You Can't Afford Not to Invest in Yourself
Hi, everybody. In today’s podcast, we’re going to talk about how not investing in your professional development can hurt your career and how you can constantly improve your knowledge and skills as a practice manager. But first, Welcome to the Revenue Cycle Decoded Podcast. My name is Gena Cornett and I help medical practice managers like you get the revenue cycle edge in your practice. I am passionate about helping you learn the skills you need to be a revenue cycle hero, advance your career, and improve your financial results. [Opening music]
Let’s talk about continuing education and learning in this field. It’s important for anyone to continually learn and improve but it’s even more important in the healthcare space. A mistake you can make which will hold you back in your career and keep you from the success you could achieve is believing that it’s too expensive to invest in your professional development. Healthcare moves fast and compliance and regulations, billing and coding, reimbursement and payor policies are updated and changed all the time. It is a constantly evolving world, and if you’re not evolving with it, you will get left behind. The people who move up the career ladder are those who prove their value because they learn and develop and invest in themselves and their professional knowledge. There’s a reason highly successful practice administrators and healthcare executives join professional organizations, take courses, earn certificates and advanced degrees – they know that knowledge is power and every bit of knowledge and experience they gain gives them an extra edge on their career path over someone who is complacent, doesn’t improve, doesn’t update, and is willing to just settle where they are or who thinks they already know it all.
Being willing to be a lifelong learner and investing in your own professional development proves to your organization that you are coachable, that you have a growth mindset, and that you are going to bring your best game to the needs and challenges the organization faces. And you are opening up doors to advancement in your current organization and in future roles.
Many organizations are willing to join you in this investment in yourself, either through n-house training, tuition reimbursement, or paying for your continuing education. Explore opportunities through your supervisor and your companies' human resources department. But even if your organization doesn't currently provide financial assistance, it’s still important for you to invest in yourself, either in time or dollars or both. If money is an issue, there are many low cost and even free opportunities for professional development, and even more expensive offerings can often be financed or put on a payment plan. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Let’s talk about some of the opportunities to continue your education in healthcare practice management and, of course, my favorite, revenue cycle. One of those opportunities is formal education. When I began my career in healthcare many moons ago, it was as a pediatric nurse with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. After a detour to the mommy track that led to my nursing skills becoming rusty, I decided that the best way to re-enter the workforce and advance my career would be through healthcare management, so I went back to college for a master’s degree in business administration and I specialized in health organization management with an emphasis in medical group management. You may have come into practice management from a similar clinical background. Or you may have worked your way up in the medical office to a practice manager position. If that’s the case, a degree in healthcare administration can help to fill in the gaps between your clinical experience or hands-on experience, and the tools and skills you need to excel in managing the medical practice. Likewise, many physicians choose to obtain advanced degrees in practice management to understand and participate in the strategic direction and administration of their practice. I went to school with many physicians who were in the same master's degree program that I was in. If you’ve obtained an associates or a bachelor’s degree in management, a master’s degree can take you to the next level in your knowledge and demonstrate a commitment to continue growth in your career. I can honestly say I would not be where I am in my career today if I had not obtained my master’s degree. It gave me the tools and the skills that I needed and the knowledge to move forward in my career.
Even if a degree program is not practical for you, many colleges and universities offer certificate programs in practice management or they offer the education needed to site for a certification exam with one of the many organizations that offer certificate programs.
If you already have an advanced degree, or it’s not the right time to go back to school, there are many other opportunities for professional development and education in the field. Professional organizations such as MGMA, HFMA, AAPC, PAHCOM and others offer certifications either as part of the membership or as a separate offering. In most cases, you will need to complete required courses and take a rigorous exam and then you will be responsible to complete a specified number of CEUs to maintain certification. Some organizations have a working experience requirement as well to pass the certification. These can be great options to level up your knowledge and skills without the cost of an advanced degree. Different certifications and organizations are more applicable for different types of practices. For example, MGMA’s certification is especially applicable for practice managers of group practices. An additional benefit to professional organization membership is the opportunity to meet regularly in chapter meetings to build professional networks and participate in additional education or in chapter leadership. Most professional organizations also offer annual national or regional meetings with educational offerings where you can obtain CEUs when you attend.
Some non-professional organizations also offer certifications, for example the Certified Medical Office Manager program. Look for certifications that have good acceptance in the industry and that will provide the knowledge and skills that are applicable to your career.
If you have obtained a practice manager certification, you will likely need to obtain CEUs to maintain your status. There are both paid and free CEUs. For example, as part of the AAPC membership, the Healthcare Business monthly publication offers a free CEU when you complete a test on the information in the publication. Many other organizations offer free or low cost CEUs, or you may obtain CEUs through organization chapter meetings or through employer offerings.
Even if you don’t intend or aren’t able to advance your degree or obtain a certification, you can still be in learning mode. You can attend regional or national professional organization meetings as a non-member; you can seek out publications on the web such as Physicians Practice or RevCycleIntelligence. You can peruse payor and government sites which often provide free educational offerings. Examples include MLN Web-Based Training and Medicare Administrative Contractor training such as NGS Medicare University.
In other words, there are opportunities to advance your knowledge and skills all around you. I try to make it a priority to learn something new each week, and I encourage you to set aside time each week for your own professional development and growth. This has been so important in my career. It's allowed me to advance from Revenue Cycle Manager to a Director of Revenue Cycle Management, and originally from Practice Manager to Revenue Cycle Manager. But I continue to remain involved in learning and growing my knowledge about practice management as well because it interfaces with revenue cycle in so many ways.
To help you identify opportunities, I have put together a list of education resources for you. You can access it at revenuecycledecoded.com/education - just put in your email address and you’ll get instant access to the download.
I leave you with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” I would love to know how continuing professional development has benefitted your career. If you would like to comment, I will put links to my Facebook and LinkedIn groups in the show notes.
I also want to you invite you to my weekly webinar “Revenue Cycle 101 for the Medical Practice Manager” where we walk through the steps of the revenue cycle, talk about what can go wrong at each step, and I give you some practical actions you can take to improve your cash flow, days in A/R, and profitability. The webinar is held every Wednesday from 12 pm to 1 p.m. Eastern time, it’s a Lunch and Learn, or maybe Breakfast and Learn if you are on the West coast or mountain time. It’s a great webinar and I’m certain you will find it valuable. You can go to Revenuecycledecoded.com and find the link to sign up.
With that, I want to thank you for joining me on today’s podcast. I look forward to serving you on future podcasts. Until next time, make every day count!
LinkedIn: Revenue Cycle for Medical Practice Managers