4 Meaningful Use Questions Answered

Lea Chatham August 28th, 2014

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Watch Webinar NowAt the recent free webinar, AAA for MU: Roadside Assistance for the EHR Incentive Program, speaker Barbara Drury, FHIMSS, shared the latest updates on Meaningful Use along with some user cases and experiences she has had as a HIT consultant. Participants had many questions, and Barbara and Kareo have answered some of them here.

 

Q: When will we know whether or not the extension for use of MU 2011 Edition has passed? Tweet this Kareo story
A: We will know whenever CMS publishes the final rule (FR). The government has no obligation to publish a final rule within any specific time and sometimes the FR takes years. However, the pressure of the pending Medicare physician fee schedule 1% penalty is most likely to result in a final rule being available within “months” of the public comment period rather than years. Continue to watch since the October 1st deadline is right around the corner.

Q: If the rule change goes into effect, do we still have to do the patient portal piece of MU?
A: That depends: if the final rule allows you to use a 2011 Edition with the 2013 “tweaks”, then you would not be required to provide the patient with an electronic copy, or electronic access—that was removed from MU1 with the 2013 “changes”. If the rule holds fast that all stages must use a 2014 certified Edition, then the ‘access’ and the VDT requirements are likely to stand.

Q: If the proposal passes and we’re in our 4th year of Medicare MU and we elect to use our 2011 CEHRT for the 2013 measures, what is the reporting period for 2014?
A:  For 2014, no providers, regardless of stage or program year, will be required to report on 365 days. If 2014 is your 4th year of Medicare MU (3 years for MU1 and 1 year for MU2), then you must report on any quarter in 2014.

Q: When the EP begins to attest, who is supposed to register? What is the link to register?
A:  A staff person in the practice may register and attest on behalf of an eligible professional but it is the EP who is registered, attesting, receiving the incentive and being assessed a penalty. So, if you are doing these things on behalf of an EP be sure they are reviewing and signing off on each item. The first thing you need to do is determine eligibility, which you can do on the CMS website.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording or download the slides.

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Can Concierge Medicine Improve Physician Satisfaction and Patient Care?

Lea Chatham August 26th, 2014

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By Lisa A. Eramo

Tweet This Kareo StoryOverworked and underpaid. That is the plight of many of us, including some physicians. As physician reimbursement continues to decrease while regulatory requirements mount, some doctors are turning toward an alternative business model to maintain current practice income levels while ensuring quality care: Concierge medicine. Otherwise known as ‘boutique,’ ‘personalized,’ or ‘private’ medicine, this model allows physicians to limit the number of patients they see and spend more time providing in-depth care. In some cases, they bill patients directly or work with insurers to cover all or a portion of the services rendered.

Although the concept of concierge medicine has been around for a while, it seems to be gaining traction with physicians (and patients) since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect. Tweet this Kareo story
The ACA, which mandates insurance for most patients, has resulted in an influx of new patients into the healthcare marketplace. The appeal of concierge physicians is that they’re often more available, and they provide the individualized care that patients seek. According to the Physicians Practice 2014 Great American Physician Survey, sponsored by Kareo, nearly 5% of physicians are currently in a practice and 30% are or have considered the change.

Concierge models vary and will likely continue to evolve. Tweet this Kareo story
Some concierge physicians choose to opt out of Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance completely. These physicians typically charge patients directly for treatment and/or a membership that provides access to a menu of services all of which are paid for directly by the patient. Doing so eliminates costly overhead expenses related to billing.

However, other concierge physicians bill insurers for covered services while collecting fees directly from patients for an additional level of service that goes beyond what their insurer would cover. Fees are paid annually, quarterly, or monthly, and can range from as low $600 to as much as $15,000 or more per year, according to the American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP), a non-profit organization that seeks to spur the growth of practices that provide concierge, personalized, or value-based medical care.

The AAPP estimates that there are currently more than 3,500 concierge physicians and that this number will only continue to grow. According to the physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins, 9.6% of practice owners plan to convert to concierge practices in the next one to three years. This statistic is based on a national survey of nearly 14,000 physicians that analyzed 2012 practice patterns. According to a Merritt Hawkins analysis, certain states, such as Texas, Florida, and New York, appear to have either a proportionally higher number of entrepreneurial physicians or practice environments likely to motivate doctors to switch to concierge medicine.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in health care now, and the only certainty is there is a lot of talk about cutting physician fees,” Mark Smith, president of Merritt Hawkins told Forbes Magazine. “One way to get out of it is to go off the grid.”

Physicians like going ‘off the grid’ because they don’t need to deal with complicated insurance requirements when they accept cash payments only. For patients, concierge medicine means they’ll often pay a fraction of the cost associated with extremely high deductibles.

Primary care physicians are frequently moving into the concierge realm. Consider Dr. David J. Jones, an internist in McLean, VA. Jones told the Fairfax Times that he transitioned his practice in April so he could spend more time with patients and get to know them better. He charges patients a one-time annual membership fee paid out of pocket in return for more individualized care. Dr. Mark Niedfelt, a family physician in a Milwaukee suburb, told American Medical News that the ACA will help build his already thriving concierge practice.

The New York Times reported that direct primary care is also beneficial for employers looking to cut costs. Direct primary care physicians generally charge $50-$60 per month for adults with lower fees for children. This fee typically covers routine primary care services and certain lab tests, basic x-rays, and minor procedures. Employers combine direct primary care with high-deductible plans that cover more extensive services, such as hospitalizations and specialty care.

MDVIP, a network of private physicians who focus on personal wellness and disease prevention, reports that the interest in concierge medicine continues to grow. MDVIP affiliates with more than 700 physicians in 41 states and the District of Columbia and caters to more than 200,000 patients.

David Barrie, vice president of MDVIP, says physicians enjoy being able to spend more time with patients while also seeking a work-life balance. “You’re more focused on the clinical side of what you want to do as a physician rather than on the transactional side.” he says.

Approximately 75%-85% of an MDVIP’s income comes directly from a $1,500-$1,800 out-of-pocket fee that patients pay in exchange for a comprehensive annual wellness exam that focuses on important health and wellness areas including heart health, emotional well-being, diabetes risk, respiratory health, quality of sleep, hearing and vision, sexual health, nutritional assessment, weight management, bone health, comprehensive risk factor analysis, and face-to-face counseling.

“If patients would go to the open market, it would cost them significantly more,” says Barrie.

All other covered services are billed to the patient’s insurance. Patients also enjoy other benefits, such as 24/7 availability to physicians via email and cell phone, a “no waiting” waiting room, and more. Patient yearly renewal rate is 94%.

MDVIP has evidence that concierge medicine actually does make a difference in patient care. According to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, the MDVIP personalized healthcare model resulted in a 79% reduction in hospital admissions for Medicare patients and a reduction in readmission rates for certain diagnoses as compared to the national average.

“This shows that when physicians have the time and can use the tools available to them, patients get better care,” says Barrie.

Share your thoughts about concierge models in the comments section.

About the Author

Lisa A. EramoLisa A. Eramo is a freelance writer/editor specializing in health information management, medical coding, and healthcare regulatory topics. She began her healthcare career as a referral specialist for a well-known cancer center. Lisa went on to work for several years at a healthcare publishing company. She regularly contributes to healthcare publications, websites, and blogs, including the AHIMA Journal and AHIMA Advantage. Her focus areas are medical coding, and ICD-10 in particular, clinical documentation improvement, and healthcare quality/efficiency.

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New Research: Is the ACA Impacting the Independent Practice?

Lea Chatham August 20th, 2014

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By Scott E. Rupp

Great American Physician SurveyThe new normal means a move toward patient-focused care rather than volume-based care driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Tweet this Kareo story

Among those to join the parade toward a system based on more universal care are more than eight million people who signed up for coverage through the ACA during the initial annual open enrollment period, Oct. 1, 2013, to March 3, 2014, according to U.S. News and World Report.

 

 

Of those to enroll in plans throughout the US, only 13% previously had coverage and likely received regular care from their providers. Of those to enroll in the new plans, at least 85% of individuals qualify for some form of federal assistance, including advanced premium tax credits to help pay their premiums. Here’s the quick overview of ACA enrollees:

  • 8,019,763: People who have signed up for the ACA
  • 4,301,656: Female enrollees
  • 3,633,920: Male enrollees
  • 2.2 million: Enrollees ages 18-34
  • 1.37 million: Enrollees ages 35-44
  • 1.81 million: Enrollees ages 45-54
  • 2 million: Enrollees ages 55-64

Interestingly enough, even though more than eight million people having signed up, 46% of physicians say ACA is having no effect on their practices, according to the 2014 Great American Physician Survey conducted by Physicians Practice magazine and sponsored by Kareo. Of the 1,311 physicians to take the survey, only 2% of physicians said that federal healthcare reform has boosted their businesses tremendously.

Unfortunately, many practices were counting on the federal exchanges and more covered individuals to help grow their practices. They had hoped that more covered individuals would mean more business for their practices; ACA was supposed to provide clear opportunities for growth, they thought. As with all small businesses, growth is important. According to the Physicians Practice survey, 79% of physicians said growing their businesses is a high priority, but the rhetoric about patients flooding the system has not materialized.

infographic

Physicians don’t feel much different about the actual exchange plans offered and the ACA program as a whole. More than 40% say the program has had no impact on their practices and only 38% of physicians say the impact of seeing patients covered by exchange plans has been minimal to this point. Actually, only 6% of physicians say the exchanges have had significant impact on their practices, resulting in them getting more patients than they can accommodate.

For the 43% of practices that are accepting exchange insurance plans, there are some unique challenges though, Kaiser Health News reports. Specifically, verifying that these patients have insurance can be a time-consuming task that can take hours. For exchange patients, practices must call the insurer to make sure the patient has paid; if not, the insurance company can refuse to pay the doctor for the visit, or come back later and recoup a payment it made.

While ACA is now part of the fabric that physicians face and must navigate, there currently seems to be a collective holding of the breath by physicians as they wait to see how reform will affect their practices in the long term. In the meantime, they are dealing with more immediate problems, like meaningful use and the switch to ICD-10. And, they are trying to manage an independent practice in the face of what many of them deem too much third party intrusion.

About the Author

SRuppScott E. Rupp is a writer and an award-winning journalist focused on healthcare technology. He also works as a public relations executive, and has spent time working in house with a major electronic health record/practice management vendor. In addition to writing for a variety of publications, Scott also offers his insights on healthcare technology and its leaders on his site, Electronic Health Reporter.

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9 Steps to Improve Patient Collections

Lea Chatham August 19th, 2014

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Watch Patient Collections 101 NowPatient A/R has been steadily increasing. If it hasn’t already, it will soon reach as much as 30% of your practice’s total accounts receivable. In addition, patients are paying a larger share of their healthcare costs—as much as 25-30%–out of pocket. Unfortunately, once a patient leaves your practice, the chances of collecting begin to fall to as low as 40%. In fact, many practices only collect about 20% of patient balances.Tweet this Kareo story

 

Use these proven strategies to improve your patient collections:

  1. Have a Clear Financial Policy: The great thing about a written policy is that it establishes clear responsibilities for both parties ahead of time. Yours should tell patients exactly what you expect in terms of who pays what and when. This policy should be provided to every new patient and to all patients once a year.
  2. Check Eligibility: Verifying patient eligibility and benefits prior to the visits gives you invaluable information. While the level of detail varies from payer to payer, you should always be able to find out if the patient is covered and what the copay amount is.
  3. Collect Copays at Check-in: Not only is collecting copays at check in a great way to reduce your patient A/R, it also keeps you compliant with your payer contracts, many of which require this. Setting up a process for this also reduces your collection overhead by eliminating statements and other follow up for patients who only have a copay.
  4. Collect Balance Due at Checkout: If you have enough information from the payer to collect co-insurance or the balance due on the deductible then do so. If not, then make sure the patient knows their responsibility and is prepared to pay that balance.
  5. Set Up Credit Card on File (CCOF): By putting CCOF in place, you can collect outstanding balances without the need to send statements. Patients need to sign an authorization form that provides the credit information and maximum amount to be charged along with a time period for which the authorization is valid.
  6. Compress Your Statement Cycle: Send patient statements as soon as you know the patient due amount. Don’t wait for a monthly cycle. Monthly billing lengthens your A/R, and it reduces your chances of getting paid.
  7. Offer Statement Options: Offer patients the option of paper or electronic statements. Allow patients to choose the option that makes sense for them. You’re more likely get paid, and using electronic statements reduces your expenses as well.
  8. Provide Online Bill Pay: Over half of consumers pay other bills online, so why not yours. Online bill pay is fast, easy, and secure. Check with your vendor for online payment options.
  9. Consider Deposits for High-Dollar Procedures: Often, high-dollar procedures in the outpatient setting are planned. This gives you time to get authorization and gather more details from the payer about what the patient portion might be. Then, sit down with the patient to review coverage and collect a deposit or estimated charge.

In such uncertain times, you can’t afford to let any money you are owed slip through the cracks. A strong, efficient patient collections process can help ensure you get paid. To learn more about how to improve your patient collections, check out the recorded webinar Patient Collections 101 with expert Mary Pat Whaley.

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Free Webinar: Meaningful Use Roadside Assistance

Lea Chatham August 14th, 2014

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Register NowAAA for MU: Roadside Assistance for the EHR Incentive Program
August 20, 2014
10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET

 

 

Much has changed in 2014 for Meaningful Use (MU)—and been changed back again, temporarily. Many practices have questions about how to participate effectively. Physicians and practice managers are concerned about putting undo burden on themselves and other staff, tracking and reporting accurately, and avoiding an audit. Find out how to get the incentive, avoid the penalty, and participate in MU through lessons learned from other EHR users.

In this webinar, meaningful use expert Barbara Drury will share her AAA advice:

  • A(dopt): Experiences learned from MU1 and MU2 EHR users
  • A(ttest): Issues to address during and after yearly attestations
  • A(udit): Housekeeping and     preparation experiences to date
  • Quality opportunities beyond MU

This is your chance to make sure you are doing MU right—from Adopting through Attestation and Audits!

Register Now

 About the Speaker

Join Barbara Drury to find out what you need to know about meaningful use nowBarbara Drury, BA, FHIMSS, is President of Pricare Inc., an independent health information technology consulting firm founded in 1982. She frequently lectures and writes about the impact of office-based computer systems and electronic medical record systems for entities such as medical societies, healthcare organizations, and others. Ms. Drury served as an appointee to the ONC’s Technical Expert Panel on Unintended Consequences of HIT Adoption. She has achieved Fellow Status with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and has served on the HIMSS Public Policy Committee and the Davies Ambulatory Award Committee. Ms. Drury is also a frequent speaker at the HIMSS Annual Conference and is the recipient of the December 2004 and the April 2009 Spirit of HIMSS award.

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August Newsletter Is All about EHRs and MU

Lea Chatham August 12th, 2014

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The August edition of the Kareo Getting Paid Newsletter highlights the use of EHRs and strategies for managing Meaningful Use and PQRS. The newsletter also provides a chance to discover upcoming events, news, and resources from Kareo. Plus, you’ll learn about how to register for our upcoming free educational webinar, AAA for MU: Roadside Assistance for the EHR Incentive Program, presented by Barbara Drury. Read all this and more now!Tweet this Kareo story

Read Kareo Newsletter Now

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3 Practice “Accidents” along the EHR Road to Meaningful Use

Lea Chatham August 11th, 2014

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Register for free webinar to learn the latest on MUAs we continue on the road to meaningful use, we’re beginning to see some of the day-to-day challenges more clearly. Here are three recent “accidents” I witnessed along this summer’s MU journey:

Practice 1
This doctor has been using the EHR for six months. The Practice Manager runs a report on MU1 measures to date. The physician’s ePrescribing numerator/denominators percentage is well below the requirement. After the practice manager contacted the provider, the physician said there was a problem whenever he tried to ePrescribe so he just wrote a paper script rather than telling someone.

What can we learn from this? MU reports can reveal more than just numerator/denominator calculations. In this “accident”, there was not a clear way for the MD to report the problem to a staff person or the vendor, not only putting MU in jeopardy but perpetuating all the “bad” things about handwritten scripts.

Practice 2
The practice was live on scheduling and billing for four months and providers were live on EHR for three months. Signed EHR notes are reviewed and have appropriate ICD codes for submitting claims. Insurance payments are being appropriately paid. The practice’s MU Champion runs a report on MU1 measures to date. None of the three providers have met the problem list threshold; two aren’t even remotely close.

What can we learn from this? It’s better to run the MU reports before you need good numbers so you can retrain users. In this “accident”, the providers had missed a step in the visit documentation process, which requires the provider to check a box that reads “Add to Problem List”. Missing this one little box had two major impacts: 1) the EPs could not meet MU measure on “maintain problem list”, and 2) any summary of care generated would have no problem list at all! Fortunately, by running the MU reports before they needed good MU numbers the providers were shown where to check the required box in plenty of time to fix both issues.

Practice 3
This practice uses ancillary staff (sonographers) and bills under the EP’s NPI. For pregnant patients, the sonographers perform a 3D ultrasound. During setup of the CPT/procedure tables, the practice created revenue categories; this procedure was assigned to the revenue category “OB”. The MU report was setup to exclude revenue category of “Ultrasounds” but to include “OB”. Running this report showed the 3D services because they were attached to “OB” revenue category and not “Ultrasound” revenue category. In this practice, an ultrasound visit by a sonographer happens immediately before an office visit by the physician. MU only allows one encounter per day per MD, so the sonographer 3D visits were over-inflating the denominator for the physician. By editing the revenue category and assigning the 3D to “Ultrasound”, the MU reports accurately reflected the physicians “office visits” by excluding ultrasounds.

What can we learn from this? Initial decisions are likely to have down-stream consequences that need to be changed. In this “accident”, while the original assignment of the complimentary 3D Ultrasound to revenue category “OB” made sense at the time, further mining of the data showed that it didn’t accurately reflect the physician’s services and needed to be in the “Ultrasound” revenue category to keep the MU reports accurate.  

Meaningful Use is a journey, not a destination, but sometimes the stops along the way show us other ways we can improve.Tweet this Kareo story

To learn more about some of the common “accidents” and get some roadside assistance to fix them, join me for my upcoming free webinar, AAA for MU: Roadside Assistance for the EHR Incentive Program.

About the Author

Register Now for th elatest updates on Meaningful UseBarbara Drury, BA, FHIMSS, is President of Pricare Inc., an independent health information technology consulting firm founded in 1982. She frequently lectures and writes about the impact of office-based computer systems and electronic medical record systems for entities such as medical societies, healthcare organizations, and others. Ms. Drury served as an appointee to the ONC’s Technical Expert Panel on Unintended Consequences of HIT Adoption. She has achieved Fellow Status with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and has served on the HIMSS Public Policy Committee and the Davies Ambulatory Award Committee. Ms. Drury is also a frequent speaker at the HIMSS Annual Conference and is the recipient of the December 2004 and the April 2009 Spirit of HIMSS award.

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CME Webinar: CMS Incentive Programs Simplified for Physicians

Lea Chatham August 8th, 2014

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Watch CME Webinar NowCurrently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) administers two programs that require eligible professionals (EPs) to document and report on data from patient encounters to avoid payment penalties and receive incentives. The two programs are Meaningful Use (MU) and the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). Both are intended to increase the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and improve patient outcomes. And both can impact your bottom line.

 

These programs are optional but the penalties add up over the next five years to nearly 10%. About 40% of physicians still don’t use an EHR and can’t participate. Many of these providers cite cost as a barrier. In addition,  nearly 17% of practices say EHR adoption and implementation is their biggest technology problem. Meeting MU requirements comes in a few spots below at 11%. For others, the reason for not participating is that the programs seem too complicated, and they don’t think it is worth the effort. If this is you, have you considered the long-term, big picture impact of the penalties or potential benefits to care and outcomes with an EHR.

In this free, physician CME webinar, HIT expert Joy Rios provides an overview of both programs and how you can use technology to align them and simplify your reporting processes. She’ll show you how you can participate, avoid the penalties and get the incentives while minimizing the time, effort and impact on your workflow.

Even if you ultimately choose not to participate, you should make that choice with all the facts. To get more informed about MU and PQRS now by watching CMS Incentive Programs Simplified for Physicians. This recorded event is available anytime and is designated for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM .

About the Speaker

Watch CME webinar nowJoy Rios, MBA, is a subject matter expert in both Meaningful Use and EHRs. She has a unique talent for distilling forbidding materials down to the information providers need to succeed. Joy develops EHR training programs, authors Meaningful Use and PQRS coursework, and writes a nationally syndicated Health IT column, Ask Joy, for 4Medapproved. Joy holds an MBA with a focus in sustainability, and is a Certified Healthcare Technology Specialist, with a focus in Workflow Redesign. Her most recent venture, Practice Transformation, focuses on providing resources, products, and services to support providers in keeping up with the pace of change in healthcare.

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3 SEO Tips to Get Found by New Patients Online

Lea Chatham August 7th, 2014

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Download 5 Steps to a Website GuideHaving a website for your medical practice matters. You simply can’t compete today without one. In fact, a Pew Research study showed that 87% of US adults use the Internet and 72% look for health information online. There are many things you need to do to get the most from your website. Maximizing your search engine optimization (SEO) is just one of those things.

According to Google, SEO affects only organic search results, not paid or sponsored results. For most small practices, this is important because you may not have the budget for paid advertising online. Your website vendor can help with most of the SEO strategies recommended by Google to help optimize SEO. Here are some basic guidelines to use:

  • Create unique, accurate page titles.
  • Use the description meta tag (a short summary of the page contents).
  • Have simple-to-understand URLs that use words (not complex numeric structures).
  • Make your site easy to navigate.
  • Offer quality content and services—the more relevant and interesting, the better your search results.
  • Optimize the use of images (help people imagine what being a patient feels like in your office).

For practices seeking to use their website to get new patients, you need to consider designing your website to increase local SEO.Tweet this Kareo story
You want to reach and engage your community to grow your practice—not reach people 3,000 miles away! Local optimization can help you get found in local searches (i.e., Pediatrician, Iowa City). Make sure that you and your vendor cover these additional SEO tasks when setting up your site:

  1. Include your city name along with top keywords in website content (i.e., We are pediatricians in Iowa City).
  2. Include your full address on every page of your website (not just the contact us page) and make sure it is exactly the same everywhere (same words, punctuation, etc.). It needs to be consistent.
  3. Link your Google Maps listing to your website.

To learn more ways to engage and retain patients with your website, download 5 Simple Steps to Creating a Website Your Patient Will Love.

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6 Steps to Hiring the Right Medical Practice Staff

Lea Chatham August 5th, 2014

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Tweet This Kareo StorySo, you’ve read the recent blog post on having the right medical practice staff mix at your practice. Now, you’re looking at your staffing, processes, and technology.

You may have discovered you are actually understaffed or incorrectly staffed. Perhaps someone has recently left the practice. Whatever the reason, you have determined you need to fill a position. Now what?

  1. Create a job description: Each position should have a clear job description that includes title, department, date the job description was developed and a revision date, who the employee reports to, and if the position is exempt or none exempt. The body of the job description should describe the general purpose of the position and responsibilities. This is where the job tasks are listed (i.e., knowledge, skills, and abilities). Describe the skills that are required to perform the job function and the experience needed. Include educational experience, physical requirements, and typical working conditions. Once the job description is complete you have the tools to identify the right candidate for the position. You can find sample descriptions online through a simple search or check with associations you belong to.
  2. Test the candidates: Test candidate knowledge and skills first so you don’t waste your time—or theirs. For example, if the position is for billing, have them complete a billing test before you interview. The test complexity should be based on the position. If the candidate does not pass the test, don’t interview. Tests should be conducted in the office so that you can be sure that the actual candidate is the one that took the test and not one of their friends.
  3. Identify the top applicants: Once you’ve tested skills, then you can interview the most qualified applicants. Depending on the size of your practice you may do more than one interview. In a smaller practice, the practice manager might be the only one who needs to speak with the candidates. In a larger practice, there could be an initial interview with the practice manager for the top candidates, followed by an interview of the top two with the department as a group or with the practice owner/provider.
  4. Conduct a working interview: Once you are down to the top two, schedule a working interview where the candidates get to work side-by-side with coworkers. Tweet this Kareo story
    This gives the practice a “test drive” to observe actual skills and how they interact with the patients and staff. A working interview should last no less than four hours and up to a week. Remember to have the candidates sign a confidentiality agreement before they are exposed to patient and business information. They should also have a clear understanding of HIPPA regulations.
  5. Conduct a background check: Once you have decided that the candidate is a good fit, make sure you complete a thorough professional reference and background check. Too often we are called in to practices for theft only to find out that the “perfect” candidate has a criminal background. It is important to remember that if the candidate has a criminal background that is not relevant to the position they are being hired for you cannot refuse them the position.
  6. Make an offer: When you have selected the ideal candidate, prepare a written offer letter. It should include the position they are being offered, rate of pay, who they report to on their first day, date and time they start, and if you are in a right to work state, a paragraph should be included to clarify what that means. Including a copy of the full job description is a good idea too. The offer letter and job description should be signed before the employee’s first day.

There is one last important thing to keep in mind. Often, employees leave without notice. When you hire in a right to work state no notice of termination is required by either party. You could find yourself short staffed with a full schedule of patients. Obviously, this puts pressure on you to fill the position quickly. Do not fill the position out of desperation. It is better to hire a temp to help out while you look for the right person. It may also be less expensive in the short term to pay a little overtime or reallocate staff to provide the appropriate coverage. It can cost up to $9,400.00 according to eHow to replace a wrong hire so don’t rush it.

About the Author

Rochelle_MG_1811Rochelle Glassman is President & CEO of United Physician Services. Rochelle brings a passionate, very practical “do it today” approach to making medical practices successful and getting physicians paid more.

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