The Washington Post has a great article today about criminals capitalizing on uncertainty and confusion about Obamacare to defraud patients, especially elderly Medicare patients. Scams involve contacting patients and claiming to be navigators from Obamacare calling to "set up your Obamacare card" or collect information "required to maintain Medicare." Fraudsters make these claims to persuade victims to reveal financial and medical identity information. Read the complete article here.
A new Harvard Business Review blog post spotlights the benefits of friendships between team members in increasing employees' commitment to their work and their organization's mission. A wide range of organizations -- from Southwest Airlines, to Google, to Zappos -- were noted as examples of companies that had achieved a high degree of comradeship, even a family-like culture, by instilling a sense of shared mission and purpose. In turn, this creates higher performance and lower turnover -- not to mention a workforce that gets excited about showing up every day and contributing. The idea that a shared mission can enhance teamwork and performance is great news for medical practices! Employees are often drawn to the healthcare field because they share a sense of service to patients. This common sensibility gives practices a big head-start on building bonded teams. Choosing employees who connect with your practice's culture and mission -- whether it be integrative medicine, leading-edge research, superstar surgery, sports medicine, community service, a high-touch, concierge model, or any other defining practice identity -- is the first step to creating a team that gels naturally. From there, the key is allowing teamwork and bonds to form, and encouraging them as they develop. Creating projects that allow staff to participate actively in extending your practice's objectives -- special clinics, marketing programs, patient satisfaction goals, etc -- is a great way to extend and build on natural connections between team members. Be sure your team feels they have both the means to contribute to the mission and a voice, and you're on your way to creating the esprit de corps that is a hallmark of a high-functioning team.
(c) John Kwan - Fotolia.com The AMA's National Health Insurer Report Card for 2013 provided powerful reinforcement for the need for physician practices to master time-of-service collections: average patient responsibility is now topping 20% for all but one payer evaluated in the survey, and some were approaching 30%. Even Medicare is requiring patients to contribute about 25% of the cost of their care. Now the unveiling of the health exchange plans in some states, including here in California, underscores the point further. All of the new Covered California plans include cost-sharing to keep premiums affordable, including copays for all visits except the annual wellness exam. Modern Healthcare reports that other state plans that have been revealed also feature significant patient responsibility. For people new to purchasing insurance and using it to gain access to care, the patient responsibility portion to providers (on top of premiums they may be unused to paying) may come as a surprise and cause confusion. (After all, patient responsibility payments routinely confuse people who've had such plans through their employers for years!) If collecting copays and other patient responsibility payments at the time of service is not SOP at your practice, you're leaving money on the table -- and could soon be giving up even more profit that is due your practice. Plus, if copays are routinely waived or ultimately written off, you're probably violating the terms of your payer contracts -- and, with more new members joining plans that require patient cost-sharing, plans could be expected to be even more attentive to these violations as the exchanges roll out. It's time to finally master front desk collections! (If you need help understanding how well your front desk operation is managing these collections, or with rolling out new procedures, Capko & Company can help with a one-day billing and collections review -- contact us for more information.)
Turns out that even Google finds it difficult to hire the right people. Google has a history of being notoriously single-minded in its quest to hire "the best and brightest." In Google's case this meant that only applicants that had advanced degrees from elite institutions and graduated at the top of their classes need apply. In a recent interview published in the New York Times, Google's Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations, discussed some surprises that emerged from studying Google's hiring techniques. If Google is right, virtually nobody is better than anybody else at interviewing prospective employees. High GPAs, test scores and skill in brain teasers are all practically useless. According to Laszlo, the best interviewing questions are those that uncover both how a prospective employee behaved in a situation and their attitude toward a particular work challenge. Using a consistent set of questions that probe an applicant's behavior - such as how they solved a problem - and attitudes seems to be most useful. Google now asks all employees to assess their management twice a year. In our experience far too few practices take the time review the performance of managers from the perspective of those that they manage. Employees should have an opportunity to rate their managers on their transparency, clarity and fairness. Providing honest feedback to managers is essential if they are to improve their performance. Performance in this case means increased staff morale, lower turnover, higher patient satisfaction and, of course, higher profitability. Leadership is often a week area within medical practices. Key leadership attributes are fairness, consistency and predictability. With a challenging day-to-day workload, many practice administrators and physician leaders fall short on these measures. These shortcomings affect not only staff morale, but also the bottom line since staff often disengage from refining office procedures that can improve patient care and profitability. Read the short interview here: http://nyti.ms/1cOFANS