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YOUR CAREER

Speaking truth to power

By Lynne Curry What happens when you imagine marshaling your courage and telling the medical practice owner or someone else in a position of authority that he’s made the wrong judgment call? Do you fear retaliation or making a problem situation worse? If speaking the truth to power feels as risky as jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, you’re not alone. Courageously confronting authority can entail personal and professional danger. The problem, however, isn’t speaking the truth; it’s how you speak it. You can’t march in with verbal guns blazing, making aggressive “got ya” statements. Instead, you need to earn the right, avoid hit-and-run collisions, act as a partner, provide facts, and prepare to be challenged. Earn the right Who do we allow to tell us what we… . . . read more.

TERMINATION

To avoid a messy workplace theft investigation, can we just fire our prime suspect?

By Lynne Curry Question: Several years ago, when one of our employees was stealing from other employees’ purses and lockers, we called the police. The process — calling the police, alerting our insurance carrier and interviewing multiple employees to show fairness so we wouldn’t get sued for wrongful termination when we fired the one employee — tore apart our company. Some of our best employees couldn’t believe we didn’t trust them. We tried to explain we had wanted to be fair, and that if we only singled certain employees, we’d stigmatize them forever, but two of our best, long-term employees were so angry they quit within a few months. Once again, we have a problem. Several employees have reported missing small things from their desks. These items appear to be… . . . read more.

PRODUCTIVITY

Forget multitasking! Here are 4 ways to improve your focus and get more done

It’s a typical day at work. You’re on the computer, entering data, while you’re talking on the phone. A staff member comes to your office door, stack of papers in hand, and you motion for her to come in and put the papers on your desk. You continue your phone conversation, momentarily removing your hands from the keyboard in order look through the papers. You’re a multitasking dynamo! But are you really an efficient and effective manager? In fact, researchers find that the interruptions caused by switching tasks have a negative effect on the retention of information. Multitasking is inefficient The problem has to do with the impact of distraction and how it affects memory. Older adults especially have difficulty reengaging quickly when tasks are interrupted. In other words, while… . . . read more.

CODING & BILLING

CPT update for COVID-19 boosters adapted to omicron

The American Medical Association has announced an update to Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)®, that includes eight new codes for the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster doses from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The updated boosters are adapted for the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants and the original coronavirus strain in a single dose. Four of the eight CPT codes (91312, 91313, 0124A and 0134A) are effective for use immediately as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Moderna’s new COVID-19 booster in individuals 18 years of age and older and Pfizer-BioNTech’s new COVID-19 booster in individuals 12 years of age and older. Four CPT codes (91314, 91315, 0144A and 0154A) will be effective for use on the condition that the FDA authorizes Moderna’s new COVID-19 booster in individuals 6 years through… . . . read more.

BILLING & CODING

Telehealth policy to change after the COVID-19 public health emergency

The COVID-19 public health emergency has been extended to Oct. 13. Of particular interest to medical practices is the continuation of telehealth flexibilities, which will expire at the end of the public health emergency. US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra officially renewed the declaration in mid-August. The emergency declaration has been in place since January 2020, and the latest renewal came as the Omicron offshoot BA.5, the most contagious variant yet, continues to stake its claim in the US. Daily case rates, though vastly undercounted, are the highest they’ve been in months, as are COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. Data published in August by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than half of the country’s population lives in a county with a… . . . read more.

CMS

Reminder: 2023 MIPS self-nomination closes Sept. 1

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would like to remind you that the end of the 2023 MIPS Self-Nomination for Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) and Qualified Registries is Sept. 1, 2022, at 8 p.m. ET. The Self-Nomination form on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website will lock at the deadline, and users won’t be able to make additional edits. You need to ensure that your 2023 MIPS Self-Nomination form is complete and then click the Submit for Review button on the QPP website before the deadline. You can only submit the Self-Nomination form for review after all required fields are complete on each tab. Each tab has a vertical progress indicator on the left side of the form that shows your progress. A green checkmark shows you’ve completed the tab,… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

Quiet quitting: The new ‘just say no’ employee pushback

By Lynne Curry Gone are the days when employers could count on employees competing to go “above and beyond” to rise faster in their organizations. Employers now face “quiet quitting,” a trend that emerged in July 2022 from a viral TikTok video to become a phenomenon noted on Wikipedia and discussed in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. Quiet quitting is more than employees setting boundaries or intentionally putting a hard stop to their work day or work week so they can create a work/life balance. Checked-out quiet quitters simply slack their way through their workweek by doing the bare minimum needed to keep their jobs, overloading their coworkers, frustrating their supervisors, and draining productivity from their employers. According ResumeBuilder.com’s August 2022 survey of 1000 U.S. employees, 21% of surveyed… . . . read more.

RISK MANAGEMENT

What you should know about new COVID-19 guidance

CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, however, with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic. “We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, MMWR author. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks,… . . . read more.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Staff continuing education: Must you or should you pay for it?

By Paul Edwards I’m looking to hire a new employee and they asked me about my policy on paying for employee CE. I normally don’t pay for employee CE but it sounds important to this potential new employee. What is the best way to handle this? Many individuals working in healthcare fields have annual continuing education (CE) requirements they need to meet in order to maintain certain licenses. Meeting that requirement is an obligation on the individual, not on the practice. Of course, you should keep track of whether your employees have a valid license and are meeting the requirements for renewing it, otherwise it does become a problem for the practice. While you may not be required to help pay for the cost of license renewals or CEs taken… . . . read more.

STAFFING

Is it a recession or not? The answer may surprise you

By Lynne Curry My in-box filled with questions after I posted a Recession Fears Loom blog. Readers asked how I made sense of the different views voiced by economists and politicians. As a medical office manager with responsibilities around staffing and profitability, you are probably watching to see which way the economy goes. Here’s the background, and my answer to “are we headed into a recession?”: Some say “yes.” Over 60 percent of the 750 CEOs surveyed by the business research firm Conference Board expect a recession in the next 12 to 18 months1. Another 15 percent of surveyed CEOs report their region is already in recession.1 The most recent gross domestic product report that tracks our overall economic health showed a second consecutive quarter of negative growth, the textbook… . . . read more.


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