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HIM & Heard

Health Care Business at the Drop of a Hat

Published February 15, 2012 3:29 PM by Stephanie Cecchini

It’s hard to look your best when you are wearing too many hats.  While the business of health care struggles in a depressed economy and a revenue cycle containing a growing number of under and uninsured, pending government regulations such as HITECH, the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10 conversions have produced, for many,  a nail-biting backdrop against patient care.  How does a health care provider achieve balance in these unprecedented times of change?


Further muddying strategic health care business planning is the opposing opinions from trusted health care associations.  While the American Medical Association (AMA), the largest association of physicians, calls on congress to stop the implementation of ICD-10, and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) asks the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay 5010 implementation, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) declares that varying from prior rule making is a mistake that could ultimately increase costs.  With CMS’s agreement this week to “re-examine the time frame” for the ICD-10 transition, providers truly juggle mixed messages. Today's business of health care now seems to require outside assistance in order to manage all of the moving targets.  Where do providers find trusted partners? 


While many larger hospitals are quickly investing in the advice of big consulting firms, boutique consultancy firms should not be overlooked when seeking outsourced training and business support.  Aside from budget constraints, providers should analyze their culture to select the right partner.  While larger firms may offer greater choices, their support network may not be as personalized or easily accessible.  The best partners are thought leaders capable of effective planning and producing quality deliverables.  Providers who select their consulting partners based on their evaluation of the firm’s reputation, experience, and service philosophy will often have the best results. References should be asked for and checked.


Effective outsourcing can help providers navigate complex government regulations while protecting positive cash flow.  Wearing too many hats adds an unnecessary burden to providers who shouldn’t have to do it all.  Getting rid of a few lets most providers finish strong and focus on what matters most… their patients.  



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