Consultant's corner: Analysis, leadership recommendations

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Industry consultant Sarah Hanna has noticed a big difference in the types of calls she has received from HME providers in 2015 compared to 2014.

Hanna, president of ECS Billing & Consulting North, says last year providers were looking for training to improve their operations; this year they’re looking for benchmarks to improve their operations.

“We’re really using more data analysis with our clients than we have in the past,” Hanna said. “They’re moving into the next realm.”

While providers are interested in benchmarks for traditional areas like AR over 120 days and DSO, they’re also interested in holding revenue (revenue that’s on hold because a provider is waiting on, say, medical documentation) and bad debt (from both patients and payers).

With competitive bidding less of an unknown, Hanna says providers may be back to the business of analyzing their businesses.

“They don’t feel the panic they used to,” she said. 

Coach, don’t condemn

While data analysis is the foundation of any good business, consultant Kelly Franko says leadership skills matter, too.

“With the negative air in the industry, employees are having a hard time staying connected,” said Franko, vice president of training and development at Advantage Training & Coaching Solutions. 

Attitude is the key to employee engagement, says Franko, and that involves coaching not condemning.

Franko offers the following scenario: “You have two different managers: one is a coach-oriented manager with a team filled with naysayers. That manager can turn that team around into high performers. One has an I’m-the-manager attitude. That manager can send high performers looking for lifeboats.” 

There’s a big push toward coaching across all industries right now, Franko says, because our world has become so focused on communication, whether it’s in person, by email or through various social media outlets.

“It all comes down to how something is said versus what is said,” she said.