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Leading Your Private Practice Through Times of Adversity

A female therapist leading her private practice through times of adversity

In private practice, where each day brings challenges, the recent cyberattack on Change Healthcare has presented an unprecedented hurdle. The attack has suspended claims and payment processing, leaving many practices at risk of financial hardship. In such times, effective leadership is paramount to guide your practice through the storm and ensure the well-being of your team, your business, and your clients. In our blog today, we would like to deviate from talking about billing, insurance, and credentialing while focusing on leading your private practice through times of adversity. We hope to continue to empower you to focus on patient care through best practices in revenue cycle management and through your practice's leadership. 

Leading Your Private Practice Through Effective Communication:

One of the best ways to be an effective leader in your private practice is to be an effective communicator. A few years ago, Warren Buffett was asked to name the one skill he would recommend everyone work on to succeed. His answer was to develop one’s written and verbal communication skills. His direct quote was, “You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you must be able to transmit it. And the transmission is communication.”

Transparent communication with your staff and clients is crucial. Keep them informed about the situation and reassure them that you are actively working to resolve the issue. This transparency can help alleviate anxiety and foster trust.

An article published by McKinsey states that leaders must use five fundamental practices in their communication during uncertain times. We've explained McKinsey's fundamental practices of communication below:

  1. Give people what they need when they need it. As the situation develops, what your staff, clients, and community need from you will shift and develop. As those needs change, so does your communication. Giving the people you lead the information they need to weather a crisis is critical to their well-being and ability to maintain their grittiness through a crisis.

  2. Communicate simply and frequently. Uncertainty limits people’s ability to process high volumes of complex information. Since people are limited in their ability to process a lot of information, it is your job to ensure that you communicate with the utmost clarity and use the most minor words you can. Doing this ensures everyone on your team is on the same page and unified as you move through this uncertain time.

  3. Choose candor over charisma. Truth in uncertainty is your most important ally when building trust and leading your team. Be honest with them about the reality of the situation and give them clarity about how they can help move the organization through the crisis. In times of uncertainty, people are eager to get out, so if you give them clear guidance, they will follow you.

  4. Revitalize resilience. Sharing big wins and positive stories of what your team is doing through uncertain times is one of the best ways to boost morale and increase resilience. One of the goals of a leader through uncertain times is to maintain the ability of the team to spend a lot of energy getting through the crisis but not burn out and lose team members in the aftermath of the crisis.

  5. Distill meaning from chaos. Inviting your team to reflect during and after an uncertain time is essential to develop meaning and lessons from a crisis. Leadership in crisis does not mean adopting a tyrannical stance toward your team; instead, listening to how this impacts your team and developing some best practices. 

Strategic Staff Management:

Once you have developed a communication routine that works for your team, the best action you can take as the leader is to take stock of how your team is doing. One of the worst things that can happen during uncertainty is losing your staff. 

Retaining your staff during this time is vital. 

You can do your best to maintain morale and prevent talent loss; consider offering flexible work arrangements or temporary roles within the practice. Giving people options and opportunities that best suit their lives can be the difference between keeping your people and your culture and losing touch or control of your practice. Your people are your best asset, and taking care of them will yield significant dividends in the long run. 

Reviewing Insurance Coverage:

One of the first pain points of uncertain times is an organization's financial state and whether it is capitalized in a way that leads to survival or the ability to thrive through uncertainty. If your practice is fiscally disciplined, you will likely avoid a liquidity crisis and the other uncertainties you are dealing with. If you are a young practice or need a contingency fund, you will look for alternatives immediately. 

One of the best options is to review your business insurance policy to see if it covers lost income due to cyberattacks. Submitting a claim may help offset some of the financial losses your practice has incurred. You will want to contact your business insurance agent to file a claim with the insurance company and go through the process of recovering lost business income. 

Focus on Efficiency:

One of the silver linings of outages or downtime is that you have downtime. 

Use this downtime to review your practice's operations and identify areas for improvement. Once claims and payment processing resume, streamlining processes can help you operate more efficiently. You can also use this time to focus on other income areas if you have them. You can divert time and resources to investing in different areas of the business you have wanted to invest in, or you can divert human resources to helping where help may be needed. 

View times of uncertainty like an opponent in a chess match. You always have a move and an option. Making sure you know what your next move is may be the difference between survival and thriving in a situation like this. 

Exploring Alternative Solutions:

Consider partnering with Practice Solutions, which has pivoted to alternate methods of submitting claims and receiving client payments. Outsourcing your billing needs can ensure that your practice continues to receive payments even during this period of downtime. Partnering with Practice Solutions can be like having emergency power reserves. You can now draw from a larger team that has extra resources to provide your practice with the support it needs to get through an unprecedented situation. 

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Practice Solutions was a leader in pivoting to telehealth billing and providing critical education and support services to all our clients during global unrest. In this current situation, our team could review all the available claim submission and payment posting resources, present those to our clients, and rapidly change whichever option the practice owner felt was best. This adaptability and flexibility are critical for a practice to navigate uncertain waters. 

Stay Positive and Supportive:

Maintain a positive outlook and provide support to your staff and clients. Remind them that this situation is temporary and you will overcome this challenge together.

We are committed to supporting you and your practice during this challenging time at Practice Solutions. Our team is working diligently to find solutions and meet your billing needs. If you haven't already, consider partnering with us to keep your payments running smoothly during this downtime.

Remember, adversity is a part of the journey, but with resilience and support, we can navigate through it and emerge stronger than before.

Stay strong and positive; remember, Practice Solutions is here to help.


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