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How Physicians Can Find Top-Notch Medical Office Staff

Health Insurance Companies Process 1 in 5 Claims Wrong

3 Things to Look for WHen Hiring Medical Office Staff

Qualified Staff Keep Revenues Up and Medical Offices Running Smoothly

A doctor is only as good as their staff. You’ve heard that before, haven’t you?

The team members you choose – from front office to clinical – form the backbone of the medical practice. Whether scheduling an appointment or providing insurance information, patients will interact with office staff multiple times before they even see the doctor. And if the staff is unpleasant when dealing with patients or they are untrained when it comes to billing and coding, your practice will suffer the consequences.

Fewer patients, incorrectly filed claims, lowered revenues. Exactly what you don’t want.

So what’s a physician or office manager to do? How can you find and hire qualified candidates?

How Capture Billing Does It

While we don’t claim to be staffing experts by any means, we do know a thing or two about screening prospective candidates. As we’ve grown over the years, we’ve had to frequently revisit this topic. And as medical billing regulations have become increasingly complex, we’ve refined this process to find more highly skilled staff with less hassle.

It’s important to remember that hiring staff for your practice is an investment of time – BUT it will pay dividends when you get it right – with happier patients, properly billed claims, and higher revenues.

When you’re short-staffed and already overworked, it’s tempting to just pick the first decent candidate that comes along. But it’s certainly not always the smartest tactic, especially when it comes to claims filing and billing – the financial foundation of your medical office.

For us, we’ve found an initial investment of time means we find the ideal candidate more often than not. So when we have an open position and receive stacks of resumes, this is how we break the process down into more manageable steps.

  1. Go through the resumes and pick five candidates with extensive background in the area for which we’re hiring. Depending on the position you’re hiring for, you’ll be looking for different things. At Capture Billing, we look for strong backgrounds in medical billing and coding. And if they’re a certified coder, we can verify that through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) website.
  1. Conduct brief phone interviews with each candidate to rate their knowledge and personality. Each interview should be 15-30 minutes maximum – just enough to verify the candidate does indeed know the industry and to get a taste of their personality and experience in healthcare.
  1. Invite those who make the cut in for a face-to-face interview. We plan two hours for this step of the process and we have at least two members of management present.
  1. Management compares notes after each interview. Each member of management offers a different perspective on how the candidate interviewed, so that’s why we like to have at least two managers sit in on it. This step is where we pool together those opinions and evaluate who is a better fit for us.

No matter what though, three characteristics always top the list for our ideal candidate. These may vary for your medical practice, but this is what has worked well for us at Capture Billing.

3 Key Characteristics to Look for When Hiring Medical Office Staff

Teachability – You can teach someone to do data entry, or billing and coding, properly. Those are skills that can be taught if given enough time. But you can’t make someone want to learn – to have the drive and passion to want to do their best and keep learning more each day.

Personality – Likewise, the same holds true for personality – it’s nearly impossible to mold it to fit your office dynamic. The staff of a medical practice have to work together daily in order to provide the best patient experience and keep the office running smoothly. We consider our team a family at Capture Billing, so it’s important we find personalities that will gel and work well together.

Experience – And of course experience is important too, but there’s a reason that it ranks third for me AFTER teachability and personality in the priority list. So while being knowledgeable of the job requirements and experience is a must, most practices will train you on their specific way of doing things once hired anyways.

That’s why the ability to learn new things is number one for us. At Capture Billing, we teach all new hires how to properly do the job in order to make sure that our clients, practices, doctors, and all our healthcare providers are consistently taken care of 100%. We do that whether the candidate has 2 years in healthcare or 20 years.

 A Trial Run

If a candidate ranks high on each of those areas during the face-to-face interview, we perform one final step: job shadowing. In our experience, this is virtually unheard of these days but we feel it’s well worth the effort.

The candidate comes into our office and shadows a handful of staff members, so they may see a range of jobs that day – data entry, insurance claim follow-up, coding, patient collection calls, etc.

They can see exactly what the position entails, the pace the office runs at, and how demanding the workload can be. Plus, candidates get to interact with the people they’ll be working side-by-side with, and we get to interact with them. We can see how personalities will mesh.

After the shadowing, the staff members provide feedback to management by answering questions like:

  • Is this person teachable?
  • Do they have a good sense of humor? (Yes, sense of humor)
  • How did they handle the pressures of the job?
  • Did their past experience shine through?
  • Can you work with this person?

The job shadowing experience is a deal breaker for some – certain candidates will realize the position isn’t the right fit for them. Maybe our pace is too fast, the level of detail is too much, or it’s different than what they’re used to, especially if they’ve come from a smaller, slower-paced medical or billing office.

You’re Hired!

Here at Capture Billing, we keep moving because our clients expect – and need – that level of commitment, dedication, and attention to detail. This hiring process works well for us in finding and retaining highly skilled medical billers and coders.

Hopefully these same steps can make hiring staff for your medical practice less stressful. And if you still struggle to find qualified employees for your in-house billing department, we’d be happy to assist with your billing needs in the meantime.

How do you find qualified staff for your medical office? Please comment below and let me know!

is a 20 year veteran of healthcare having managed medical practices. He advises medical practices, physicians and practice administrators on how to run their practice and manage their medical billing and revenue cycle management. Manny speaks, blogs and makes videos at www.CaptureBilling.com, a blog that is tops in the medical billing and coding field. READ MORE

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3 Responses to How Physicians Can Find Top-Notch Medical Office Staff

  1. I like how you start your list of key attributes with the teachability of potential staff, and their drive and passion to want to keep learning and doing their best. I imagine that this drive would be especially useful in the medical field which is constantly experiencing new discoveries and technologies, as it would enable your staff to adapt well to whatever changes were necessary. I feel like using a staffing agency that specializes in medical and billing staff would be a great way to find employees who fit the bill.

  2. Manny- I consult with a network of oncology practices across Kansas…and I would L.O.V.E. to see more people employ the job shadowing technique! As a prospective candidate, I would be excited for this opportunity to judge the chemistry of the practice, observe routines and how the team supports one another and communicates. I bet employing these strategies for years is why you have such a great team! Great tips!

    • Carol —

      Several of our team have been with me for over a decade and lots over 5 years. The shadowing is the cornerstone of the hiring process. They get to see what it is really like at Capture Billing.

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Capture Billing helps medical practices by reducing their insurance accounts receivable and getting claims paid faster, allowing doctors to focus on providing quality healthcare to their patients without the stress of doing their own medical billing.

That’s why we developed Capture Billing’s Rapid Revenue Recovery System to keep our clients’ Accounts Receivables down and their revenue flowing.

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Disclaimer

The analysis of any medical billing or coding question is dependent on numerous specific facts -- including the factual situations present related to the patients, the practice, the professionals and the medical services and advice. Additionally, laws and regulations and insurance and payer policies (as well as coding itself) are subject to change. The information that has been accurate previously can be particularly dependent on changes in time or circumstances. The information contained in this web site is intended as general information only. It is not intended to serve as medical, health, legal or financial advice or as a substitute for professional advice of a medical coding professional, healthcare consultant, physician or medical professional, legal counsel, accountant or financial advisor. If you have a question about a specific matter, you should contact a professional advisor directly. CPT copyright American Medical Association. All rights reserved. CPT is a registered trademark of the American Medical Association.

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