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Don't Let Your Money Walk Out The Door Print E-mail
Written by The Profitable Practice   
Saturday, 19 January 2013 00:00

One of the most important aspects of a medical practice’s success is collecting the money that a patient owes them. This seems like a “no-brainer,” right? Well that does not necessarily make it an easy feat. Patient out-of-pocket fees account for 30 percent of a practice’s revenue, yet once a patient walks out the door, chances of collecting that money are practically cut in half.

The bright side is that there are ways to improve the collections process in order to ensure payment efficiency. Software Advice, an online resource for medical software, spoke with several practice management consultants and found four strategies to improve patient fee collection while maintaining strong customer satisfaction.


Last Updated on Saturday, 09 February 2013 17:39
Dealing with Problem Employees - A Two Part Series - Part 2 Print E-mail
Written by   
Thursday, 10 January 2013 00:00

The Essentials of Good Documentation

In this two-part series, so far, we have discussed the essentials of executing fair and consistent corrective action on employees with performance issues. Today we will explore the elements of good documentation and why it is so important.

In today's workplace environment, even employees have come to expect that discussions and disciplinary actions will always be documented. Except in the cases where employees violate company policies that dictate immediate termination, there is usually ample time to make sure that employees with performance issues are given all of the warning steps and the corresponding documentation is evident, specific and concise. Making sure that documentation always follows an employee disciplinary conference will support the company's decision when faced with legal disputes. Unfortunately, many companies that pay hefty fines and end up with problems from the EEOC and the courts, usually do so because there is no documentation to support the decision to terminate.  Ambiguity leads to inevitable misinterpretation and will be used against you. In other words, "take your time" and exercise patience to ensure that your decision is well documented before taking action.

Good documentation should include the facts and reasons for the decisions being taken. Employers should always keep in mind that the decision could be challenged; make sure that the document clearly and concisely supports and explains your decision. What should a fair and well documented action include?

  • Employer expectations have been clearly communicated
  • Expectations are enforced consistently across the board
  • The performance issue has been communicated as being unacceptable
  • What the consequence will be for continued unacceptable behavior
  • Opportunity and assistance has been offered to the employee to improve
This is the base for your documentation but below is a more detailed checklist of what the order should be for the documentation, as well as the areas with which you should be in compliance, in the event your decision is challenged in legal proceedings.

Click here to read more.

About the authors: M. Alexandra Johnson, FACHE and Wilma N. Torres, CPC are principals at Coleman Consulting Group.  For additional information about the firm or to request a complimentary no-obligation consultation, please call 954.578.3331 or email  
Dealing with Problem Employees - A Two Part Series - Part 1 Print E-mail
Written by   
Friday, 04 January 2013 10:20

As managers and supervisors, one of the most disagreeable and difficult tasks that we face is that of disciplining employees for performance issues.  In today's work environment, we are bound by rules and regulations that demand that disciplinary actions be carried out in a manner that is not arbitrary, unfair or perceived to be discriminatory.  In this two-part series, we will examine important aspects of the employee disciplinary process to help you effect the change your organization needs in a way that minimizes your legal risks.

Part 1 - The Four Steps of Corrective Action

In this first part of this two-part series, we will review the major steps to follow when disciplining an employee.

Of course, the first course of action should always be to motivate and encourage your employees to perform at standards that are acceptable. However, we will inevitably be faced with "problem employees" or employees who, for whatever reason, just cannot perform the necessary duties of the job. In this scenario we are forced to take progressive disciplinary action; here are human resource standards that will help you "stay out of trouble:"  Click here to read more.

About the authors: M. Alexandra Johnson, FACHE and Wilma N. Torres, CPC are principals at Coleman Consulting Group.  For additional information about the firm or to request a complimentary no-obligation consultation, please call 954.578.3331 or email  

Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 10:33
Avoiding Coding that Leads to Audits Print E-mail
Written by Betsy Nicoletti, MS, CPC   
Thursday, 27 December 2012 00:00

Medical billing errors account for $68 billion in healthcare spending each year. And medical experts estimate that between 40 and 80 percent of all medical bills contain errors. If you're a physician practice, these medical coding errors can cost you a lot of money--and they may lead to your practice getting audited. As such, it's important to understand how to use your medical billing software appropriately, to avoid making high-risk coding errors that will make it more likely for your practice to be audited.

Software Advice
, online resource medical billing software, recently hosted a Q&A with medical coding expert Betsy Nicoletti, MS, CPC. Nicoletti is a nationally-known expert on medical coding and co-author of She holds a Master’s of Science in Organization and Management from Antioch University New England, and recently published a medical coding book titled, "Auditing Physician Services: Verifying Accuracy in Physician Services and E/M Coding To Protect Medical Practices."

The Q&A session covers important considerations for physicians practices such as:
  •  Common high-risk evaluation and management (E/M) coding errors doctors make;
  •  Prevalent reasons high-risk compliance problems occur;
  • Potential consequences of making high-risk coding mistakes; and,
  • How to perform self-audits to prevent a legal audit of your practice.
You can read the full Q&A session over on The Profitable Practice at: Avoiding Coding That Leads to Audits: Q & A With Betsy Nicoletti.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 14:46
Back to the SAIC Breach and a Look Across the Chasm Between Significant Risk and Actual Harm Resulting from a HIPAA Breach Print E-mail
Written by Elizabeth Litten and Michael Kline   
Friday, 14 December 2012 10:42

We have posted several blogs, including those here and here, tracking the reported 2011 theft of computer tapes from the car of an employee of Science Applications International Corporation ("SAIC") that contained the protected health information ("PHI") affecting approximately 5 million military clinic and hospital patients (the "SAIC Breach"). SAIC's recent Motion to Dismiss (the "Motion") the Consolidated Amended Complaint filed in federal court in Florida as a putative class action (the "SAIC Class Action") highlights the gaps between an incident (like a theft) involving PHI, a determination that a breach of PHI has occurred, and the realization of harm resulting from the breach. SAIC's Motion emphasizes this gap between the incident and the realization of harm, making it appear like a chasm so wide it practically swallows the breach into oblivion.

SAIC, a giant publicly-held government contractor that provides information technology ("IT") management and, ironically, cyber security services, was engaged to provide IT management services to TRICARE Management Activity, a component of TRICARE, the military health plan ("TRICARE") for active duty service members working for the U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD"). SAIC employees had been contracted to transport backup tapes containing TRICARE members' PHI from one location to another.

According to the original statement published in late September of 2011 ( the "TRICARE/SAIC Statement") the PHI "may include Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions."

Read More>>> 

To view author's bio's click on the hot links: Elizabeth Litten and Michael Kline

Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 09:16
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