Become the Indispensable Superstar
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Dr. William Francis - Case Study #117
Dr. Francis, general dentist, 21 years in practice and suburb practice, was experiencing the same frustrations and struggles as many of our McKenzie Management clients.
“How committed is my client to CHANGE?
Remember that law about “an object in motion stays in motion”? Dental practices are no exception. The direction of the practice will not change until some outside influence applies force to cause it to go in a different direction.
It is McKenzie Management’s objective to determine what type of force needs to be applied ,as well as, properly train the employees that are affected by these changes, and to monitor the results of the changes over a period of time. As Sally McKenzie always says, “Never make a system change if you don’t have a way to monitor the effectiveness of change.”
As I worked with Dr. Francis’ team, I could see the enthusiasm in their responses to the information I was sharing with them. They had good attitudes and were always receptive to new ideas and system changes because it was going to improve their productivity and efficiency.
Julie, the Schedule Coordinator who had worked with Dr. Francis for over five years, came to me at the end of the first day before I left for dinner with the doctor.
“Nancy, I so appreciate your willingness to help us but we are all afraid that he won’t change. When we come up with a good idea and we all agree to do something – he never holds up his end of the agreement.”
Should this comment surprise me? I knew that I was the 4th consultant that had worked with him! Is he looking for that special consulting firm that has a magic wand that fixes everything? Hmmm.
How discouraging this is for a team that wants to be motivated and wants to make changes for practice improvement and they can’t get the doctor on board.
At dinner, Dr. Francis shared with me his primary concerns regarding his experience with previous consultants.
“Dr. Francis,” I interrupted, “what was YOUR attitude toward the changes and follow through?” Amazingly, his response was, “The issues with my practice are all related to changes that need to be made at the front desk….it isn’t about me!”
HERE IS THE SECRET….
Doctors, It is ALL about you! You are the leader of the team.
Your attitude, your sincere interest and your participation in the changes that need to take place to change the course of your practice, set the tone for your employees and how well they accept and implement change.
If you aren’t present during training sessions, this sends a signal to your team that you don’t care or you don’t feel it is important enough to spend your time being there. Failing to conduct morning huddles when your staff thinks it is a great idea tells them that you don’t care about what they think or feel. Not having monthly meetings when they see the benefit reflects an “I am not interested in doing anything different that might help” attitude to them.
Dr. Francis was so fortunate to have such wonderful team members who truly cared about their practice and they cared about him as a dentist and as their employer. I made it clear to him how lucky he truly was to have a dedicated support staff. However, their candle will start to flicker and will eventually burn out if he doesn’t support them and show enthusiasm and determination in his purpose for the practice. They can’t do it alone….and he is way too heavy to pull along!
Recommendations for Achievement:
Change is difficult. Try folding your arms across your chest and then folding them again in the opposite direction. You have to think about it because it is not “normal”. However, if you performed the task repetitively, you will change. The same theory holds true in your practice.
Dr. Francis is still learning to fold his arms in the opposite direction but he now has a much better attitude and is staying determined and focused, because he realizes that it is his practice and he has to work as hard as his team. He discovered that there is no magic wand for change!
If you haven’t had enough of OSHA and HIPAA, now there is NPI and CDT. For those new Office Managers enrolled in training at McKenzie’s Advanced Training Center, these abbreviations are a new language of great importance.
Effective May 23, 2007, Federal Law prohibits Health Insurance Carriers from accepting certain types of electronic transactions from any health care provider unless the provider has first obtained and is using its NATIONAL PROVIDER IDENTIFIER or NPI.
What is an NPI? It is the standard unique identifier for health care providers to use in electronic transactions. It was mandated as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA. After May 23, 2007, Federal regulations prohibit payers from accepting any electronic transactions submitted by you, the dentist, if you have not obtained and are not using your NPI.
Individuals will use just one unique provider number to identify themselves to all health plans through which they are employed. You will not have to change your NPI even if you relocate or change specialties. The positive is health plans will be able to more efficiently coordinate benefits and track transactions. Clearinghouses are also required to be able to accept and transmit the NPI by the federal compliance deadline of May 23,2007.
If you do not submit electronic transactions governed by HIPAA, you are not required to obtain an NPI. You should get one regardless. Technology is a force to be reckoned with and you have to keep up with it for the value of your practice today and tomorrow.
How to apply? The application form, available at http. //nppes.cms.hhs.gov, can be submitted free of charge either on paper or electronically. You may apply for an NPI now, so that you will be ready to use it on all HIPAA governed transactions by the compliance date. If there are any changes after you have been assigned an NPI, you will need to submit the new information to the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) within 30 days of the change.
Without an NPI, not only will you not be able to submit claims electronically, but you will not be able to check claim status or get online benefits or eligibility inquiries. After obtaining your NPI, contact your software provider and ask how to load the NPI in the system. Updated software will have a window in which you may type the NPI so that it will show on all claims going out. You may also submit your NPI to each individual insurance carrier. Notices have been coming in the mail with instructions of where to send your NPI.
Now for CDT. The newest version of the ADA’s Current Dental Terminology or CDT 2007/2008 went into effect January 1, 2007. This notice is to let dental offices know about the CDT changes and their implementations affecting claim submissions. The CDT 2007/2008 codebook contains 23 new codes, three deleted codes and various changes to nomenclature and other text. Two of the deletions will have an impact on many dental offices because the codes were used frequently. The frequently used codes that were deleted are D1201 Topical application of fluoride (including prophylaxis for child and D1205 Topical application of fluoride (including Prophylaxis for adult). You must now separate these procedures by using two codes. The code for prophylaxis D1110 adult and D120 Child and the code for fluoride D1203 and D1204 and D1206 provided on the same date of service. For more information on these deleted codes and new nomenclature get your updated codebook today. For efficient and speedy return on your claims it is important to keep up with the yearly changes that affect claim submission. If a deleted code is submitted for payment it will cause the claim to be denied for payment. This can be costly and time consuming for offices as they have to resubmit and wait again for payment.
If coding claims is confusing and you want individualized training we can customize your Advanced Business Training to answer your toughest questions about maximizing return on your claims. Call today for more information and make this a year of prosperity for your practice.