How to be the CEO OF your practice (and FOR your practice) – Part 3 Implementation Plan

Ready to start our CEO plan? How do you proceed?

1. Pay attention to your patient, both medically and administratively.

First and foremost, provide care at the highest level. If you use electronic medical records, look at the data available.  Understand the patient’s medical needs and have your staff help them use their insurance benefits appropriately.

2. Be the captain of your practice.

Demonstrate leadership with compassion, integrity and intelligence.  Lead by example.

3. Show dedication by being fair to your staff, complimenting them when appropriate and instructing as needed.

4. Meet periodically with your billing staff to allow maximum revenue collection for your work.

5. Be a leader, not a follower.

Set the highest standard of care.  Then let your patients know by showcasing your awards and honors.

6. Stay up to date on your credentials and CME.

Become/remain board certified!

7. The Golden Rule always applies!

Go to work please and practice at the highest level! Bye for now.

Resources for your review are to follow. Stay tuned!

How to be the CEO OF your practice (and FOR your practice) – Part 2 The Plan

So, you need to be the CEO? Let's get busy, shall we?

First of all, you need some basic information to get started.  Obtain a report on your patient activity for the last year.  This should be available from your billing supervisor or office manager.  Even if you are a first-year hire, you should have little resistance to obtaining the report. Ask your senior partner for permission.  Please remember, this information is confidential to your practice, so no sharing for now!

All of these reports are similar.  They will summarize your charges, co-pays collected, insurance payments and patient responsibilities.  See how you are doing.

Do you have a large number of outstanding accounts and uncollected co-pays?  Start taking notes and ask your billing supervisor, office manager or senior partner how to improve.  They will respect you for your initiative.

Implement these simple improvements:

1. Collect co-pays prior to the patient visit.

If co-pays cannot be met, reschedule the visit (emergencies excluded of course).

2. Make certain you have insurance company approval to perform the tests and procedures prior to doing them!

Don’t assume you know or will address it later.  In most cases, you will not be paid for your work!

3. Understand study and implement the proper coding for your medical work.

Understand ICD-9 and get ready for ICD-10 coming in October.  Don’t have a non-doctor do the work for you.  It is not their job to do your work.  Take a class, read and ask for help.  Specialties are vastly different with wildly differing rules and responsibilities.  I’m an ophthalmologist, and I know how complex our coding is.  This is before ICD-10 starts later this year.  So get ready for the antacid! “Pop pop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!” Just remember you are not alone.  Seek help from your specialty society now and prepare.

Next, ask for a payor mix breakdown.  This will vary widely depending on your medical specialty.  For example, in my practice, our current breakdown is Medicare 45%, commercial insurance 55%.  You may have different parameters; for example, chiropractors will have a significant percentage of workers compensation claims. Dentists will have a significant self-pay ratio.  In certain areas of the country, one provider or health network may dominate.

Finally, see if you can get a hold of a list of practice expenses, especially those that apply to your particular practice.  Now you may not be able to get this data as this would include payroll for all doctors and staff.  If you are junior in your practice, you may be barred from this info.  Try and get other info if you are allowed.  Get involved.  If you are the only or senior doctor, then this information should be readily available.

Study it, understand it and make recommendations and changes to improve and protect your practice.

In part 3, we will discuss implementing your tactics and recommendations to make your mark as the CEO.

How to be the CEO OF your practice (and FOR your practice) – Part 1 Overview

You ARE the CEO of your practice. Like it or not.

You generate the revenue that provides an income for yourself, your staff and the businesses that support you. Doctors provide medical care and the insurance companies’ pay you (called reimbursement) what they believe is “fair and reasonable.”  Unless you are a concierge physician or cosmetic surgeon who sets their fees, that’s just the way it goes.

Starting today, make yourself a promise.

Start acting like a CEO.

The term CEO means “Chief Executive Officer”.  Wikipedia defines CEO as the”executive or administrator in charge of the total management of an organization.”

As soon as possible, find out and understand your insurance payer mix. What is your percentage of Medicare, Managed Care, Medicaid and HMO “penetration?”

What does your profit and loss statement (called a P&L) look like? What percentage of the total revenue of your practice is your salary?  Don’t forget perks like insurance, car allowance, CME, etc. How much of your gross receipts go toward employee salary?  Who is your most important payor?  What is the breakdown of your patient demographics?  See what I mean… Can you add your metrics?

We provide life-altering and life-saving treatments for our patients. We as a profession provide the medical care for America.  We are the heart and soul of medicine. Medical care does not exist without our collective experience.

Even though we may sometimes be portrayed in a negative light, no one can dispute our importance to society.  We need to think strategically about the overall “health” of our practice as a major goal.  It does your community no good if you can’t maintain a stable bottom line.  It makes me sad hearing stories of doctors giving up.  Retiring, selling to a large group, working part time or forced locum tenens, doctors are running away from independent medical practice in droves.  There are ways to combat this alarming trend, and I’ll add my thoughts and share what I do to be my CEO in Part 2, the Plan.

Some food for thought before I sign out.  Please think about the title. CEO of your practice means that like it or not, you represent the brand of your practice. Think like Steve Jobs, the quintessential former CEO of Apple, master executive and innovator.  That’s what you are to your practice. You can’t usurp your obligation and responsibility to be the CEO.  Your patients, colleagues, and staff are depending on you!

See you in part 2.