Medical Billing Managers: Must Have Skills
Health care billing managers are under tremendous pressure to be "best in class" with their billing operations. To accomplish this goal, managers must keep several balls in the air at the same time deftly juggling multiple people and issues to accomplish this goal. Of course managers must have good communication skills, both written and oral. Of course managers must take accountability for the operation of the business office and of course the manager must have thorough knowledge of how accounts receivables is handled by their practice management systems.
But what are the primary skills a manager must have to be "best in class"?
- Critical Thinking Skills: In short, critical thinking uses a logical approach to problem solving and decision making. This includes the ability to know what matters and what are simply "fringe" issues. The ability to ask the right questions of staff to use in collecting and analyzing data and information is a key component of critical thinking. Because the billing staff works at levels of detail to accomplish its goals; knowing how to communicate effectively with staff is paramount. This also means a billing manager must be able to manage the day to day issues and the long-term goals established by the practice.
- Change Management Skills: To be an effective leader in the medical business office, the manager must recognize opportunities to improve practice performance and implement new processes. The ability to effectively interact with staff and share goals and reasons for change is critical to successful change. Staff will comply with needed change when clearly and repeatedly communicated. Change is an on-going process as new requirements from federal and carriers are communicated, billing managers must be ready to take appropriate action to meet these challenges and incorporate efficient procedures to meet and exceed expectations.
- Negotiation Skills: Negotiations take place on a daily basis for an effective billing manager. From supporting and promoting effective conflict management to dealing with outside vendors, a billing manager must recognize the value of give and take and use that skill to the organizations advantage. The billing manager must be able to encourage teamwork between clinical and billing staff. Traditionally a slippery slope, negotiation skills will aid the manager in successful interaction between clinical goals and business goals. The manager must also work with other departments within the organization to bring new technology and skills to the billing teams. By knowing how to negotiate with the IT department, for instance, a manager can effectively work to implement soft-ware and other enhancements to the billing enviornment.
- Time management skills: A good manager must stay ahead of the curve and budget time to read, think and plan for the future. By pro-actively setting goals; the effective manager can avoid the pitfall of constantly being in a re-active mode. the manager that only reacts to situations and circumstances has not set effective goals to avoid being in the reactive position. Of course some situations cannot be foreseen......but most can be avoided by paying attention to the right details and planning for the future. A managers voice mail and e-mail that is always full demonstrates an inability to manage time and priorities.
- Culture building skill: This is an often forgotten skill by managers. What characterizes the culture of your business office? What do you want that culture to look and feel like? What brings optimal productivity and staff satisfaction while projecting the culture you want to be known for? By building a culture that projects confidence, inspires team spirit, and continuously builds a successful operation; the business office will be known for its ability to get things done accurately the first time.
These skills managers must demonstrate day in and day out to effectively lead a billing office. By paying attention to the development of these skills a medical billing manager can bring leadership and success to the business office.