March 13, 2019
The value of an effective relationship between a centralized billing office (CBO) and practice staff cannot be understated. Time invested in cultivating harmony can pay tremendous dividends and provide an excellent foundation on which your practice can flourish.
Here are five things that create an optimal relationship with the CBO.
1. We’re all on the same team.
To create a culture that is conducive to team success, cultivate an environment free of silos, heading off any “us versus them” thinking. Set up routine meetings with representatives from practice operations and the CBO. Make these meetings agenda-driven and elicit input from all attendees. Strong communication between the teams makes for great learning opportunities for all involved.
2. The data will set you free.
It is easy, and dangerous, for team members to think that their area of responsibility is getting the brunt of mistakes made elsewhere. Designing and publicizing data about key impact areas in the revenue cycle can level the playing field for everyone.
Include team members in the selection of which metrics to track. For example, effective registration processes tamp down ‘reg edits,’ and expedite prompt claims submission. Appointment schedulers as well as those who register patients upon arrival to the clinic affect the accuracy of registration. Therefore, clean claims submission rates are excellent ‘joint’ or ‘combined’ metrics because clinic operations and CBO functions both have an impact on the efficiency of the process. Charge lag metrics are another example of reportable measures that can help clinic operations and coders work together to affect performance.
Gather your teams to discuss measures like these and they will find numerous metrics that accurately reflect the value of their combined work.
3. Oh the joys of cross-pollination.
The ease of passing judgement on others becomes more difficult when you’ve walked in their shoes. Allowing team members from the CBO to spend time with clinic registration staff will help drive home the difficulty of patient-facing registration activities. Reciprocally, when office registration staff spend time with those working AR follow-up, they develop a new appreciation for the value of quality registration data. Don’t forget to include coders in this job-shadowing activity, as the AR follow-up team’s work is also impacted by the quality of the work of the coders and others involved with charge capture activities.
4. Create linkages via goal setting.
When developing annual performance goals for staff, consider structuring some goals that utilize metrics affected by both clinic operational processes and CBO procedures. Tethering cross-departmental functions via ‘SMARTT’ goals will go a long way to creating common ‘performance’ bonds that may have otherwise not been present. This simultaneously leverages joint accountability and support for teammates.
Look at your baseline as you set these cross-departmental goals for the first time, so you can measure and report the positive impacts of the joint efforts.
5. Developing the next generation of leaders.
Empowering teams to work together on common impact areas will yield more than improved quantifiable results. It can also help you identify those who are ready to take on leadership roles. Guiding small groups, facilitating meaningful dialogue amongst teams, and enabling disparate groups to come to consensus are true indicators of leadership traits. As you allow teams to come together for the greater good of the practice, with a focus on performance improvement, you are also allowing new leaders to emerge – it’s a win-win.