Archive for the ‘Physician Practice Management’ Category

What’s Next on the Affordable Care Act Timeline?

Your opinion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) probably depends on what role you play in the U.S. healthcare system.

  • Physicians and other healthcare providers seem to fear each and every new provision as it’s unveiled and are anxious about how to implement the requirements placed upon them.
  • Hospitals are trying to stay ahead of the game (and their competitors) by forming Integrated Health Systems and Accountable Care Organizations, and purchasing physicians’ private practices.
  • Consumers are attempting to navigate the system to take advantage of improved health insurance coverage or to obtain it for the first time.
  • Businesses of all sizes are looking for interpretations of what the law says about employee benefits.
  • Health insurance companies are evaluating in what ways they will participate and what that participation (or lack of) will mean to them in the future.
  • States are trying to decide if they will accept federal money to expand Medicaid and Medicare coverage within their borders.

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Considering the Opportunity of Employment?

As an independent broker and advocate for the interests of the physicians I serve, the growing trend of hospital and health system employment is concerning and sad.  With well over 20 years of being in the medical malpractice insurance business, I have witnessed this cycle repeat itself probably three times or more, usually with the same outcome.

After years of sacrifice, living hand to mouth and coming out of medical school with a lot of debt, the hope is that the autonomy and potential for a fair income and will be forthcoming.  Many toil in modest success towards the goals set forth, only to succumb to the promise of a panacea in employment.

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Advocating Effective Risk Management by Using Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Patient Satisfaction Survey

Risk management is subject that is constantly on the mind of today’s practicing physicians’ and hospitals. There are many forms of risk management for physicians to utilize that can help reduce the risk of a medical malpractice claim and promote a healthy doctor/patient relationship. One of the newest forms of risk management is what is called, patient satisfaction surveys.

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How Is Your Medical Practice Performing? Let’s Evaluate.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are one way to evaluate how your practice is doing.  KPI’s are benchmarks or statistics, and they provide a roadmap to help you monitor the overall performance of your practice in both financial and non-financial measures.  You can adopt KPI’s for every facet of your healthcare operation, but today, we are going to concentrate on accounts receivable (A/R) indicators.

First of all, you will not have the same KPIs as every other practice. This is due to the fact that management of one practice may want to know one thing, while another practice wants to track something else.  For A/R purposes, though, the indicators tracked should be pretty similar.  For example, most organizations track: [Read more →]

Today’s Topic: Are You Encrypted?

If you are a physician who carries confidential patient information on a laptop, tablet, iPad or other portable devices, please read on.

By now, you probably have been bombarded with articles and reports describing responsibilities of so-called “covered entities” regarding Protected Health Information (PHI).   PHI can appear in many forms: patient letters, patient lists, patient phone numbers and addresses, patient photos, surgeon reports, emails, billing information, lab results, research data, and so forth.

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Safeguard Your Practice with Basic Controls

As a physician, your schedule is more hectic than most.  So, if you are like many doctors, you have probably turned over the financial details of your practice to staff.  In a practice without adequate internal controls, that decision could cost you.  Every practice will vary to some degree, but the following basic controls will go a long way towards ensuring that assets are properly accounted for and safeguarded against potential misappropriation.

  • Bond all appropriate practice employees.
  • Use a bank lockbox for payer and patient deposits.
  • Segregate job responsibilities; the person receiving cash should not be posting payments to patient accounts.
  • Reconcile receipts to sign-in sheets and appointment books on a daily basis.
  • Maintain pre-numbered patient charge tickets and account for the numerical sequence daily.
  • Reconcile daily cash posting to the bank statement.
  • Monitor contractual adjustments – look for unusual trends that don’t fit the pattern of the practice profile.
  • Require physician approvals for all bad debt write offs.
  • Have a physician review and approve all vendor invoices and sign all checks.
  • Forbid the use of a signature stamp.
  • Periodically review endorsements of cancelled checks for any anomalies and investigate accordingly.
  • Ensure proper computer password protection procedures are in place and properly enforced. Employees should only have access to those programs necessary for them to perform assigned job responsibilities.

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Office Management and Medical Malpractice Insurance

Waiting Room at Doctors Office

I was thinking of a visit to the doctor’s office as a nine year old many years ago.  This was a Saturday afternoon visit where my parents had reached the physician at home to stitch my lip from a wrestling mishap.  We met at the physician’s office and he took care of the office visit from start to finish, including collecting the co-insurance, and signing consent to release forms as well as informed consent forms in an effort to avoid a medical malpractice insurance claim.  I was recently at my personal physician’s office and contrasted the experience 35 years later.

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Keeping Great Staff is Not All About Pay

We all worry about paying medical staff employees fairly.  But let’s face it; there’s always a higher paying job out there somewhere.  It is critical to make sure your physician medical practice is competitive in the marketplace in terms of pay and benefits, but focusing on the small things could make all the difference in the world in keeping your best employees.

So what are some of the small things you can do? Concentrate on: [Read more →]