Published - April 1999

By Dave Jakielo


Spring is finally here. It's been a wet, cool April here in Pittsburgh.
The trees, flowers and ducks have been happy. Another way to know its
spring is that my wife says it is time to clean out the garage.

While I was pondering over items I have been meaning to fix, clean up or
throw out, it dawned on me, why stop at the garage I should be doing the
same at the office. Spring is a time for change and rebirth. Shouldn't
our businesses take advantage of the season?

Here are some things to fix, clean up or throw out:

* Unprofitable clients. You know the ones that are extremely demanding on
our time; resources and their fees are below market but also want a rate
* Pay attention to expenses. When was the last time you shopped around.
Prices are dropping everyday. Here are some of the items I've saved money
on recently:

1. HCFA 1500's by switching to ProClaim I saved $15.00 per case.
2. Telephone bills. I've had vendors bidding for my business, which
lowered costs.
3. Switching coffee vendors saved us a few hundred dollars per year.

* Do what you do best, outsource the rest. Hopefully you aren't still
printing patient statements in your office. There's no way you can print
statements for less cost than an outside vendor. Plus their print quality
is usually superior.
* Track employee productivity. In the new company I started managing we
have been tracking the number of payments posted by each individual
payment poster. The totals varied from the most productive to the least
productive by 350%.
* Evaluate your training programs. Some of us need to evaluate what we
are teaching; some of us need to establish teaching programs.
* Embrace technology. Are you still sending paper claims to insurance
companies and manually posting patient demographics SHAME ON YOU!
* Examine all your procedures. Get everyone asking, "Why are we doing
this?" Make this question your battle cry.
* Implement a suggestion program. Many of the best ideas we could take
advantage of in our businesses are residing in our employee's heads.
* Be open to new ideas. Remember your way isn't the only way.
* Set goals. Have you set goals for 1999? Does every employee know what
the company's goals are? If not what's the big secret. Sometimes your
competitors know more about your business plan than your employees do.
* EX - Clients. Call up one ex client per month. See how they are doing
maybe they need you but don't know you would take them back.
* Research competitors. What's everyone up to? Who's growing, shrinking
or getting into new specialties. Find out.
* Information. Are you providing your clients with valuable information
that is helping them run their practices? Or are you stuck in the
"Reports by the pound" mode. This is where your reports weigh more than
your favorite pet, but no one can make heads or tails of the data.

The items listed above are a few areas that you can SPRING CLEAN. You
know if you haven't examined the above areas for a while, you'll be
surprised by the findings.

Here's some other things to think about to improve your operation and
make you more competitive with the progressive "Profitable" companies.

1. Establish a compliance program.
2. Hire or utilize the services of a certified coder.
3. Catch your employees doing something right. A little praise goes a
long way.
4. Establish a timetable to become a CHBME.
5. Send something to your prospects every quarter. So they don't forget
about you.
6. Think about expanding your service offerings.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions and ideas will help. If you
implement any of the above please let me know. I love to hear success
stories. When I make suggestions like the above at the Owners & Managers
conference I always get calls, letters or email thanking me because they
have tried one or more of the suggestions.

Hope you have a great spring. I have to go and cut my grass now that the
garage is clean. See you at the Owners & Managers conference in Philly in

Remember this monthly feature will address topics of interest to you. I really appreciate your input and suggestions. Please send your questions or ideas on topics that you would like addressed, to: Dave Jakielo, Seminars, Training and Consulting, 86 Hall Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15205-3214. Phone and Fax number 412-921-0976. Email = -

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