Millions of People Potentially Affected in Equifax Data Breach

A recent news story regarding a cyber-attack on one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, Equifax, had our office buzzing. MedHQ has partnered with our benefits broker of record, Hylant, to provide timely information for you and your employees.

Overview of the breach

The breach in security occurred between mid-May and July of 2017, and is considered the largest to date. It’s so severe, in fact, that it’s likely anyone with a credit report was affected. According to Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of National Cyber Security Alliance, “Everyone should assume that their data may have been lost in this breach.”

To assist concerned individuals, Equifax created a website to help individuals determine if any of their personal information was stolen. If you have been impacted by the breach, it’s recommended to engage in a credit freeze.

If your ASC needs assistance with human resources, please contact us.

The content of this News Brief is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.


Expert HR Decisions can have Significant Impact on ASC's Financial Performance | MedHQ

Expert HR Decisions can have Significant Impact on ASC’s Financial Performance

While ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are always looking for ways to save money, they sometimes fail to aggressively pursue cost savings tied to Human Resources. MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs made this assertion in a recent article in ASCA Focus Magazine, adding that introducing improvements to such things as staffing, scheduling and employee benefits can greatly reduce an ASC’s HR expenses.

“HR is an everyday, ongoing process,” Jacobs said in the article. “You certainly want to try to save money when you buy new capital equipment, for example, but that is a one-off purchase. When you can bring about improvements to HR, you will likely realize more savings over time.”

Jacobs explained that all decisions that impact employees should be rooted in an understanding of employment law compliance, and suggested that some of the most appropriate, effective ways to save money are often less obvious. He said when making choices about different HR services, ASCs would be wise to do their due diligence or even consider bringing in outside expertise for assistance.

“If you are considering offering a 401(k)-retirement plan, research your options,” he counseled. “An HR practitioner schooled in benefits and retirement plans should be able to get a good product that delivers solid, long-term returns.”

In addition, Jacobs said some of the most substantial HR cost savings efforts are not as easily measured. “We preach a lot about saving money on unemployment claims costs,” he said. “When you can keep turnover low and staff satisfaction high, people will work really well together. That leads to lower labor hours per case, and lowers cost per case.”

To help gain the financial benefits of strong HR decision-making, Jacobs underscores the importance of seasoned HR experience in ASC leadership. “An ASCs costs can greatly increase or decrease depending upon how an ASC performs in the many areas of HR,” he concludes. “Being an HR practitioner is a long-term commitment to a field of study. It takes a significant amount of in-depth knowledge to do this work really well.”

To read the full text of the ASCA Focus article, click here. To connect, tweet us.

Effective Communication Helps Employees Make Good Open Enrollment Choices

While surgery center management teams typically pay careful attention to the financial ins-and-outs of employee benefits, mid- and line-level employees are often too busy to think much about benefits, and may find making important decisions about benefits to be an annual exercise in confusion or even frustration when Open Enrollment season rolls around.

MedHQ’s CEO Tom Jacobs says Human Resources professionals who communicate well with employees — who help them understand the unfamiliar language and concepts of benefits offerings — ease the way through Open Enrollment and help employees make better choices for themselves and their families. Preventing confusion helps refocus employees on the positives of the benefits they’re offered through their employer.

“There are a number of communications tactics that help prepare employees for Open Enrollment season,” Jacobs says, “from getting an early start, to providing clear summary materials that help employees see the big picture before they start making choices. I’m a big proponent of one-to-one interviews during open enrollment as well. If employees can get their specific questions answered, they’ll make better decisions.”

Following are a few additional tips for starting the conversation, explaining key terms, and educating employees to help them make good benefits choices:

  • Frame up key questions: Beyond the standard question-and-answer document specific to your company’s benefits, it is often helpful to prompt employees with questions about their own lives so they consider any health and relationship changes before making their open enrollment selections.
  • Summarize government policy changes impacting choices: with all the information swirling about the Affordable Care Act, many people are confused. Open Enrollment season is a great time to help employees understand how policies affect them.
  • Outline changes to your company’s offerings: are there new benefits being offered, shifts in shared costs, or new options for employee-paid offerings? For example, today’s financial reality for many means opting for a high deductible plan. Clearly delineating what’s different helps employees understand both costs and benefits.

For companies with calendar-year benefit plans, Open Enrollment often takes place over in November. The time is now for HR professionals to get ahead of employee questions with carefully planned communications. For more information on effectively managing Open Enrollment season, contact MedHQ.  

If your company is interested in learning how MedHQ can assist your ASC with HR services, request an evaluation.

From Boss to Coach: Changing the Millennial Conversation | MedHQ

Moving from Boss to Coach: Learn More about Managing Millennials

As social security retirement age is moving to 67 years old, it is becoming commonplace to have three generations of workers in a single surgery center.

The cost of recruiting, training, and hiring employees is substantial, so once you have hired a talented team, it’s important to focus on retention. The management and retention tactics that may have worked well for baby boomers or gen X, need to be revisited for millennials.

Researchers have suggested several reasons as to why millennials leave their job: they find the company purpose lacking, or they feel their development is not supported, or, simply, they feel they want to do something else with their life.

Supervisors need help navigating complex issues and events. Whether they are related to something as technically complex as a return to work/fitness for duty case, or handling tardiness, resolving employee disputes, general day-to-day equal treatment of co-workers, or dozens of other HR-related issues. A supervisor is watched at all times by his or her direct reports. As the baby boomers retire and the millennials become leaders in the workforce, supervisors need to understand how to effectively lead and manage in the years ahead.

The expectations of a large cohort of workers are often very different than the expectations of people of older generations. And leadership – beginning with the first line supervisor – must also be ready to adapt, and will need to know how to manage the expectations of the various age groups.

Leaders must understand how the workforce may be changing, and adapt to meet those needs. For example, changing the conversation…

From Boss to Coach: Changing the Millennial Conversation | MedHQ

Image adapted from

To learn more about how to change the millennial conversation, connect with us.

New Hire | MedHQ

MedHQ Adds Human Resources Director

Caitlin Scarpelli recently joined MedHQ as Director of Human Resources, bringing a progressive track record in the human resources (HR) arena and consulting industry to the growing team of MedHQ consultants.

“We are pleased to add Caitlin to our team and look forward to the significant contributions she’ll make, enhancing our ability to serve our ambulatory surgery center clients with excellence,” said MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs.

A leading provider of human resources, accounting, and back-office administrative services focused specifically on the ASC market, MedHQ helps centers improve revenue, lower costs, and take time-consuming tasks off the plates of administrators, allowing them to focus on the high-value priorities of running and managing surgery centers.

In her new role, Scarpelli will manage the administration of human resources policies, procedures, and programs for MedHQ client organizations. She will work with client leadership teams to leverage best practices and develop HR processes and strategies customized to fit their unique cultures.

Prior to joining MedHQ, Scarpelli was an HR Senior Specialist at Protiviti, a global consulting firm. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, with a double major in Human Resources and Economics from Elmhurst College. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends, being outdoors, and she is also an avid music lover.

Navigating the OR Nursing Shortage | MedHQ

Navigating the OR Nursing Shortage

Our colleagues at Regent Surgical Health recently posted an article featuring CEO Tom Jacobs, and his take on a recent study that predicts a significant shortfall of nursing professionals by 2020. The study, Nursing: Supply and Demand through 2020, reveals that the U.S. economy will create 1.6 million job openings for nurses through 2020. Of the 1.6 million job openings, 700,000 will be newly-created opportunities, while 880,000 will result from retirements. “This shortfall impacts both hospitals and the operating rooms (ORs) of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) all over the country, and is a growing concern for our clients,” notes Jacobs. He offers three strategies for healthcare organizations looking to preempt the problem including paying for relocation expenses and investing in culture.

Interested in reading more?  Click here to read the original article, MedHQ Helps ASCs Navigate Through OR Nursing Shortage, and click here to view the new placement via Regent.

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MedHQ to Host Webinar Highlighting Best Practices for Outsourcing Human Resources

MedHQ, the leading provider of human resources, accounting, and back-office administrative services focused specifically on the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) market, will host a new webinar for ASC administration and operations executives titled, Is It Time to Outsource HR.

The webinar will take place at 12 p.m. CST on Tuesday, August 8.

“This webinar will focus on best practices for the human resources function that enable surgery center leaders to maintain and grow their bottom line,” said MedHQ CEO and Co-Founder Tom Jacobs, who will moderate the broadcast. MedHQ has worked with more than 70 healthcare facility partners to locate savings, improve employee satisfaction, and reduce risk.

Jacobs, a former ASC administrator, will leverage use-cases throughout the webinar to demonstrate the impact of outsourcing HR in minimizing risk, reducing expenses, and improving productivity. He will pinpoint ASC-specific outcomes including:

  • 25% reduction in employee turnover saved 50K
  • 8% increase in productivity generated 109K in savings
  • Reduction in employment risks saved an estimated 85K

“Our goal is to provide ASC leaders with a strategic option for handling the HR function including the conditions and circumstances when outsourcing makes sense and adds value,” said Jacobs. “For healthcare organizations, staying current is incredibly important as dramatic change in the industry impacts a wide range of HR functions, from finances to patient, surgeon and employee satisfaction to the reputation of the entire organization.”

To learn more, and to register for the MedHQ webinar, click here.

Struggling with Physician Credentialing? A New White Paper Addresses Top 4 Challenges

Physician credentialing is one of the most meticulous administrative tasks ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) manage. To help organize the effort, a new MedHQ white paper outlines tips for addressing four challenges associated with this critical element of successful ASC staffing and operation.

“The process of physician credentialing is very exacting work,” says MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs. “Credentialing is a key element of the accountability that comes with a physician’s job and an ASC’s responsibility. Our new white paper leverages our experience to share steps leaders can take to overcome credentialing challenges.”

In her role as HR/Medical Staff Services Consultant, Laura Gifford helps physician organizations nationwide navigate the credentialing process. “Proper credentialing essential to the success of an ASC for a number of reasons,” Gifford says, “but a key consideration is Medicare reimbursement. Credentialing is also a critical element in meeting the reporting, audit, and accreditation requirements of The Joint Commission.”

Based on her experience, Gifford explores the top four challenges inherent in physician credentialing including:

  1. Initial Credentials
    The credentials required for medical staff working at ASCs are subject to the rules of the state in which the center operates, and to those of the accrediting body. For a new physician to begin work at a center, the ASC must collect and monitor the required information for accuracy and completeness.
  2. Peer References
    Given the busy schedules of practicing physicians, securing peer references can be another challenging step in the credentialing process. The process often involves following up with an administrator after the requesting provider’s call, to check on the status and ask them to step in and help, saving the practicing physician from administrative burden beyond making the referral.
  3. Longevity
    If a physician has practiced for many years, simply documenting that extended work history can be a significant challenge, Gifford says. “He or she may have practiced at 10 different hospitals and three other ASCs,” she explains, “and some of those facilities have probably closed their doors over the years, making their history challenging to track.”
  4. Staying Up-to-Date
    To keep an ASC current for Joint Commission Surveys, credentials for each of the center’s practicing physicians must be reevaluated every 1-3 years (timing varies by state.) Gifford recommends ASC administrators responsible for credentialing keep very detailed records along the way. To streamline the process, she suggests assigning an administrative point person who will make tracking and updates a top priority on a weekly basis.

For ASCs, the key to success with the physician credentialing process lies in the diligent surfacing of required details, followed by careful tracking as those details evolve and change. Click here to download the white paper to learn more, or contact MedHQ to schedule a no-obligation credentials audit.

MedHQ Human Resources Tip of the Month: Encouraging an Active Lifestyle

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the warm, sunny weather! In this installment of our monthly blog series, the human resources experts at MedHQ share ideas and best practices for making the most of the season – while encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle.

Whether you need to lose weight, or you want to improve your mood, regular exercise can help. The results are determined by the amount of effort you put in. Engage in activities that you enjoy, and your body will repay you:

  • Healthy heart and lungs
  • Strong bones
  • Flexible, strong muscles and joints
  • Weight loss
  • More energy and endurance

In addition to exercise, it is also important to maintain a healthy weight, and a balanced diet. Simple dietary changes can lead to incredible results. Here are some examples of dietary adjustments:

  • Implement red, dark-green and orange veggies into your diet
  • Cut fat and calories by switching to skim or low-fat dairy
  • Check food labels for added sugars
  • Eat lean-white meat instead of red meat
  • Pay attention to serving sizes
  • Stop eating when satisfied

When you are more active, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel. Aim to slowly add to your workouts so you can better meet your goals. Try these tips to step up your game:

  • Go from brisk walking to jogging
  • Swim or bike faster than your previous workout
  • Add pushups and squats twice a week
  • Walk an extra 15 minutes more per week
  • Mix in new ideas to change it up, such as playing catch, martial arts or gardening

Click here to read the full newsletter which includes an easy-to-read calorie/activity chart that features calories burned during moderate or vigorous physical activity.


MedHQ Attending Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management Execs at Upcoming Becker’s Conference

MedHQ will be among the exhibitors at Becker’s 15th Annual Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference + The Future of Spine, set for June 22-24, 2017 at Swissôtel, Chicago. This exclusive spine, orthopedic and pain management-focused ASC conference brings together surgeons, physician leaders, administrators and ASC business and clinical leaders to discuss how to improve surgery center operations and bottom lines, and how to manage challenging clinical, business, and financial issues.

“This is an important show for our industry and we’re pleased to be participating again this year,” says MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs. “We welcome the opportunity to make new connections and talk to ASC leaders about the issues they’re facing and how we can help.”

MedHQ is the leading provider of HR, accounting, and back-office administrative services focused specifically on the ambulatory surgery center market.

Are you headed to this year’s show? Stop by Booth #47 and say hello to the MedHQ team including Tom Jacobs, Laura Gifford, Cody Connelly, and Dhara Raval.


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