Author Archive


Guest Author Steve Spearman: A Meaningful Use Audit, What to Expect: A Doctor Speaks

Doctor is Surprised to be AuditedIf you read my alert from August or the followup article on Audit Red Flags to Avoid, you are aware that CMS hired an accounting firm, Figliozzi & Company, to audit the compliance of eligible providers and eligible hospitals that had already received payment under the meaningful use (MU) program.  According to a report from the GAO as many as 20% of eligible providers and 10% of eligible hospitals may be audited, on a post-payment basis to confirm that they actually met the requirements of the program.

I recently had the opportunity to interview a physician that is currently going through the audit process with Figliozzi & Company (an edited transcript of the interview can be found here).  Although he wishes to remain anonymous, he was willing to report on his experience and provide redacted copies of the correspondence and requests that he has received from the auditors. (more…)

Posted in: Compliance, Day-to-Day Operations, Electronic Medical Records, Finance, Headlines, Medicare & Reimbursement

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Guest Author Bob Cooper “Balancing Two Sides of Work”

Balancing Two Sides of BusinessI would like you to think about a great boss or mentor you had sometime in your career. What made them great? When I ask this question to seminar participants or during an executive coaching session I get responses such as “Gives me excellent ongoing feedback”, “Has a vision and knows how to execute the strategy”, “Builds an excellent and supportive team”, “Took the time to teach me the business”, and “Is supportive, respectful and compassionate.”

As you look at the above responses, what comes to mind? In asking this question to hundreds of people in many settings it has led me to one conclusion – great leaders know how to drive business results, and inspire others to want to follow.

When teaching service excellence workshops I often discuss the two-sided service coin. One side represents the “technical” side of service, the other the “human” side. The technical side of service represents the day to day responsibilities of one’s job (e.g. assisting customers, completing reports, etc.). The human side involves building the relationship with all internal and external customers (e.g. acknowledging the customer, following-through on customer commitments, demonstrating kindness and respect, etc.)


Posted in: Day-to-Day Operations, Leadership

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A Manage My Practice Classic: Why I Can’t Wait to Hear Patient Complaints

Patient Complaints in a Medical OfficeI have not always been excited to hear patient complaints. As a younger manager I absolutely dreaded when a patient wanted to speak to me. I felt that I had little to offer a patient who expressed anger or frustration with something that had happened and I was very impatient to get past the complaint and get back to my “job.”

Now, I can’t wait to hear patients’ complaints. Complaints are the only opportunity managers have to understand the patient’s experience and hear in their own words what went wrong for them. By listening carefully, you have the potential to accomplish several goals.

  1. You can heal the patient’s complaint, first by making sure the patient feels heard, and second by addressing the problem if something needs to be done.
  2. You can gain insight into an experience in the practice and dissect it to see why the problem occurred and what can be done to fix it.
  3. You can model to the staff how important patient complaints are and how seriously you take them. (more…)

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Amazing Customer Service, Day-to-Day Operations, Leadership, Manage My Practice Classics, Practice Marketing

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Guest Author Greg Fawcett – “7 Ways to Get New Patients When Starting a Medical Practice”

Greg Fawcett has been a key partner for our clients and readers by providing us with a marketer’s perspective on how to get your practice’s message to your current and potential patients. In this blog post, originally published on the Precision Marketing Partners Blog, Greg talks about the steps you can take to attract patients to a new medical practice.


Starting a new practice, particularly in an area where a number of medical professionals already operate, presents the challenge of patient acquisition. Here are some basic methods of medical practice marketing that can get your name out in the neighborhood and draw patients in.

  1. Create branded brochures listing your areas of specialty and the services you offer. Get the brochures professionally designed and printed on quality paper stock. Include your contact details, the name and URL of your website and blog, and invite them to follow you on social media.
  2. Connect with local pharmacies and non-competing medical practices such as physical therapy clinics, dental practices and home health equipment stores and ask them to display your brochures on their reception counter. Also visit libraries, community centers and your local YMCA to offer your marketing materials for distribution to their clients. (more…)

Posted in: Day-to-Day Operations, Practice Marketing, Social Media

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How to Cut Your Medical Practice’s A/R and Collection Costs in Just 60 Minutes.

A Manage My Practice Webinar:

Starting a Credit Card on File Program

in Your Practice

We know patients are bearing more of the financial burden for healthcare, particularly in the form of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), so it falls to the provider to collect the deductibles. How can you collect deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance, as well as electronically manage patient payment plans while reducing the associated labor and resource expense? Register for the Manage My Practice webinar that teaches you everything you need to know to spend less and collect more at time of service by implementing a Credit Card on File Program in your practice.

Financial Concerns in a Medical Office

What is a Credit Card on File Program?

A Credit Card on File (CCOF) Program facilitates the collection of a credit or debit card from each patient and requires this card to be used for co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles. You have the option of collecting an estimate of what is due at time of service, and/or charging the credit card when the payer pays the claim.

What are the benefits of a Credit Card on File Program?

  • Reduced days in accounts receivable.
  • Improved cash flow.
  • Elimination of statements.
  • Electronic management of payment plans.
  • Elimination of bounced checks.
  • Elimination of the manual refund process and refund check expense.
  • Reduced labor in daily reconciliation process.
  • Elimination of cash drawers and change issues.
  • Reduction or elimination of deposits.
  • Facilitate faster check-in and check-out.
  • Elimination of paper receipts.
  • Elimination of collections expense.

This one-hour webcourse with accompanying materials is an incredible value at $59.95

What will I learn if I take this webinar?

1. Understand how a credit card on file program differs from traditional payment options offered by practices.
2. Learn the terminology and protocols of credit card processing – it’s not as mysterious as it seems!
3. Compare credit card processing fees and choose a vendor based on an informed analysis.
4. Utilize handouts to train staff and educate patients on the credit card on file program.
5. Successfully implement a credit card on file program.

What does the program include?

Purchase of this program for only $59.95 includes the live webinar, slide handouts, and a complete Action Pack of forms and templates in Word, including:
1. Worksheet for Credit Card on File Program Return on Investment (ROI)
2. Staff Script & Role Playing Suggestions for Staff Training
3. Sample Security Policy to Comply With PCI Guidelines
4. Credit Card on File Program Timeline Worksheet
5. Credit Card Program Comparison Worksheet
6. Patient Handout #1: Information About Our Credit Card on File Program & Discontinuation of Statements
7. Patient Handout #2: What is a Deductible and How Does It Affect Me?
8. Sample Patient Agreement for the Credit Card on File Program

The Webinar will be offered live at three different sessions for your convenience.

  • February 5, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern/ 9:00 a.m. Central/
    8:00 a.m. Mountain/ 7:00 a.m. Pacific – Click here to register!
  • February 6, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/ 12N Central/ 11:00
    a.m. Mountain/ 10:00 a.m. Pacific – Click here to register!
  • February 7, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern/ 3:00 p.m. Central/ 2:00 p.m. Mountain/ 1:00 a.m. Pacific – Click here to register!

Posted in: 12 Ways to Supercharge Your Practice, Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Finance

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RAC Alert: How to Bill Medicare for Hospice Patients When You Are Not the Hospice Provider

Hospice Care

What is Hospice?

Hospice care focuses on improving the quality of life for persons and their families faced with a life-limiting illness. The primary goals of hospice care are to provide comfort, relieve physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering, and promote the dignity of terminally ill persons. Hospice care neither prolongs nor hastens the dying process. As such, it is palliative not curative. Hospice care is a philosophy or approach to care rather than a place. Care may be provided in a person’s home, nursing home, hospital, or independent facility devoted to end-of-life care.

How is Medicare Hospice Care Paid?


Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Compliance, Day-to-Day Operations, Medicare & Reimbursement

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The Medical Manager’s 2013 Flu Season Update


The tweet above was sent out by a very interesting start up named Sickweather on October 19th of last year. Sickweather analyzes data from Twitter and Facebook to determine potential public health concerns by listening to the things people post on social media. If a lot of people are posting about coughing, sneezing or other symptomatic behavior, you could make the assumption that increased disease activity is more likely in the area. The tweet welcoming flu season early was not an ironclad prediction, announcement, or warning but six weeks later the Centers for Disease Control issued a press release titled U.S. Flu Season off to Early Start.”

“The tweet welcoming flu season early was not an ironclad prediction, announcement, or warning but six weeks later the Centers for Disease Control issued a press release titled ‘U.S. Flu Season off to Early Start’.”


Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Headlines, Leadership, Medicare & Reimbursement

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Talking To Your Staff: How Did the “Fiscal Cliff” Affect My Paycheck?

Social Security Payroll Tax

I have a saying about management that I try and keep front and center in my mind whenever I interact with employees.

“There are two things you should never mess with: a person’s paycheck, and a person’s time off.”

If you heard a lot of noise from your staff when they received their first paycheck of 2013 – you were not alone. This New Year’s Day, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 seeking to avoid the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” even if only temporarily. The “Fiscal Cliff” was a combination of tax increases and spending cuts designed to force Democrats and Republicans into negotiating a longer term deal on the country’s finances. Included in the fiscal cliff spending cuts were the scheduled reduction in Medicare reimbursements that has been long-forestalled by temporary delays. The Medicare cuts were stopped with another delay (or “Doc Fix”) until January 1st, 2014, while other cuts were pushed back as little as two months as Congress continues to negotiate the outlines of a bigger deal.


Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Day-to-Day Operations, Leadership

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Googling For Managers: Small Changes for Big Results

Google Search BoxI had a very illuminating conversation with my son Abraham the other day. It happens a lot. It’s one of the reasons we went into business together – we illuminate each other!

Abe said “Googling is such an underrated skill.”

I thought about how easy Googling* is. Google Search boxes are in most browsers and mobile device home screens, plus products like Apple’s Siri enable fast and successful voice searches. The act of Googling itself is easier than ever. But how good are you are taking advantage of this access? If you need to know something quickly, do you know how to find it the fastest? What about something more arcane – a very specific document or file for a nice task? How about the number of milliliters in a cup, or the definition of “tomography”? How well can you “get the goods” from Google?


Posted in: Day-to-Day Operations, Learn This: Technology Answers

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Do Patients Question Why EMR? This Infographic Has Answers

Too often in the rush to upgrade to the newest technology, one basic question that goes unanswered is: “Why are we doing this?”


Because of the ARRA (or “stimulus”) money available to eligible providers, a lot of offices have started or have accelerated plans to upgrade from paper medical records to an electronic medical record (EMR.)

Technology upgrades are not always an easy sell to two of your practice’s critical constituencies: your patients and your staff. I came across this infographic last month from that does a great job explaining why practices and the Federal Government are both investing in Electronic Health Record Technology. Content like this also makes a great contribution to your practice blog or email newsletter. Don’t overlook it as part of an in-office announcement of your practice’s transition to EMR. Check it out below or follow this link to


Posted in: Day-to-Day Operations, Electronic Medical Records, Headlines

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