fees, variable costs, and even security.[3]  Additionally, you may want to consider quality control, company culture and how bringing in a third-party will affect the morale of your team.[2]

Do the benefits outweigh the costs with outsourcing your billing? I will let you decide, after all, you know your company and your needs much better than I do! I would love to play a role in this decision process so please feel free to email me with any interests or questions on the matter!

Imagine having 25+ experienced billers to work your claims… these billing managers are trained to be accurate, compliant, timely, knowledgeable, and efficient as possible.  Along with 25+ billers, there is an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) working on your claims and follow-ups with automated follow-up scheduling, automated notetaking, accuracy, and SPEED!  That’s right, ROBOTS doing your medical billing… Robots who never take off, never get tired, don’t require benefits, and do not need training due to high turnover.  With a third party, like REVEX, your billing costs lower, cash flow increases, and your time frees up to get more done outside of your medical billing shenanigans![1]  REVEX, for example, offers a customized billing package ranging from routine follow-ups, denial management, old AR collections, and complete billing services. With our combination of billing service and software we can create the ultimate customer experience to meet your needs.  REVEX is a combination of service and software to create the ultimate custom billing solution your facility needs.

 

These statements are based on our market research, feed back from clients, as well as on years of experience REVEX has in the industry.  Every healthcare facility has different needs. We’d love to hear about your experiences and gain some insight on whether a third-party solution is optimal for you.


Please email me for your free consultation, quote, or trial!

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[1] Barry, D., & Cobb, H. (2020, June 10). [REVEX Market Research Survey]. Unpublished raw data.

[2] Casarez, C. (2018, April 09). In-House vs. Outsourced Medical Billing: Pros and Cons. Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.carecloud.com/continuum/in-house-vs-outsourced-medical-billing-pros-and-cons/

[3] O'Connor, S. (2015, August 18). Weighing the Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Medical Billing. Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.adsc.com/blog/weighing-the-pros-cons-of-outsourcing-medical-billing

    [4] Patel, D. (2017, July 17). The Pros and Cons Of Outsourcing. Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/deeppatel/2017/07/17/the-pros-and-cons-of-outsourcing-and-the-effect-on-company-culture/#2b9363cb562d

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It’s All Greek to Me! - Learn the Language of Medical-Billing Notes!

According to a Market Research Study hosted by REVEX, around half of medical billers utilize Excel spreadsheets for note taking.  Others use emails, word documents, and their current Patient Relationship Management Systems to maintain notes. [3] 

This can present issues when it comes to communication between employees following-up on the same claims; for example, one employee is calling on a claim to follow-up and gets told one thing, while another logs into the online portal and receives different information.  If both employees are taking notes in excel spreadsheets, they may not be receiving real-time updates on the status of the claim and there is a disconnect there.  Also, having two employees following up on the same claim is not efficient when it comes to labor costs. 

What if there was an easier way? A faster way? And automated way? A standardized method to taking notes that saves time and lowers error incidences on your claims... Keep reading if you are tired of your current process and are looking for a way to improve the accuracy and efficiency of your notes/follow-ups!

Let’s review what GREAT notes look like:

  1. Great notes are easy to read, clear and concise.  

They should describe the actions you took to reach the conclusion of the claim.  It is ok to use shorthand if the method is standardized amongst all users.  A user should be able to read the last note and know exactly what you did and what needs to be done next.  We recommend a 1-2 sentence summary or action step for each follow-up note.

 

  1. Great notes direct you through the follow-ups.

Notes should document actions taken as well as next steps to take.  This allows smooth transitions between billers following up on claims within the same team.

 

  1. Great notes set your follow-up schedule/timeline.

Notes should all be tagged with a date/timestamp for accountability and communication between employees.  This will also help save time as you can schedule your follow-ups based on payer and how quickly they process claims/updates.


  1. Great notes are accurate, current, and detailed. 

They should include the claim number, the source of the update (called, checked a portal, emailed rep), payment information (Check/EFT number, amount paid, and any other items like copay or deductible).  When it comes to standardizing the language used in notes, it may be helpful to have a template or form for your billers to utilize.  When it comes to being detailed, we highly recommend using call reference numbers when communicating with payors as these can easily be traced or recorded.  Whenever you get a call reference number, you can also help guide customer service reps on subsequent calls so that they can quickly help you on your needs.  You should update the notes at least weekly, so you do not have to spend time in tracking down information as claims pay.

 

  1. Great notes are relevant, productive, and include vital information.

Nothing is more frustrating than reading a note and it does not include any new or relevant information.  This goes back to my first and third point of notes needing to be concise and detailed, but I wanted to make the points of relativity and productivity stand out.  Save yourself from frustration and have value-added notes. [1]

How can I improve my note taking process?

·       Utilize forms or templates to standardize what needs to be included in each note update.  REVEX offers this feature in our software with a simple form.  With REVEX, our notes can also be automated depending on what custom package you have with us.  Our Biller’s and software automatically update these notes in our software in a concise, productive manner so our teams are always on the same page with live, accurate updates!  See the screenshot below for a sample of the notes form we use:

 



·       Training is key.  Training your staff in a manner that they each utilize the same process is crucial to a cohesive billing team.  This ensures little to no time wasted, higher accuracy in note taking, and great team morale by lowering frustrations.[2] REVEX also offers services when it comes to training your billing team.  If you need someone to help you develop a billing plan, more efficient note-taking methods, or training your employees- Schedule a meeting with REVEX today!

·       Hold Reviews for your team.  This is a great way to go over their work and help them improve processes and productivity.  Review things like their time spent on certain billing tasks, accuracy in filing claims, note-taking efficiency, and even discuss their needs to improve their work environment.  A review should be both ways to the employee feels heard and can make suggestions for improvement as they are such a strong part of the process.

 

To conclude, note taking is an important part of the medical billing process when you are looking to save time and money.  You can save more time, be more efficient and be more productive by focusing on strategies that reinforce communication and expedite processes. This will help avoid claim errors and miscommunications. REVEX is eager to help you build a custom plan to address your team’s needs. Schedule a meeting with us to get your free quote today!   

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[1] Lundin, Elizabeth. “How to Take Better Notes: The 6 Best Note-Taking Systems.” College Info Geek, 8 Jan. 2020, collegeinfogeek.com/how-to-take-notes-in-college/.

[2] “The Medical Billing Process.” MedicalBillingandCoding.org, MB&CC, 6 Sept. 2019, www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/billing-process/.

[3] REVEX. (2020, June 1). Market Research Study.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Follow-Up, Don’t Fall Out!


Do you have a routine or system in place for following-up on claims?  Have you evaluated your time and efficiency on your follow-up processes?  Have you been looking for a way to save on labor and costs in your Accounts Receivable Department?  Keep reading!!


One of the most time consuming (and frustrating) activities in billing and collections is the follow-ups on claims. Most facilities will submit claims to multiple payers (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) which means logging in and calling/emailing multiple plans in order to confirm the claim(s) status- AKA a hassle.[2]

In today’s post, we will provide a few tips to help you organize and manage your follow-up process through a routine approach.  A routine ensures no claim goes without being followed-up and that they are followed-up in the most efficient and correct manner.  Having a system for when follow-ups via emails, through online portals, and phone calls also makes the process exponentially more convenient.[1]
  A routine might include which day of the week/month you follow-up, how you initially conduct the follow-up (phone call, portal or email), time between follow-ups, your secondary follow-up method, and so on.  A routine will ensure claims do not get forgotten or swept under the rug.[3]

Step 1: Run/Print the AR report and compile your “Priority List”

Each patient management system (PMS) has its own version of the accounts Receivable (AR) report. This report details each outstanding account.  Most PMSs allow users to run reports by payer (or by resident) which will include a summary page. The summary page will help you identify trends with specific payers.  The full report will allow you to see which residents have the highest balance(s).


Once you have run your AR report, you will need to identify the oldest and largest balances. Another consideration to use is the payer’s timely filing guidelines.[3]
Most billers will either highlight or document these accounts on a separate file or system, which you should maintain each month.[2]

Step 2: Compare your Priority List with your notes

Now that you have your list, you need to review your previous notes.  As you review these notes, you should begin to identify the actions you are going to need to take to complete your next round of follow-ups. 

For example, we often break things down to include whether we will need to call, check a portal, or send an email. This process has helped REVEX billers save hours each day by allowing us to organize similarly related activities and addressing these items based on level of time and difficulty.  

Please schedule a meeting with REVEX if you do not already have a system to document your follow-ups or if you would like help in creating your file.

Step 3: Organize your Follow-Ups

After you have identified the next steps, you need to sort them by the type of follow-up and how much time you will need to complete each update.

In our experience:

Emails and the online portals are the easiest follow-up methods. Phone calls are the hardest (as they take more time).

If your follow-ups require making phone calls then schedule them in the early morning or late afternoon. This is when most customer service lines have fewer calls.

If your follow-ups require checking online or emailing a provider representative, then schedule them around your phone calls.[2]

Step 4: Timeline

85% of billers will follow-up at least weekly on the entirety their accounts.[2]
 We agree that claims need frequent follow-ups for claims to process timely. We also believe that the type of claim will dictate the frequency of these follow-ups!

For example, if a resident has two payers (ex. Medicare as primary and BCBS as secondary) then you will not need to follow-up with the secondary payer until after the primary payer has paid. What about documentation? You should still make notes on the secondary claims; however, a simple note such as “Pending Primary” until the primary pays will help ensure you spend your time wisely on these types of updates. Then, once the primary has paid, you can begin the next steps for the secondary claim.

For your follow-ups, we recommend following-up every 2-3 days on accounts that are approaching their payer’s timely filing guideline. This will help prevent write-offs for timely filing.

For all other accounts, you can schedule them for weekly updates. As payers confirm the claims are set to pay then begin to work on the next round of claims.

REVEX software and services work hard to automate steps 1-4 so your team can focus on step 5! 

Step 5: Execute

Now that you have put in all this hard work in organizing your information, you need to complete the most crucial step; execute your follow-ups!

You have put in all this hard work and you do not want it to go to waste. By having this plan, you can ensure you take each action. Additionally, by having your follow-up routine set you can adapt to your other responsibilities.[1]

Conclusion

The follow-up process does not need to be complicated. By breaking down each account into little (and easy) steps you can build momentum and get through your follow-ups.

If you or your billing team need help with what information you should record in your notes, or the actions you need to take in your follow-ups then please call or email REVEX to schedule a meeting. We would be happy to help you and your team overcome this obstacle and learn to operate as efficiently as possible with a customized plan! 

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Resources:
 

[1] Medical Billing Best Practices. (2016, October 18). Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://clinicservice.com/best-practices-medical-billing/
[2] REVEX. (2020, June 1). Market Research Study.
[3] Why is A/R Follow-up Crucial in Medical Billing - FWS. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.flatworldsolutions.com/healthcare/articles/ar-follow-up-importance-medical-billing-process.php

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The "Write" and Wrong Way to Write-Off


Is your company missing out on hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars simply by writing off claims that unknowingly could have been collected on?  

A very conservative write-off figure for some of our customers is 1-2% of monthly charges commonly referred to as the “Bad Debt Allowance.” As an example, if a facility has $200,000 in monthly charges then they can expect at least $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year. 

Through this brief article, let us help you analyze your write-off practices to determine if there is a better way!  Please leave questions/comments/concerns in the comment section below and we would love to help!

Lets first do a quick refresher on which write-offs may be deemed necessary and which may be considered unnecessary.

Necessary or Approved:
-Contractual; the amount over the carrier's allowed amount is written off
-Charity; may be in accordance with a community indigent care effort, a policy adhered to in a faith-led healthcare system, or a financial assistance program.
-Small Balance; outstanding amounts that may not be worth the time or cost of labor to collect on
-Prompt Payment or Self-Pay Discounts; discounted treatment costs for those paying in full at their appointment or who do not have insurance.

Unnecessary:
-Timely Filing; tardy filing in accordance with payers requirements (Medicare requires within 12 months, Medicaid varies, commercial payers vary)
-Uncredentialled Provider; caused by filing a claim for a provider before they are credentialed with the payer*
-Administrative; manager approved due to issues such as: not in-network, practice error, bad service to the patient, etc.
-Bad Debt; simply difficult to collect and you choose to no longer pursue payment. 
-Collection Agency; written off A/R and given to a collection agency on the behalf of the practice (not forgiven, may go to different A/R or collection account).

5 Helpful Write-Off Management Tips

1- Categorize Write-offs (Necessary, Unnecessary, and then into subcategories as needed).  This will help streamline your approaches and make how you tackle these potential write-offs efficiently.

2- Set standards for which write-offs need approval by a manager.  This will help save time for the manager and the biller by not getting routine write-offs signed off on.  Also be sure to have a system of checks & balances to ensure accuracy and that there is not an abuse of power here.

3- Hold a monthly review session for write-offs where trends, issues, accuracy, and areas of improvement are reviewed.  You need to make adjustments to your system according to fee and contract adjustments.  This also shows the staff they are being held accountable for their work.

4- Finally, try not to write-off more than 5% of expected claim collections (utilized the formula gross charges minus necessary and approved write-offs).

5- Consider utilizing a third-party medical billing company to review claims and report back which should be written off, which can still be collected, and to see if old AR is collectable as well.  This is one of the custom medical billing services REVEX offers; if you are interested, please reach out to info@mcaskilled.com for a free consultation or drop a comment below!

Please leave questions/comments/concerns in the comment section below and we would love to help!



https://managemypractice.com/the-right-way-to-do-write-offs/