Don’t Up And Quit Your Job Just Yet

I remember many years ago when I was pretty young that I went to a staffing agency to help me find work. What I was told back then is that I needed to be available immediately whenever they called, and that if I had anything else going on that I should give it up, even if I was already working, because the company had something they were just about to close on that would be big, and I needed to be ready to go.

At this point you probably know the rest of the story. I quit my job, which really wasn’t paying all that much, and I waited for the call. After a couple of weeks I called them, as I hadn’t heard anything, and was told that it had fallen through and it wasn’t available anymore. I felt like an idiot; gave up a paying job for nothing, because money was money after all.

Every once in a while you’ll talk to an unscrupulous recruiter or staffing agency that will promise you the moon without having anything confirmed. They will make promises to you and ask you to give up a few things in preparation of a big thing. When this happens, you need to take stock of that recruiter or agency and decide if you trust them or not. The truth is that a credible staffing agency or recruiter won’t ever ask you to give up a paying job to work for them. They will tell you what’s available and let you make the decision as to what it is you want to do. If something is on the horizon but not confirmed, they’ll tell you that as well. They understand that everyone needs to be bringing in money to help pay bills and get on with life, and would never encourage you to do otherwise unless the position was a locked deal.

Always protect your own interests first, and try to make sure you’re working with credible people. If you ever feel pressured or confused by something you’re being told, you might want to consider looking elsewhere for help.

How Well Do You Know Medicare Billing?

The biggest request we get for interim billing staff concerns Medicare hospital billing. It makes sense because nationally, 60 to 65% of all inpatient claims concern Medicare patients, and Medicare outpatients can be voluminous as well. That, plus if things are going well Medicare pays fast, and hospitals love any payer that pays their bills fast.

If you’re an interim Medicare biller, your job actually starts at home rather than at a work site. That’s because interim people are often expected to know things and know how to fix claims that every day hospital billers don’t know how to do. That might seem strange, but that’s how it always seems to go. So, a first main step is for interim Medicare billers to check in on at least their local fiscal intermediaries websites and take a look at two things. One pertains to newer Local Medicare Review Policies (LMRPs) to see what types of things might be in them to help hospital bills get paid. The second is going through Medicare bulletins, which come in different ways depending on the intermediary. If you’re going to be traveling to different states, a good thing to do is to subscribe to news bulletins from those intermediaries so you’ll get them in your email.

After that, it’s all about standard Medicare billing rules that, once again, existing billing personnel sometimes don’t know about. Denials is probably the biggest problem a hospital or physician’s office has if they’re having problems with their Medicare billing, so staying on top of those rules will keep you ahead of the game. Understanding the relationship between what codes Medicare wants to see with what also helps a great deal. And of course knowing how to verify MSP issues helps a great deal.

Make yourself valuable by keeping up on Medicare regulations. It can only benefit you long term.

If You’re A Potential Worker, Interview Your Staffing Agency

Most of the time employees and interim consultants are the ones who are being interviewed for possible work assignments. While that’s the norm, what few people do is take the opportunity to interview those same people back.

Why would you do this? There are a couple of good reasons why you should take the time to find out what they’re all about. One, you want to know what the potential is for a staffing agency to get you work. Two, you want to know what their pay structure is, when you’ll get paid, by whom, etc. Three, you want to know if they offer any type of insurance coverage, or have to cover certain aspects for you. Four, you want to know what the possibilities are of getting some money up front if they’re sending you out of town. Five, you want to know if they book your travel arrangements for you, and how flexible they are in accommodating your wishes.

These are important things to know, but there’s one more thing you need to know as well. While staffing agencies will get you assignments, you need to know what they don’t want you to do as well as what they will allow you to do. For instance, there’s not a single staffing agency that wants a potential interim placement to try to renegotiate pay rates. That’s their job, and they’d rather you not bring up the issue of money. On the other end, if a potential client wants your services, sometimes they want to ask you a lot of questions. It behooves you to not only ask some questions back about their needs, but to find out, if you’re consulting, how much leeway you’re going to have in getting things done. Some consultants chafe at having to make recommendations and not follow through on things. Some can work within strict guidelines of an employer, and others can’t. It’s good to know before you go somewhere and find out the working environment isn’t for you.

Take the time to ask questions, because you won’t always get a second chance once you’re in the fold.

Being A Good Candidate In A Social Media World

By now, most people have heard the horror stories of being on the job or interviewing for a job and then learning that your employer or potential employer has found negative things about you from your Facebook page, or somehow tracked down messages you’ve written on Twitter.

The reality in today’s world is that even though it might not be fair that employers will judge you on what you do in your private life, they do. This isn’t a new phenomenon, however. Companies have always had either well known or hidden behavior clauses that give them the right to terminate someone based on bad behavior.

It’s just that these days it’s easier to get information on most people because in this day and age of being more accessible and their being less privacy most people have put their information out on the internet without thinking about it. What’s scarier is that you might not put any information online, yet be inadvertently “outed” by someone else who wants to share something you were a part of.

We like to caution people to never do anything that might harm their reputation in any way unless they’re ready to suffer the consequences. We point out that a few years ago a woman representing New Jersey in the Miss America Pageant had some racy pictures she thought she had protected on her Facebook page, only to have one of the people to whom she’d given access copy those pictures from her page and turn them over to pageant officials. Luckily, the officials decided the pictures didn’t violate the morals clause in the contract, but it should have been an eye opener to the world that nothing is ever safe online, whether you believe you’ve protected it or not.

Unless you have your own business and aren’t worried all that much about what most people think, it’s always a smart thing to try to control what gets out about you. And while you’re at it, make sure no one is taking pictures if you happen to decide you want to let loose and party without reservation.

Expeditive Adds New Service Line For Critical Access Hospitals

On May 9th, Expeditive sent out a press release announcing that we are now providing remote Medicare billing services for critical access hospitals. This is a service we’ve been offering for awhile, but we finally decided it was time to get the word out about the service.

The reason this works well is because of the unique nature of critical access hospitals, that being their accessibility and, often, the costs of bringing multiple billing personnel in when a CAH has difficulties in cleaning up their A/R. Also, many CAH facilities find that it’s difficult finding qualified people in their area that they wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time with as far as training goes so that they would be of that much help if something needed to be done quickly.

There are two things to add to this press release. One, because we have access to billing personnel across the country, it’s possible that we might already have someone who either lives in your state or has worked on claims in your state. That’s always a bonus, because even though Medicare is basically Medicare wherever you go, each state’s fiscal intermediary seems to have something different than another state. And even if we didn’t have someone familiar with your state, it’s a short learning curve in getting up to speed on the local rules.

Two, though we announced this for CAH’s, it’s a service that other hospitals could negotiate with us as well. Most of the time, we find that larger facilities like the idea of having people on hand to see what they’re doing, and that’s not a problem with us.

We’re glad to have the opportunity to get the word out on this service; stay tuned for more things as we grow.

Can You Go It Alone?

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article that I added to an article database titled Can You Go It Alone. In that article, I talked about the need sometimes to do something drastic in finding a way to attack bad accounts receivables within a hospital’s revenue cycle process. And one of those drastic moves I mentioned was to bring in a revenue cycle consultant to help out.

Let’s face this fact; there are a lot of both good and bad consultants out there. The bad ones give the good ones a bad name. Sometimes it’s hard to know who’s who based on just talking to them, because anyone with even a few years in the business knows how to talk a good game. Then you’ll bring them in and not get what you expected, and they’re gone one day and you’ve ended up with nothing positive to show for your money.

Something a medical staffing agency can do is help to make sure you’re getting someone with the proper skills. Of course, you also have to know what it is you’re expecting and to be ready to hear “that won’t work”, or any number of recommendations from a consultant. They have no agenda, and aren’t out to get anyone, even if they’re being brought in with the goal of helping to reduce staff.

Good consultants know that their next big assignment might depend on how well they helped the previous client; bad consultants just expect that they’ll get something else one day and not worry about it. Medical staffing agencies like Expeditive can help you get it right the first time around.

It’s possible that you can go it alone. But if you can’t, at least you know there are plenty of options for you to pursue.

5 Reasons An Interim CFO Might Be A Good Thing

The chief financial position, sometimes known as vice president of finance, is one of the hardest positions to hire for. It’s also one of the hardest to retain. It’s estimated that CFOs average only 2 1/2 to 3 years at best at most facilities. There are a variety of reasons for this, which we’re not going to touch upon. Instead, we’re going to give you 5 reasons why bringing in an interim CFO might be a good thing.

1. Quick learners. There’s a different between knowing you have to go to a new place and learn all the players that you’re going to have to work with for hopefully a long time versus going into a new place with a mission to accomplish. Interim CFOs normally hit the ground running, and because they’ve been around, they’ll often have a wealth of ideas to bring to the table.

2. Skilled communicators. Because they’re used to making more first impressions than the norm, they’re more skilled at creating positive relationships to help get things moving quicker.

3. Well rounded. Many times CFOs are only skilled in what they’re the best at, that being budgeting and finances in general. Interim CFOs often can come in and see the big picture as opportunities for improvement. Billing, medical records, even IT issues are easier for them to assist with because often those issues have come up at other places.

4. Evaluation. If you need someone to come in and help evaluate talent, an interim CFO is a good place to start. The CFO meets with every director that has something to do with financials, and could probably tell you if your materials management director is working on saving you money with your suppliers or taking advantage of offers that aren’t quite ethical for suppliers to make.

5. No strings attached. If you and the CFO don’t get along, you can change to someone else based on the terms of the contract. If you do get along, you could pretty much keep the CFO for as long as you needed. You’re going to get honesty from an interim CFO because they’re not worried about keeping their job. If you’re in trouble, or if you’re doing good, you’re going to get the truth. And no matter what the truth is, at least you know and can decide if you have to do something about it.