With the start of spring comes a sense of things coming back to life. This year, that is especially true.
Spring 2021 is far different than what we experienced in the Spring of 2020. People are beginning to enjoy the outdoors more. Flowers are blooming and the grass is turning green again.
Many are excited for the major league baseball season to be here too—with fans in the stands. Living in Atlanta, we’ve enjoyed watching the Atlanta Braves over the years.
If you’re a baseball fan, you have likely noticed—while watching your favorite team—that sometimes they just seem to be “in the zone”. Each player is doing their part and the momentum seems to be in their favor. Their bats are hot, they’re scoring runs and the pitcher is throwing strikes.
I remember too, seeing teams win big only to get blown out the next night by their opponent by ten runs. The players are on the field but they don’t seem to be “in the game”. Go figure! It happens, right?
The revenue cycle in healthcare—for both providers and business partners—is similar.
As I have started to get back in front of my peers, clients and prospective clients, it is apparent that this last year has taken its toll on all of us in one way or another. We’ve been forced to make adjustments, both personally and professionally, in how we conduct our lives and businesses.
We’re trying to find our “new normal” but also our stride again. I recall one client saying that they kicked off 2020 with some really strong recovery months, felt good about the way things were going and then in March, COVID hit and everything changed.
They went from feeling like they were in the game to suddenly just being on the field…and having to figure it out along with the rest of us.
Another said they realized, as they started to have employees back in the office a little bit more, how important that face-to-face interaction and camaraderie with co-workers is for people. To some extent, staff had been “in the game” but not “on the field”.
With almost everyone I talked to, everyone said there were some silver linings and blessings in their experiences from the past year. More quality time at home and getting organized at home were just a couple of things that I heard. Parents being there for their kids while learning remotely was somewhat of a blessing too—I think we all have a renewed appreciation for the work that teachers do. They certainly can’t just be on the field. To do their jobs well requires them to have their head in the game.
People are tired. Providers are frustrated. We want to be part of the solution but we can’t get past all the noise. Often what business partners have to say doesn’t always resonate with providers due to other initiatives taking priority or because it just all starts to sound the same.
My focus this past year has been to stay connected and keep a positive attitude while, along with my employer, continuing to try and be part of the solution.
Providers continue to deal with competing priorities as they manage through the pandemic and work to vaccinate their communities and get their organizations stable again and as back to normal as they can. Being part of the solution isn’t necessarily about selling something. Providing valuable social media content and resources to help providers navigate these challenging times can be very valuable. Even if it is just words of encouragement, it can go a long way.
It can also be a way to build trust and help providers better appreciate your values as an organization. I’ve heard it often said that people do business with people they like and can trust.
Should we be focused as much on building trust and making sure our values and objectives align before expecting someone to become a client? Is it just about the next deal?
Are the companies you are partnering with just “on the field” or are they “in the game”?
I like to think it matters.
Bill Eikost, FHFMA has spent the last 30 years helping hospitals identify ways to improve cash flow and accelerate collections from all available sources. He is a Fellow in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and a recent Past President of the Georgia Chapter of HFMA. During his time at Nemadji, he has been an invaluable asset responsible for forging and maintaining long-term client relationships and national accounts, as well as strengthening strategic partnerships.