Average (or less) is what we encounter when we call on new prospects. The sacrificial lamb of self-inflicted diminished cash is the only common theme to countless RCM companies that find themselves doing a mediocre job supporting their clients. They either lose interest, take for granted, or lose sight of their mission — to take care of the client. In these situations and countless others, the only thing to fear is fear itself, to quote FDR, and that’s largely why medical practices don’t make a change, even though they are slowing bleeding even though they don’t know where they’ve been cut.
Consider the frog. As a wise man once told me, put a frog in a pot of boiling hot water, and he/she will jump headlong out of the pot, forever thankful to be rid of that horrible situation. However, put a frog in tepid water and very slowly turn up the heat, and the frog will cook himself or herself to death. It’s no different in medical billing. The cash leakage starts small with exacting excuses of “why it’s down” and grow precipitously into the dead frog of severely deceased cash flow. Yet, practices will still rationalize to themselves that the pain of change far outweighs “the little amount they might be losing”. Therein lies the deception of the situation — the fabrication of reality that it’s really OK and might just get better. At that point, it is already a no good, very bad day, and it’s more likely to get worse than better.
This level of mediocrity and sheer under-performance is rampant in the RCM industry. It’s SOP at the biggest and the smallest of billing operations, not just RCM companies but in-house CBOs, as well. The bar is low in this competitive landscape. Focus gets lost. Resources get tired. Creativity wanes. There is no forward movement, just treading water. To be the better simply requires never taking even a single eye off the least of processes or the most of daily results. RCM is a game of inches, and each one adds up to more money for clients, better processes for systemic efficiency, and maximal compliance in pursuit of the end-goal of billing — more money with superior patient care and remarkable client service.
Written by Michael Ferrie, President, PDM, a Coronis Health company