Insurance Questions Abound post-Election

As the dust settles after the 2016 presidential election, many questions remain unanswered related to the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, and MedHQ’s seasoned human resources professionals continue to take the pulse of ambulatory surgery center (ASC) employee health insurance.

Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare. And in fact Republicans from both houses of Congress were able to come together and approve a repeal of key provisions of PPACA, thereby demonstrating that PPACA “repeal” may indeed be possible. So while Congress and the executive branches of government now appear aligned on a repeal and replace goal, it is yet unclear the precise form of legislation will ultimately pass congress and be signed into law by the president. As details unfold, we can try and read the tea leaves and predict what may happen. At this point it appears that the ultimate solution includes a strengthening or at least continuation of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Whatever happens, the fact remains that healthcare costs are on an upward climb, with the Department of Health and Human Services reporting in July 2016 that Americans could pay over $10,000 per person for the first time.

“Understandably, the lack of clarity has left ambulatory surgery center (ASC) employees wondering exactly what repeal and replace means,” said MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs. “And as healthcare expenses continue to rise, employees rightfully want to know, ‘how will I be impacted?’”

Jacobs weighs in and provides insights and answers to some of the most commonly asked questions that ASC management may need to field from employees.

  1. Will my costs and out-of-pocket expenses continue to increase? Premiums have skyrocketed due to PPACA mandated coverage requirements, particularly those for individuals and small groups. Jacobs said some of the coverage requirements could be undone under the new administration, which could slow the growth in premium rates. “Undoing some of the PPACA mandates could reduce pressure on rising premiums cost, and HSAs could be a great option,” he noted.
  2. Will my insurance plan include my doctor? “This is an important consideration for everyone,” noted Jacobs, “but one of the ways the market is responding to rising costs is by narrowing providers and contracting with lower cost providers. The ability to choose a preferred provider may still be possible, but it may come at an increased cost.”
  3. What will happen with Health Savings Accounts? President-elect Trump has stated he wants to make it easier to pass HSAs to heirs, and House Republicans want a two-fold increase in contribution limits. As of June 30, 2016, Americans had opened 18.2 million HSAs, which is a 25% increase from a year earlier, according toDevenir, an independent advisor and consultant in the health savings account industry. Additionally, assets had grown to an estimated $34.7 billion by June, up 22% over the previous year. “Participation in HSAs is growing and, as it stands to date, it appears that HSA plans will be encouraged, not discouraged,” Jacobs advised.
  4. Will employers and health plans continue to innovate and add any new features, and will they work? “We field a lot of questions about the benefits of adding options to health plans such as telemedicine and access to retail (walk-in) clinics,” said Jacobs. He is hopeful that lessening of the regulatory environment will enable the market to provide more consumer-friendly services. “In the very first month we offered a telemedicine option, the number of claims avoided for people who accessed the telemedicine service offset entirely the cost of the telemedicine plan to the employer,” he said.
  5. Will my employer establish a wellness program? According to the Society for Human Resources Management, in 2015, 80% of employers offered preventative wellness services and information. “This trend appears to have staying power,” noted Jacobs. “If employers elect to offer a wellness program, we recommend a tangible, results-driven program that supports the company culture. Enhancing productivity is key but ultimately, the goal is utilizing the program to decrease healthcare costs.”

To learn more about how MedHQ can improve your ASC’s operations and act as a liaison for all employee health insurance inquiries, email Tom Jacobs today or call: 708-492-0519.

10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources: Outsource Prep Work For Open Enrollment

As ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) turn over every stone to find the efficiencies that will help them stay competitive in a changing marketplace, looking hard at HR practices is an excellent place to find savings.

 

One of the simplest ways for an ASC HR department to save money is to outsource the work that is necessary to prepare for the employee benefits open enrollment period. Administering an open enrollment period can take weeks of preparation, costing the department 40-80 hours of productivity.

 

MedHQ has worked with over 70 healthcare facility partners to find HR savings that also deliver the benefits of improving employee satisfaction and reducing risk.  Through the process, MedHQ gleaned a host of key findings that guided the creation of the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit (10-Point HR Audit). The 10-Point HR Audit identifies inefficiencies that, when addressed, can result in six-figure savings for a healthcare facility.

 

Productivity lost on open enrollment preparation and administration can be even higher for surgery centers with more employees and high turnover. More efficient open enrollment preparation, combined with outsourcing the time it takes to evaluate and decide upon benefits renewal, has a pair of advantages:

 

  1. Outsourcing open enrollment work can save a center up to $10,000each year
  2. And, it allowscenter management to stay focused on high-value priorities

 

Click here to download the MedHQ white paper, “10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources.”

 

About the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit
It takes approximately one or two hours for back office staff to gather the information necessary for the 10-Point HR audit. Typical savings = six figures. Request your risk-free 10-Point HR Audit today. If MedHQ fails to identify $25,000 in savings, the audit is free.

10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources: Maintaining a Strong Company Culture Can Save Thousands of Dollars

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) must be able to operate at maximum efficiency.

Falling reimbursements and more competition for patient volume have squeezed revenue, and proactive centers must find ways to save money. One way to accomplish that is to keep HR costs in line.

MedHQ has worked with over 70 healthcare facility partners to find HR savings that also deliver the benefits of improving employee satisfaction and reducing risk.  Through the process, MedHQ gleaned a host of key findings that guided the creation of the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit (10-Point HR Audit). The 10-Point HR Audit identifies inefficiencies that, when addressed, can result in six-figure savings for a healthcare facility.

One way ASCs can save money and keep employees happy is by maintaining a strong company culture. A strong company culture attracts and retains good employees.

“Centers will foster a stronger culture by recruiting a group of 20 – 40 people who have similar values rather than a group with varying values,” said MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs. “A strong company culture accompanied by good HR practices, good compensation plans, and good benefits work together to reduce employee turnover.”

An HR partner like MedHQ can perform a trio of duties to help ASC HR departments build stronger cultures.

  1. Help surgery centersdefine their culture and leverage it when hiring top talent
  2. Conduct behavioral interviewing and organizinga peer-reviewed recruiting process
  3. Identify employeeswho are a good fit not only for a particular job but for the company culture

Reducing turnover by one full-time employee translates to $10,000 – $12,000 in savings related to replacement costs. If a center has a 30% annual turnover rate and 30 employees, that’s nine people per year. If the center can cut that rate in half, that equals considerable savings, both in terms of employee recruiting and training.

Click here to download the MedHQ white paper, “10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources.”

About the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit
It takes approximately one or two hours for back office staff to gather the information necessary for the 10-Point HR audit. Typical savings = six figures. Request your risk-free 10-Point HR Audit today. If MedHQ fails to identify $25,000 in savings, the audit is free.

10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources: Controlling Compensation Costs Helps ASCs Compete

One way an ASC’s HR department can help a center operate more efficiently in a competitive marketplace is to cut down on costs by utilizing fair compensation programs that will draw desirable and qualified employees. This strategy will also cut down on costly high turnover rates, which can force surgery center management to be in perpetual hiring mode.

 

MedHQ has worked with over 70 healthcare facility partners to find HR savings that also deliver the benefits of improving employee satisfaction and reducing risk.  Through the process, MedHQ gleaned a host of key findings that guided the creation of the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit (10-Point HR Audit). The 10-Point HR Audit identifies inefficiencies that, when addressed, can result in six-figure savings for a healthcare facility.

 

To find compensation savings, MedHQ developed and utilizes a 100-question job analysis guide to understand how much a job is ‘worth’ relative to other jobs. Each job is scored and compared to ASC association data to determine pay. When employees understand the thoughtful, fair process, they are more satisfied and turnover is less likely. Two benefits are:

 

  1. Centers can save $10,000- 12,000 per person by minimizing unwanted turnover
  2. Centers can also save on related replacement costs including advertising,hiring temporary and permanent placement agencies, as well as onboarding new employees.

 

“A good process is to score each job well and then use data from credible sources such as the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association regarding the average pay for specific positions, keeping in mind the same job may be weighted differently at different centers,” said Tom Jacobs, MedHQ CEO. “MedHQ uses the data as a starting point, then takes into account information gleaned from the 100-question job analysis guide to structure compensation guidelines for each surgery center.”

 

Click here to download the MedHQ white paper, “10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources.”

Managing Worker’s Compensation Insurance Can Save Your Center Money

10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources: Managing worker’s compensation insurance can save your center money

 

Nosediving reimbursements and increasing competition for patient volume have squeezed revenue, and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are constantly on the lookout for ways to streamline efficiency and save money.  One rich source of savings is proper management of worker’s compensation insurance.MedHQ has worked with over 70 healthcare facility partners to find savings that also deliver the benefits of improving employee satisfaction and reducing risk.  Through the process, MedHQ gleaned a host of key findings that guided the creation of the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit (10-Point HR Audit). The 10-Point HR Audit identifies inefficiencies that, when addressed, can result in six-figure savings for a healthcare facility.

 

When it comes to keeping worker’s compensation insurance premiums in check, analysis of claims over the past five years shows the cost of claims generally follows the 80/20 rule. An average surgery center may have one worker’s compensation claim per year, and about 20% of the time, that claim will materially impact the worker’s compensation insurance premium.

 

A MedHQ Worker’s Compensation Claim Analysis from 2010-2015 found that, when broken down:

  • 80% of claims cost $0 – $5,000
  • 10% of claims cost $5,000 to $25,000
  • 5% of claims cost $25,000 to $75,00
  • 5% of claims cost more than $75,000 (and potentially $350,000 or more

 

For a $1,000,000 payroll, the insurance premium can range from $3,000 – $25,000. So the goal should be to keep it on the lower end of this range, promoting workplace safety to reduce the risk for potential accidents will save a center money.

 

“Keep an eye on worker’s compensation insurance to make sure it is managed well, and give the proper attention to claims that are red flags,” said Tom Jacobs, MedHQ CEO. “Typical big claims resulting from slips and falls or back injuries from lifting can really impact insurance. It’s burdensome to manage the situation, and then centers are left with an employee who can’t be productive.”

 

Click here to download the MedHQ white paper, “10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources.”

 

About the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit
It takes approximately one or two hours for back office staff to gather the information necessary for the 10-Point HR audit. Typical savings = six figures. Request your risk-free 10-Point HR Audit today. If MedHQ fails to identify $25,000 in savings, the audit is free.

MedHQ Assists Partners with New Federal Overtime Rule

A new Department of Labor overtime rule could go into effect as soon as Dec. 1, 2016, and MedHQ can guide your surgery center through the rule change, ensuring you are informed and well prepared.

The new rule will require employers to pay overtime to salaried employees making less than $47,476 per year, and will extend overtime pay protection to over 4 million workers across the country. Even though the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would postpone the Dec. 1 effective date, and Senate action is pending, ASCs must be prepared.

For the most part, ASCs employ hourly workers. But there are exceptions. “Any time the Department of Labor issues a new rule, there are various moving parts, and it is critical that our partner ASCs are kept abreast of the ins and outs,” said Tom Jacobs, MedHQ CEO. “And our full HR team will work around the clock to make sure your center is compliant; that way, you can focus on what’s most important: caring for patients.”

From the time the new rule was a possibility, MedHQ showed laser-like focus in preparing its partner centers. The company identified salaried employees who could be impacted for the ASCs, and if the salary was below the new rule’s threshold, MedHQ mapped out a case-by-case strategy for its partner centers.

Strategies can vary from center to center, as there can be exceptions, and each situation must be handled appropriately. For example, employees working in sales may have a low base salary that falls under the new federal threshold; but, their variable pay might be quite high, depending on sales numbers, meaning they are not eligible for the new overtime rule. “These are the kind of unique employment situations that must be analyzed and handled with care,” said Jacobs. “And this is precisely what MedHQ provides: top-level analysis and personal touch.”

To learn more about how MedHQ can improve your ASC’s operations, reduce costs and reduce employer risk, email Tom Jacobs today, or call: 708-492-0519.

There’s Still Time to Evaluate Health Plans

The calendar is moving quickly toward 2017, and we are entering that time of year where you are going to be pulled in all directions with critical end-of-year matters including evaluating health plans and perhaps even looking at new vendor proposals.

These important decisions can positively (or negatively) impact your center’s bottom line.

MedHQ has developed a short quiz that will tell you whether evaluating your health plan needs to be a priority for your center.

mhq-2017healthplans-0916-02

If you’ve answered yes to the majority of these questions, there’s no need to spend the month of November on your health benefits plan. But if most of your answers were no, we can help you find a better solution. And here’s the good news – there’s still time.

We move quickly to help surgery centers evaluate and make decisions regarding health plans that not only save money but also attract and retain employees in a candidate-driven market.

Email, fill out the form below, or call today: 708-492-0519. CEO and Co-Founder Tom Jacobs works daily with ASC leadership to improve operations, reduce costs and reduce their employer risk.

To learn more, download our recent white paper, “10 Ways Surgery Centers are Wasting Money in Human Resources.”

 



MedHQ to Address Strategies to Eliminate High-Risk Employee Behavior at 2016 NY Metro ASC Symposium

MedHQ is proud to have been selected to participate in the third annual New York Metro ASC Symposium.

Tom Jacobs, CEO at MedHQ, and John Merski, Jr., Executive Director of Human Resources at MedHQ, will speak at the Symposium about a timely human resources issue faced by ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) around the country: managing high-risk employee behavior. The top employee discipline problems not only cost ASCs thousands of dollars annually, but these issues can hurt the organization as a whole.

“The consequences of negative employee issues can expose your facility to millions of dollars in financial liabilities,” said Jacobs. “Unmanaged employee issues permeate throughout the entire organization, and can trickle down and impact patient and physician satisfaction.”

MedHQ specializes in the efficient management of human resources for surgery centers and physician offices. Its expertise and automation software help ASCs improve employee performance, including employee discipline and risk management which is directly tied to hundreds of thousands of dollars of operating income.

The Symposium takes place Sept. 14 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Attendees can sit in on a variety of sessions, featuring 250 experts including physicians, ASC developers, financers, health care executives and clinical representatives.

Contact MedHQ for a complimentary compensation or employee risk assessment.

Download MedHQ’s employee discipline-focused white paper, “Solving the Top ASC Employee Discipline Problems.” Also, download the white paper “10 Ways Surgery Centers are Wasting Money in Human Resources.”

Gaining a Competitive Advantage with HR Outsourcing

Today’s healthcare decision makers are navigating unparalleled uncertainty – both inside and outside of the workplace.

According to a 2014 Aon Hewitt survey, retaining top talent, developing leaders and addressing the issues inherent to an aging workforce are among the top concerns of human resources leaders.  Exterior factors also weigh heavily: roughly half of the survey respondents cited unpredictable healthcare costs and government regulation as sources of consternation.

Outsourced human resources solutions are one way both small and mid-sized healthcare providers are meeting the challenges of this fast-changing landscape. By single sourcing HR functions through one provider, ambulatory surgery centers and other outpatient facilities can focus their energies on what they do best: treating patients. At the same time, HR outsourcing provides ASCs with economies of scale and access to critical resources necessary for running a successful outpatient facility today, including:

Information technology

Managing an ASC’s human capital starts with the right use of information technology. Coupled with the right HR platform, payroll and time attendance systems can help manage all of a company’s employee data, eliminating the need to develop and maintain spreadsheets – and, frequently, saving a facility considerable time and money.

Benefits

It’s no secret that attracting the best talent is challenging without a competitive benefits package. But close behind after such large ticket items as salaries, medical supplies and rent, employee benefits are typically the next biggest business expense companies face. Benefits also can fluctuate dramatically in price from year-to-year, adding to unpredictability and budget woes.

HR outsourcing offers an opportunity for ASCs to gain a competitive advantage in talent recruitment and retention. By providing a one-stop-shop for benefit procurement and administration, ASCs can have access to employee benefits packages typically only offered at the largest corporations, making it easier to hire – and keep – the best recruits.

Staffing and employee relations

The price tag for high turnover at an ASC is often underestimated. Replacing an existing employee can cost as much as 50 percent of that person’s salary. For facilities with annual double-digit turnover, it often can be the difference between being profitable or not.

Numerous factors go into developing a great organization. Many HR professionals are experts at incorporating the right technology, recruitment and hiring best practices. Other HR professionals know how to deliver the best training opportunities, resolve employee disputes and manage the legal risks and complexities that go hand-in-hand with being an employer.  Single-sourced HR solutions can help ASCs optimize these areas, thereby reducing unwanted turnover and improve their bottom lines.

Benchmarking and Big Data

Benchmarking allows an ASC administrator to see how a facility’s labor costs, as well as virtually any key performance indicator, match up to similar ASCs in the area or around the country. Outsourcing to an expert HR solutions provider also provides access to best-in-class knowledge databases, which can be analyzed for accurate local compensation data. By comparing your employees’ compensation to the local market, and even being able to drill down into salary data by ZIP code, individual job titles and a variety of other factors, employers are able to determine the most competitive salary range for each and every position at an ASC.

Salaries are just one area where Big Data gives ASCs an edge. Taking a holistic view of data – and the myriad ways it can help a business — allows facilities to make educated, data-informed decisions and ultimately operate more efficiently in every aspect of their business.

For more information about how HR outsourcing can help your ASC, please contact Jay Petrick at jpetrick@medhq.net or Tom Jacobs at tjacobs@medhq.net.

Workplace Injury: Safe Practices and OSHA Compliance

By Chris Schukies, HR Services Client Representative

Ambulatory surgery centers are home to both dangerous equipment and imperfect humans. ASC workplace injuries manifest themselves in many forms, including falls, misuse of equipment, or, most commonly, needle sticks. So how does your ASC ensure OSHA compliance when these scenarios inevitably arise? Follow these four steps to protect your workers and smoothly handle workplace injuries:
File an Occurrence Report
A supervisor must be notified immediately after any workplace injury occurs. Once the supervisor is made aware of the situation, an occurrence report must be filed that includes the basic logistics and details of the incident–the who, what, where, when, why and how.
Obtain Medical Clearance
If necessary, the employee should seek medical attention regarding his/her injury. The doctor should inform the worker’s supervisor of his/her work status to affirm whether he/she may return to work or requires further time to recover. The doctor must then send a note to the supervisor to document this encounter.
Notify HR
After receiving the previously documented information from the workplace supervisor, the human resources staff may ask further questions to complete an additional worker’s compensation form. This form will also clarify HR-related material, such as the employee’s title, salary, etc. Once completed, HR staff will notify the company handling worker’s compensation to file the first report of injury.
File an OSHA 300 Form
After filing the incident under worker’s compensation, an OSHA 300 must be completed and filed. This form, which classifies worker-related injuries and illnesses, is required to evaluate workplace safety and, more broadly, potential industry hazards.
For more information on workplace injury and OSHA Compliance, please contact info@medhq.net.

1 2 3