Unfortunately, if you don’t routinely look out for your legal and financial interests you risk catastrophe. The good news is, help is available. Be proactive in your practice and run it like the business that it is – and the ISMA has a host of member benefits to help you.
Recently, CNN Money published an article titled “Doctors Going Broke.” The article cited decreasing reimbursement, changing regulations, increasing business costs, and rising drug prices as some of the primary reasons. Additionally, it noted a lack of business acumen among physicians, which has become increasingly necessary.
Physicians sometimes cope with business realities by reducing their own salaries, taking out loans, assuming more personal financial liability or even turning away uninsured patients. Even worse, some doctors choose to cut corners – in patient care or compliance.
The caution light
Here are some warning signs that you may need business help:
- Your practice is busier but your revenue hasn’t increased.
- Your accounts receivable are increasing.
- Your accounts receivable continue to age.
- You can’t cover your overhead.
- You’re increasingly taking out more loans or credit.
These situations call for use of the most current coding and billing materials, sending appropriate staff to educational sessions, subscribing to listservs (generally free), networking with other experts, and monitoring staff and billers.
Well-trained, efficient staff and billers are worth their weight in gold. The ISMA offers many education seminars and can recommend others. We can also identify organizations where you can post openings for qualified staff.
If you are having problems in your practice, the ISMA can assist you with coding, billing, reimbursement and legal questions. Sometimes billing problems can be resolved rather easily once identified. But, the work must be done promptly; the clock is always ticking on claims.
For problems requiring more in-depth assistance, the ISMA can refer you to financial experts, practice consultants, accountants and attorneys who can help. We have trusted resources that are tested and reliable.
For physicians suffering from depression or who may be resorting to unhealthy behaviors to cope with stress, like abusing drugs or alcohol, the ISMA Physician Assistance Program is here to help.
Whatever the problem, the worst thing you can do is not get help. You may be able to address issues before they force you to close your business or cause financial ruin.