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We were invited to attend a weekly problem-solving meeting with the billing managers of a billing company. If you’ve listened to some of the other podcasts and articles we’ve had recently. For instance, in our efforts to figure out how to improve the analytics products we’re providing and make sure that they get used and developed, we’ve done many different things to figure out. For example, “How do we overcome resistance or obstacles where people are concerned or afraid or don’t understand what analytics is, what it’s going to do, or how it’s going to save their work, reduce their stress, or make their clients yell at them less?”

Billings and Zoom

We were invited to attend this weekly problem-solving meeting. I showed up about ten minutes late because I had another meeting that ran long. When I tried to log into Zoom, I was sitting there for a couple of minutes, waiting for the meeting owner to let me in. After a couple of minutes, I pinged the owner of the company and said, “Hey! By the way, I can’t get into Zoom.” And I was told that it was already over. To be clear, the meeting didn’t start early. It only lasted ten minutes. I was asking myself, “How is that possible?” It should be like thirty minutes to an hour per billing manager. There’s a bunch of billing managers in this company because it’s like a 200+ FTE company.

Analytics is one way to accomplish all of this to find problems, diagnose problems, solve problems, and things like that. In a billing manager’s life, in a billing company, or even in the billing department, there’s frequently a known list of issues brought up by clients or physicians or something like that that must be addressed. Patients are complaining about something. Also, referring doctors are complaining about something. Further, doctors are complaining about something. Something comes up. There’s like a running list of problems that you’re trying to solve. At the very least, there should be those kinds of things.

Be proactive

Billing engineers can be somewhat reactive. A few problems pop up that they know about and have on the list. But if you want to be proactive, you need to start with data and reports.

If all the billing managers said they didn’t have anything, meaning there are no problems to tackle, for us to look at and try to figure out how to solve, the options for that are:

  1. They didn’t bother to look for anything, and that’s why they didn’t have anything.
  2. They’re hiding what they found because some things look bad.
  3. Everything is perfect in medical billing, and the universe is about to end.

Can you guess which one is not the answer? It’s not c. Everything is not perfect.

There are always problems with billing. Always, always, always. There is always something to solve. There’s always something to fix. And usually, it’s a big problem. Even if you’ve tackled the significant issues, you’re going to prepare to tackle more minor matters. That would be amazing. There are still problems. Also, there’s still stuff to fix. In addition, there’s always something happening.

Determine the issue

They didn’t have anything. There was nothing to discuss, and that’s a problem. It’s a different kind of problem. That’s not a billing problem. Also, that’s a staffing problem. Further, there are always problems.

Learning points. I’ve got to admit. We ran into this quite a bit too. I’m not throwing rocks at any particular billing company or department because God knows we ran into this all the time. We tried to deal with it in a bunch of different ways. Also, we tried hiring people who were problem-solvers and had sort of that mentality. We tried training the existing managers to think that way, act that way, and think about solving problems. I will tell you, it’s a real challenge, but there are always problems to be solved.

Final thought

If it’s not taking hours to go through and work through problems and identify problems and solve problems on an ongoing basis, that means it’s not happening. They’re just piling up. They’re just being swept under the rug. Please make sure there are problems because it’s better to know about them and deal with them than pretend they exist.