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Preparing for Change


Whether it is welcome or not, change is inevitable especially in the health care industry. It is important to be prepared for changes that may come which could be technology, compliance or in order to meet the demands of your patients. No matter what changes your medical office experiences, the main importance regarding those changes is how you respond to it.

Consider the following questions:

  • Why is it necessary to make changes?
  • What are you doing to keep up with change?
  • How can you prepare for change?
  • When will you be ready for change?
  • How are you being affected by change?

Reasons for Change

There are many reasons for a medical office to make changes. Here are the top three reasons:

  1. Compliance: Developing a compliance program involves establishing a written manual describing the compliance policy and the Medical Office Code of Conduct. Most medical office compliance policies include both ethical and legal concepts. Here are several components provide a solid basis for a medical office compliance program.
    • Conducting internal monitoring and auditing;
    • Implementing compliance and practice standards;
    • Designating a compliance officer or contact;
    • Conducting appropriate training and education;
    • Responding appropriately to detected offenses and developing corrective action;
    • Developing open lines of communication; and
    • Enforcing disciplinary standards through well-publicized guidelines.
  2. Competition: Health care has become more patient centered in recent years. Patients are becoming more knowledgeable about health care and are making choices based on what provider can offer them the best services. For this reason competition has increased among health care facilities. Improved patient satisfaction is one area that should be included in any strategic plan in order to maintain a competitive edge.

  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Preparing financially for the future even in good times is just good business. Decreasing physician payments, fewer patients, and high technology costs can be financially crippling. Reducing overhead costs by streamlining your office processes is one way to be cost effective.

Areas of Change

  1. Government Regulations.
    • Billing Compliance
    • Coding Compliance
    • Medicare Cost Report Compliance
    • HIPAA
    • Federal Anti-Kickback Statute
    • Federal False Claims Act
    • Stark II Legislation
    • Joint Commission Accredidation
  2. Policies & Procedures:
    • Operational
    • Clinical
    • Revenue Cycle
    • Patient Satisfaction
    • Financial Management
  3. Health IT:

Effects of Change

  1. Improved efficiency and effectiveness encourages an environment that promotes, anticipates and becomes responsive to the needs of the medical office, patients, visitors and co-workers.
  2. Increased patient satisfaction improves the perception that patients have of the care, attention and service that are provided by the office staff.
  3. Maximized reimbursements guarantees the ability of the organization to continue to provide excellent health care to your patients.

How to Prepare for Change

  1. Medical Office Assessment: Performing an assessment allows you to identify opportunities for improvement. Usually managers and administrators only consider performing an assessment when the medical office is in financial trouble, however, an assessment can be done any time to evaluate your overall performance. Performing an assessment now can prevent costly consultant fees later.
  2. Strategic Planning: A successful strategy is one that takes the medical office forward, towards the direction it wants to go as each area of focus is developed and executed. It requires focus and dedication from every one involved because the team is only as strong as it's weakest link.
  3. Staff Education and Training: The strength of your team depends on how much effort you place in education and training. Obtain positive results for your organization by developing a policy to strengthen your medical office staff. The policy should include a continuing education program to make sure all employees are kept up-to-date on office policies, compliance and job specific requirements.
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