As the healthcare industry is constantly evolving, healthcare managers must adapt to meet the challenges presented. Healthcare practice management is a stressful job with all sorts of obstacles being thrown your way. But you’re not alone. Many healthcare managers are facing the same challenges running their offices. With that in mind, we reached out to gather feedback on some of the biggest challenges healthcare practice managers face on a daily basis.
Working with Health Insurance Companies
Insurance companies present a unique challenge for healthcare administrators, from both a patient billing and physician coverage standpoint. Providers can be picky on what treatments they’ll cover and which ones they won’t and oftentimes you have to read the fine print. They can also be difficult to work with if your practice is trying to get reimbursements for your services. At the end of the day, the patient will be responsible for whatever their provider won’t cover, but that’s often not transparent and blame may be unfairly directed to your office.
As frustrating at it may be to work with various providers, becoming familiar with the insurance providers you work with and the rates associated with various billing codes can go a long way to smoothing out operational hurdles. Remember that the representative you work with is only an employee of the insurance provider and following the rules they’ve been given. Keep a spreadsheet of which ones are easier to work with than others. That way when you have to contact a provider that isn’t as easy to work with, you’ll be ready to be more patient with them.
If you have an employee with marketing or graphic design experience, see if they can put together an explainer document for your website. While it may not be possible or practical to offer any “guaranteed” rates, you can at least explain how insurance billing and reimbursements work and what a patient may expect to pay out of pocket for different treatments or medical procedures. If you have an online patient portal, that could be another place to put it or integrate some sort of smart system that will tell your patients beforehand if insurance will cover.
Finding and Retaining Qualified Healthcare Staff
As a healthcare manager, hiring the right staff is only the first step in setting up your practice for success. Equally important, if not more so, is retaining the staff that helps keep your office operating efficiently. While it may cost more to hire more qualified staff, it’ll pay dividends down the road.
Your qualified staff are the face of your company. They’re the ones your patients see and associate with your practice. Creating a healthy work environment and getting to know them as people are a key part of retaining them. They’re not just standard office employees. They’re individuals who are invested in helping members of the community improve their health.
Yes, salary is a component and there should be room for negotiation from both parties. Finding qualified staff is going to cost more, but your patients are also more willing to pay for quality care by quality physicians.
Controlling Your Overhead Costs
Although the services your practice provides may be expensive, the cost of running your practice is equally expensive. It’s important to account for the cost of supplies, employee compensation, equipment among other operating costs. All of these combined makes for a hefty expenses line on the balance sheet, and to remain afloat as a business you have to mark up the prices of your services and work with insurance providers to be fairly compensated for services rendered (see point one above).
While some costs are simply unavailable, one expense your practice might be able to directly negotiate or shop around for is the disposal of your medical waste. MedPro Disposal provides a safe, low-cost alternative solution for healthcare providers’ medical waste, as well as sharps and pharmaceutical waste, saving offices an average of 30% annually on medical waste disposal costs. With your savings, you can put it back into the business and lower your cost of care to your patients.
Meeting Healthcare Safety and Compliance Regulations
Safety standards and compliance regulations are always changing in the healthcare industry and it’s important to stay on top of the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Whether it’s OSHA workplace guidelines to ensure you are protecting your staff or HIPAA rules regarding personal health information (PHI), it’s critical you and your team have access to the best resources available. This includes educational and training materials to help your staff maintain the certifications required to keep the doors open.
MedPro Disposal provides compliance training options custom-tailored to fit the needs of your practice. Via a secure online portal, it’s easy for your compliance officer to manage certifications and is available 24/7 to be flexible and fit into your schedule.
Providing Affordable Care To Patients
At the end of the day, you want to provide your patients with the best care possible. But then we face the age-old question of “how do I provide quality care at an affordable price?” Without getting into the topic of universal healthcare, there are a couple of things you can do.
The first thing is to adopt a patient-centered care approach if you haven’t already. Patient-centered care revolves around creating a customizable plan for your patients to meet their individual needs. It gets rid of the idea of a one-size-fits-all treatment plan.
Another option is to implement a telehealth program as a method of service. The pandemic accelerated telehealth, proving the importance of offering a safe, secure and remote solution that still allows for your to meet the health needs of your patients. You now have access to patients who live further away, providing flexibility for the patients in a cost-effective manner.
Healthcare managers face many obstacles and challenges both in their day-to-day operations and in the industry. It can be hard to navigate, but these are a few ways to help.