We finally have made it to the last month of 2020! Every year, I feel as though reaching the end of November is met with excitement signifying the beginning of the Holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (“for the rest of us”) or another holiday, December is a month of celebration leading up to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Celebrating the New Year has always been one of my favorite holidays. I have many fond memories of New Year’s past. I typically spend New Year’s Eve with close friends (who are family) drinking champagne; who could ask for any better way to spend an evening? This year may mean virtually spending the time together, in order to maintain our social distancing and help to flatten the curve. But even celebrating virtually, the New Year allows us to reflect on the year that has passed and dream or anticipate what will face us in the year ahead. To me it is the celebration of what is possible—new opportunities, new goals, going in a new direction, or even continuing your current path but to new heights. I contend that even as we are eager to celebrate turning the calendar to 2021, we must ponder what we have experienced in 2020, both the good and the bad.
They say that we must remember and learn from history so that we are not doomed to repeat it. I think most everyone can agree that the LAST thing that any of us wants to do is to repeat 2020! But, as we begin to navigate 2021 and look forward to putting the year 2020 behind us, I hope we can retain the lessons learned, keep the positives, and move forward with an eye to a more resilient future. We all know that without the rain, we would not appreciate the sunshine. I challenge myself to make a list of the “sunny days” that have happened this past year, particularly those positives coming as a result of a “rainy day” (or deluge). Change can feel devastating. Finding the strength to focus on the positive result is a way to navigate the devastation. I have seen friends and colleagues make figurative lemonade out of lemons. I would go so far as to say that I imagine almost everyone has experienced something positive as a result of our circumstances in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, most of us were unaware of Zoom, Microsoft® Teams, or any of the various virtual platforms. Although I prefer meeting in person, these new technological tools have helped me to work more efficiently. I eliminate travel time driving to different locations for meetings. Yes, I miss the connection with colleagues and the “meeting before the meeting” (or after the meeting) opportunities, but you have to admit that your work can be accomplished more efficiently. Without the catalyst of the pandemic, do you think we would be meeting virtually to the extent we are now? Telehealth visits—how many of us would have considered these as an alternative? It is amazing what we can do and achieve when our hand is forced. Operation Warp Speed is a perfect example of what we can do when we must. With all entities working together toward one goal we are on the threshold of not just one but two vaccines to treat Covid-19 before the end of the year! Ten months ago, who among us would have thought that possible? How is that for a positive?
As we wave goodbye to 2020 and look forward to 2021, let’s not forget the lessons learned, but use those experiences to forge ahead with promise to a new and improved 2021. Let 2020 be the “rain” we have experienced in order to enjoy the “sunshine” we expect in 2021—and don’t forget to look for rainbows. Whether you celebrate, Christmas, Hanukkah or Fesitvus (we all have many grievances to air), I wish you a happier, healthier and resilient 2021!
Traci Evans, FACMPE
Pennsylvania MGMA, President
By: George Hlavac, Esq.
We all know that it’s coming, and there is nothing that we can do to stop it. January 1. New Year’s Day. A time to reflect. A time to turn our attention to making “changes” that we know we need to make. New Year’s resolutions: Eat better, exercise more, and unplug from the Matrix! Easy to say, but often difficult to do. Like Jerry Seinfeld once said, “You know how to take the reservation, but you don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that really is the most important part of the reservation!”
Train your employees. I don’t mean train them with respect to how to do their jobs. I mean train them in the critical areas of employment law. When is the last time that you conducted harassment training for your employees? In light of the #MeToo movement, harassment training is necessary to protect yourself from potential liability. The only way to establish the affirmative defense to harassment liability is to show that you did two things: (1) took reasonable steps to prevent harassment in the workplace; and (2) took prompt and appropriate corrective action once you had knowledge of the harassment complaint.
About the Author
George Hlavac, Esq.
George received his law degree with honors in 1994 from George
Washington University’s National Law Center, where he was a member of
the University Law Review. He is also a Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude
graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, where he achieved
All-American honors as a member of the football team.
By: Bruce Nelson
Increasing profitability through the integration of people, process and technology has been our focus for more the 20 years. It’s on our website and every piece of literature we’ve produced and distributed in the last two decades. So how is this relevant to your organization or cybersecurity?
The key component of the statement is the order of priority: people, process, and technology. This mindset and approach have driven how we work with clients to solve problems and is particularly important when addressing today’s cybersecurity threats.
So where do I start? The first step in the journey is understanding and maybe creating a Culture of Cybersecurity. Culture of Cybersecurity refers to the knowledge, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, assumptions norms and values of people regarding cybersecurity and how they manifest in people’s behaviors with information technology. Understanding this culture from the executive level to the intern is critical in defining your approach to cybersecurity.
If you have implemented technology and have been disappointed in the results, I would encourage you to take a step back and evaluate the decision-making process. Were features, functions and technologies at the front of the decision-making process? The answer to this question in many cases is yes and leads to failed implementation and frustration. Include users and administrators in the evaluations at the beginning to help understand the challenges they face, risks they may unknowingly present and outcomes they expected. This will reinforce a strong Culture of Cybersecurity and ultimately improve your organizations’ security profile.
About the Author
Bruce has over 20 years of financial, accounting, consulting, and management experience in both public accounting and private industry. As a consultant and manager with Vertical Solutions, Bruce has been involved in the planning, implementation, and support of hundreds of technology related projects for small and midsized practices throughout the country.
Bruce holds both a BS in Accounting from Duquesne University and a M.S. in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University.
By: Sherry Jordan
Business value is a term that can be used to measure and define the overall health and well-being of your practice. Much like you provide check-ups to your patients, your business value needs a check-up from time to time too. Especially during a global pandemic, which has impacted the medical profession in unprecedented ways, having a pulse on the value of your practice is more important than ever.
Using this data, you can calculate the cost to provide each service. Identifying 5-10 metrics that apply to your practice, such as those listed above, and monitoring these metrics on a weekly basis, should enhance your utilization of staff, equipment, and office hours. A common follow-up to the implementation of an activity-based costing system is that once you have identified key metrics, you then need to determine if the costs associated with these metrics make some tasks attractive as outsourced activities. Certain back-end business functions, such as revenue cycle management for example, may be better managed through outsourcing to a third-party expert. Reducing your practices FTE (full-time equivalent) spending for back-end business functions frees up not only capital but also makes the non-clinical office space available for clinical services. In other words, this office space can be redeployed to support revenue generation, bringing you full circle back to the revenue side of the practice value equation.
About the Author
Sherry Jordan is the CEO/Founder of Jordan Financial Consulting & Coaching, LLC, based in Hummelstown, PA. Ms. Jordan has been providing public accounting services for twenty-five years. In addition to holding her Certified Public Accountant license, Ms. Jordan is a Certified Valuation Analyst and is additionally Certified in Financial Forensics and Professional Mediation.