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Getting Ready for 2019: It’s Never Too Early to Plan
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 9:00 AM
The inclination to stop and take a breath after a busy year is natural, but with 2019 on the horizon, time is of the essence to make sure you’re prepared for the coming year. Now is the perfect time to chart out your path and get your plans in place to ensure next year is a success.
In no particular order, our team has compiled the main areas of interest that practices should be focused on moving into the new year. They are:
Financial. Practices should be in a position to create a realistic budget for 2019 to be shared with key stakeholders. This includes business owners, administrators, managers, and professional advisors. In order to create a comprehensive budget, the following areas should be assessed:
- Physician business planning. Map out the upcoming year by spending time with each physician in the practice to set expectations on scheduling, patient visit targets, and revenue and compensation goals.
- Upcoming capital expenditures. Evaluate if your business will have new equipment needs in the upcoming year such as medical and office equipment, computers, furniture, and building improvements. When evaluating, be aware of the impact these expenditures will have on cash flow, so you can make an informed decision as to how these expenses will affect your budget.
- Staffing and compensation. Focus on current staffing levels, as well as anticipated new hires in 2019, during individual planning meetings with department managers. Work any anticipated raises or new hire salaries into your 2019 budget.
- Changes in operating expenses. By this time of year, practices normally have an idea of changes to insurance policy premiums, building rent adjustments, and other normal recurring expenses. All of these should be reviewed and subsequently reflected in the practice’s 2019 budget.
- Commercial payer contracts. Identify any potential changes to fee schedules for the upcoming year. This review can be beneficial as it might also present the opportunity to renegotiate rates.
Operational. To ensure maximized flow and efficiency and mitigate risk, practice operations should be assessed before the new year. Areas that should be reviewed include:
- Practice compliance. Make sure all practice staff is up to date with annual requirements related to OSHA and HIPPA. You should also consider other compliance opportunities for the business such as an accounting audit, chart reviews, and IT risk assessments.
- MIPS planning. It is critical to have a plan that addresses how the practice will manage MIPS and other government or commercial payer programs going into the new year. A best practice is to dedicate a person or team to manage this process in order to (1) stay abreast of new regulations related to the program and (2) ensure that your electronic health record is compliant with current guidelines.
Business planning. Success does not happen by accident in today’s marketplace — it takes planning. Set your practice up for success in 2019 by doing the following:
- Evaluate new business activities. Whether you are planning to hire a new provider, implement a new service line, or acquire/merge with another practice, it is critical to preemptively identify the potential impact on the business. Create a realistic business plan to analyze the effect on revenue, expenses, cash flow, and overall operations before entering into any new business venture.
- Commit to a strategic planning meeting. Last, but probably most important on this list, is to find dedicated time to plan for the future. Committing to a time to bring practice owners and leaders together exponentially increases the likelihood of being successful with all of the items mentioned above.
YOUR TURN: What are you doing to prepare your practice for 2019? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your input in the comment section below.