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What would you say if I told you that the billing department should be the heart of your business?
Over the past three years, I've really managed to shift who makes policies, enforces policies, and understand why policies are made. Often times, leaders and managers who lack either training or experience create more and more policies rather than approaching a specific person about their behavior. Typing up a policy seems the least resistant way to handle a problem. But I warn you this is the worst approach to take. When you create policies for this reason, you are stifling and handcuffing your remaining staff, who will most likely end up leaving the company due to so many rules and policies.
Let's be clear here, I love structure and process, but you have to consider your staff. If your staff are failing across the board, you need either more training or you need to set your expectations higher.
Several years ago, we had an employee that would create their own policies and try to enforce those down to other front-office staff. This is also not a good way to allow policies to be set. One person's learning style may be very different from another's, and forcing them to work a specific way via policy is going to lead to frustration, failure, and the employee will most likely leave the company.
Should an owner or partner be allowed to make business policies? Not if they don't know the intricacies of the job. These are the people who APPROVE the policies.
You went into business to treat patients. You don't want to be bothered with the details of the money and inflow of the business, right? That's the billing department's job, right? Let us do it.
We know what needs to happen in order to be paid from the insurance plans. We know if one of your staff members credentialing has expired, or they were never added to specific contracts. We know if you front offices are doing their jobs correctly and if they are collecting up front as required. We know the laws and rules.
By placing the onus on your billing department, you are allowing them to not only do their jobs, but help you in creating specific policies and procedures for your clinical and admin staff. Allowing the billing department to be instrumental in getting you paid is a win-win! They will be much happier, your staff will be much happier, and you will actually not have to worry about having money in the bank to meet payroll.
Training from your billing department is also important. Have your staff sit down one-on-one might not seem like its worth the effort, but since we have been onboarding all of our new admin and clinical staff, we have had nothing but excellent work return from them. Setting that expectation up front, the billing department is not only to be taken seriously but that they are experts in this area of the business, allows for excellent communication and employees flourish.