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Healthcare Management: Proactive or Reactive

As Healthcare consultants, Medical Management Services are frequently asked to clean up messes. It is the number one reason healthcare practices engage our services. Accounts receivable mess, process mess, EHR mess; you name the mess, we have been called upon to clean it up. And we do that quite well! The ability to analyze the problem and use best-in-class solutions to fix those problems in an affordable and timely way is key to what we do. But that’s not what we really like to do, that is reactive management. Reacting to a crisis, usually long after the warning signs have been flashing, means time and resources have not been used in productive and efficient manner. Although reactive management is necessary to accomplish a clean-up or a turnaround; proactive management is the way to prevent the mess from occurring. Proactive management means digging into the details of finances, processes and people to optimize resources and revenues. It means planning, strategic planning. Strategic planning involves not only the immediate future, but looking years down the road to lay foundations for practice expansion, IT growth, new building and alliances. It also means a careful analysis of software and hardware needs as your practice grows and becomes more profitable. It means management in place to oversee day to day process improvement to capitalize on new technology, better processes and more educated employee pools. Daily, weekly, monthly analysis of processes and tools must accompany any proactive plan. The culture of the healthcare practice to be best in class must revolve around change management before a crisis confronts the practice. The prospective look at accounts receivables means an ongoing look at the aging of accounts by financial class and determining the causes of aging; then installing processes to prevent aging from occurring. This always means collaboration between the practice front-end and the billing office. About 50% of denials in most practices are due to front-end errors. The right education, the right tools and the right people will become paramount if a practice is serious about proactively confronting that denial problem. When problems and issues are allowed time, they only become worse. Time alone has never turned a mess into profitable venture. It always, always requires intervention. Even before an issue is resolved, the practice should be asking the hard questions of what could have been done to anticipate and prevent the issue. What is your practice management style? Do you arrive each day in reactive mode ready to tackle the problems of the day? Or do you arrive in a proactive mode? Ready to change the practice culture from crisis management to profit management?