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Procrastination makes easy things hard

January 20, 2014

“Procrastination makes easy things hard and hard things harder.”

-Mason Cooley

Sub Title: Procrastination…

Big Dates Keep Coming Regardless of Readiness

OK. I admit to being a “last minute Louie” for a good bit of my life. I have all the legitimate excuses of being too busy or needing more info or thinking someone else will handle it or… it will hopefully be delayed. Pick a topic impacting your CHC. The subject is irrelevant. Whether 4010 to 5010, ACA enrollment, participation in a PCMH, or the impending transition to ICD-10 later this year. All CHCs have these on their plate yet many CHCs are as of this moment ill-prepared (at best) and even more are just “waiting to see what happens.”

Many “C-suite” folks delegate readiness to down-line staff. Just today I fielded a “complaint” of sorts from a current ICD-10 client who felt our initial work was “useless” in terms of preparedness. Come to find out this CHC, which has been part of PMG’s ICD-10 readiness program for the past four months, has not participated in nary an aspect of the prep work. From team leaders interacting with our consulting team to completion of requisite documents (e.g., designating key staff with assigned tasks and deadlines) to even being in touch with our team directly to let us know of issues/concerns… nothing. We heard indirectly from the CFO who himself has not been involved in any of readiness.

Now I’m not saying all of our work is always glowing. In fact, we admit readily that we are human and make mistakes.  Whenever possible we go out of our way to make amends even if we occasionally lose some money on a project. In this instance, I’m thinking that perhaps the person who brought the complaint to the CFO was seeking a scapegoat and PMG was an easy target.

So… who is your scapegoat for 2014? Is there someone you are ready to blame for procrastination? Are you the CEO, CFO, CMO, or COO who has a staff-person tasked with completing a project but you don’t want to look? How about some proactive work on your part! Make yourself and your CHC set goals or targets to work towards. Ask yourself as we start this new year… what goals or strategies have you posted and shared with your team? How will you measure success? Here are some examples.

  • Are you getting Days of Accounts Receivable (DAR) below 30… if so, by what date?
  • Are you increasing your “blended encounter rate” by 10%, 20%… Do you even know how you compare to your state average?
  • Are charges from your EMR flowing seamlessly in automated fashion (no human intervention) into your practice management software? Does the capability even exist? If not 100%, 80%? 50%? If you don’t know, who does?
  • How certain are you that you are maximizing enrollees from the Affordable Care Act? What percentage of available patients are you wanting enrolled (the goal) and by what date?
  • When is testing for ICD-10 expected to be complete? How will you know you are ready; i.e., what is the litmus test? EMR updates, claim submission readiness, provider education around documentation and coding structure?

All of these items are important. No one person can do all of it by himself/herself. However, without a goal, a plan, and a tracking system affording accountability you will have no idea what is working well and what is not. Operational goals and targets must be measurable, specific, and attainable. Some (like 5010 and ICD-10) MUST happen or you stop being paid by third party payers. Your CHC cannot stay in business if that happens.

So, make certain your CHC’s CEO, CFO, COO, and/or CMO take the time to actively engage and lead your team to:

  • Promote and manage key goals/targets throughout your CHC
  • Regularly review findings
  • Celebrate successes
  • Remedy failures

Death to procrastination!! But in case you just can’t seem to get it done without delay… here are few more great quotes to consider:

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”

-Mark Twain

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” 

-Pablo Picasso

“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” 

-Charles Dickens

“Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.” 

-Thomas Jefferson

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