Published - August 2010

By Dave Jakielo

Are you an Entrepreneur or an Intrapreneur?

Before we delve into this month’s article, a few definitions are in order relating to your leadership style. Entrepreneurs work on their businesses while Intrapreneurs work in their businesses. In the past, you could run a successful company regardless of your style, but this won’t work in the future.

Although I don’t have a crystal ball that can accurately predict the future of our healthcare industry, given my many years of experience in Medical Billing, I can make some calculated guesses as to what lies ahead for billing companies and what it will take to survive and thrive.

Over the last few decades, as long as we delivered great service to our customer base, our businesses remained stable or grew due to referrals. We also kept costs in check by implementing incremental improvements inside our firms.

However, as the changes contained in the recently passed Healthcare Reform legislation kick in, we are going to have to make dramatic adjustments in the way we do business just to remain even.

What are some of the major changes we’ll be facing? Implementation of the 5010 transaction sets and the retraining of coders and providers relating to ICD-10 will be the most pressing changes facing the industry. Another change of great concern to anyone running a business, is the enormous increase in employee healthcare premiums to help pay for all the uninsured who will be obtaining low or no cost coverage.

So how can we ensure that our firms remain vibrant? We must all become entrepreneurs and change our mindsets and additionally improve our skill sets too.

Let’s examine some of the qualities of an Entrepreneur?

  • They recognize the importance of automation and innovation
  • Continually are looking to improve or streamline operations
  • Realize that they must acquire or sharpen their sales and marketing skills
  • They understand that they must develop and mentor their staffs

What are the qualities of an Intrapreneur?

  • They still perform or have responsibility for routine clerical functions
  • Always have an excuse as to why they don’t have time to network or market
  • When someone fails to do a task on time or makes a mistake they fix it for them
  • Comfortable with the status quo and think that change is the enemy

In the past, billing companies have been profitable by accident because there is so much fat in the system. That is going to change in the very near future. If you don’t start to plan now for increased expenses and a reduction in revenue, by the time you realize you have a problem it may be too late.

An easy way to start your transition is to get into the habit of always examining every facet of your company with a critical eye. Ask yourself important questions during these evaluations. Are you staffed appropriately and are you holding people accountable for productivity standards? Have you invested in automation, including training for proficiency, or are you still clinging to the “old ways” of doing things, just to be safe? Do you regularly review all aspects of your operations to eliminate and automate? And lastly, are you devoting at least 20 percent of your time to sales and marketing?

Keep in mind that regardless of where you are today, there is no such thing as business as usual. Unfortunately, you don’t have the option of remaining the same. You are either moving forward or you are moving backward. If you want to move forward, you will have to commit to an entrepreneurial approach to your business. The business climate is changing rapidly in this industry and your business style will have to continually change to meet tomorrow’s needs.

I would like to congratulate you on how far you have come and you should be proud of the successful business you have created. Regrettably, what got you here won’t keep you here. The business climate is being re-defined as you are reading this article and with it comes a new road map for success. Those of you who are true entrepreneurs know that!

Dave Jakielo, CHBME, is an International Speaker, Consultant, Executive Coach, and Author, and is president of Seminars & Consulting. Dave is past president of Healthcare Billing and Management Association and the National Speakers Association Pittsburgh Chapter. Sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at Dave can be reached via email; phone 412-921-0976.

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