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Start local managers group to make job easier

“It doesn’t matter if there are three people or five or 20,” says the manager of an internal specialty medical office in Tennessee. It’s worth the effort to set up a local management group. She did that in her area years ago and still finds it useful.

The setup was not difficult. It was just a matter of calling the other managers and saying, “Why don’t we get together and share information rather than having to call each other about everything?” Interest was high because the area, which is rural, has a large number of small offices, and most of the managers have neither the time nor the staffing to travel to out-of-town meetings.

A decision was made to meet once a month, during the lunch hour. The location is a restaurant that provides a meeting room at no charge. There is an outside speaker at each meeting.

At the beginning, the most pressing issue was insurance contracting so, for the first several meetings, the speakers were representatives from different insurance companies who explained negotiations and the legal provisions of the contracts. Since then, speakers have addressed coding changes, Medicare, malpractice coverage, HIPAA, legal issues—anything pertaining to the office.

After the speaker, there’s general information sharing. Anybody can bring anything up. If one manager has advice from a payer or vendor worth passing along or useful printed information, it gets presented and discussed.

At the end of the meeting, this manager asks, “What do you need to discuss next time? What problems are you having?” Then she finds a speaker to address whatever the group is most concerned about. In addition, if several small issues are mentioned, different people agree to research them and report at the next meeting.

The only costs are lunch and a door prize—an appreciated addition, because medical managers have a lot of work and few rewards.

To any manager who doesn’t have a local group, her advice is to set one up. It’s a time saver and a work saver, because if one person has information, the others don’t have to look it up. What’s more, with little time to take off, it’s a quick way for a manager to get educated.

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