There was a time when we as clinicians (nurses, nurse practitioners, physician associates and others) were only concerned with our working environment, salary and benefits (after patient care of course). As the healthcare arena changes, the business of healthcare faces it own challenges. It is imperative for clinicians to learn more about the business of healthcare.
1. Any clinician that generates revenue for themselves or someone else is a business. Which of course, that means you. Someone is billing for your services. And guess what…you are responsible for what is billed out in your name, under your provider ID numbers. Fraud is alive and well.
2. Understanding issues around billing and reimbursement; revenue cycles and the difference between gross and net revenues will do nothing if not empower you. Not only that, but it will give you information that will allow you to negotiate employers, third party payers and others with confidence.
3. Ever hear a colleague tell you they are “secure” in their job? Yep, me too. Except there is no such thing as job security. While clinicians are in short supply, there have been plenty of our colleagues that have had a hard time finding any work, let alone their ideal work situations. Business knowledge and skills allow you to take control of the situation.
4. Understand the whole concept of overhead and all that goes into it allows you to make wiser choices in your work environment. As an employee, you’ll become even more value to your employer and as a business owner, you’ll be taking care of the bottom line…without sacrificing quality patient care.
5. Anticipate and prepare are the operative words for clinicians. When you understand healthcare business trends, you’ll be able to respond more quickly to changes, both as an employee and as a business owner.
Could Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher who has been credited with the phrase “The only thing constant in life is change”; have possibly known how far reaching his words were? Certainly he did not anticipate the flux that health care is in today. It’s vital that clinicians have the knowledge and skills that will allow us to remain flexible, up to date, and doing what we love. It is imperative for clinicians to learn more about the business of healthcare.