We are fast approaching the end of January and the point in the New Year when the majority of people's New Year's resolutions have already failed. This is, however, the time for renewed efforts to focus one's resources on achieving the desired goal. There are two keys to reaching your goals:
- Treat your set backs as temporary failures and not total defeat (i.e., just because you broke down and smoked a cigarette does not mean you should just say I failed on my goal to quit smoking); and
- Break your goal down into manageable pieces (i.e., I will lose 2 pounds in January; 2 lbs in February versus I will lose 25 pounds this year).
These ideas do not only apply to personal goals, but to business goals as well. If you are trying to improve your medical collections in 2009, you should build upon these concepts. So, given these two points what is the best way to achieve a New Year's resolution of improving your medical billing? The best place to start is with the goal of getting your claims out the door clean. This is a great starting point because it does many wonderful things:
- It focuses you on the most critical aspect of billing. If the claims go out the door clean you will find that all of the rest of the challenges start to become much more manageable;
- It allows you to focus on achievable, smaller goals (85% of claims go out clean in January, 87% go out clean in February, etc);
- Set backs position you for better performance tomorrow. How? You look at the claims that did not go out the door clean and learn what went wrong. Do you have a problem at the front desk with gathering demographics? Do you have a problem with training your data entry people? Do you have one physician that consistently codes incorrectly? Do you have one payer that really dislikes one of your common procedures?
- It lends itself to technology aids. Invest in a scrubber that will help you find coding problems before you submit the claims (see our blog entry on claim scrubbers). Invest in insurance verification tools that will make it easier to have clean demographics. Invest in coding tools that will help improve your data entry performance.
So, as we approach the end of January this is the time to double down:
- Measure your current performance level;
- Set your medical billing goals high (96% of all claims will be paid on first submission);
- Break them down into bite size pieces (I will improve clean claim submissions by 2% each month), and
- Adopt the mentality that you will learn from your mistakes.
With this approach you can make 2009 your best medical billing year ever.
Copyright 2009 by Carl Mays II, President, ClaimCare Inc