Clinic finances move back into the black thanks to PTN participation

“It was incredible,” said Mary Barrett, office manager of her husband’s family practice in Neodesha, Kansas. After less than three months of work with the Kansas Practice Transition Network (PTN), she has made adjustments that “have been a game changer” in Dr. Bradley Barrett’s clinic.

Kansas PTN Quality Improvement Advisor Jill Daughhetee first met Mary in January and together they performed a Baseline Practice Assessment. “Jill analyzed our strengths and weakness,” Mary said, and candidly added, “we have some weaknesses.” With this list, they got started.

Most significantly, Jill provided Mary with physician’s fee references, so the Barretts could analyze the fees they were charging. “The practice was becoming non-viable,” Mary said, until Jill helped them see that they were being reimbursed at well below going rates.  Raising their fees meant that they are now receiving 100 percent reimbursement for their services.  The practice is financially solvent again and there are funds to address some of the other “weaknesses” such as badly needed new carpeting and other building improvements.

Mary and her husband, Brad, started the clinic in 1986, choosing Neodesha because they wanted to raise their kids in a small town that was safe and pleasant. Along with Dr. Barrett, the clinic has a Nurse Practitioner and Dr. Barrett is one of four doctors at Wilson Medical Center who specialize in Family Medicine.

Along with resolving cash flow issues, Mary said Jill has shown her a lot of little areas where they can be more efficient. For instance, Jill provided job descriptions and accessed the workflow.  “I was at the point where I wanted to quit my job, it was so overwhelming,” Mary said.  They found that the process on referrals for two different physicians was handled in two different ways, and Mary hadn’t been following up as quickly on one because they were in different files.

Jill, too, has been excited at the quick results. “After the first visit, I went back and she’d made notes and was already implementing those suggestions.  If Mary has a direction to go to make improvements, then she just zooms.”  Jill said, “In a few weeks’ time they were already seeing great results in their bottom line.”

“Jill has been wonderful,” Mary said. “She has been helping us chose the areas where we need the most improvement. We’re moving forward every month.  She gives me an assignment; she breaks it down into manageable chunks,” and then, according to Jill, Mary gets it done.

Some of the changes that came from working with Jill were a little more light-hearted, aimed at increasing staff enjoyment at work. Jill said, “Joy in the workplace is something I work on with each clinic, because it pays off in employee satisfaction and less turnover.” 

Mary said, “Jill suggested we plan some positive activities and we now have a Christmas program and Casual Day.”

“Jill has great people skills,” said Mary. “I personally like her a lot. She connects well with people and I would hire her in a flash.” Instead, the Barretts are able to benefit from the services Jill brings at no charge through the Kansas PTN.  That means their family practice clinic has a stable future in Neodesha and their patients are benefitting from quality care and a practice that just keeps improving.

by Toni Dixon
(posted May 2017)