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 the 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.
- Go through the resumes and pick five candidates with an 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 medical practice has 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.
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!