Social Comatose? Time for Sleeping Leaders to Awake!

(This post is the 2nd in a five part series about participation in the world of Social Media)

Any leader who hasn’t embraced the social web by now must be near retirement or in a coma.

Either that, or they’re in China.

I don’t have a problem with 90 year old retirees ignoring Social Media.  However, the rest of us will have to learn to live in a world that gets its news and information from the internet and the millions of blogs, tweets, updates, and posts that are shared each day.  They are the mail, magazines, and conferences of a new age.

The rise of Social Media cannot be ignored.

Last year I volunteered to form the social media program for a large healthcare association. The goal was to engage the membership, improve communication, spark collaboration, and let non-members know what they were missing.

As part of the plan we began discussing upcoming conferences, sharing pictures, and sharing ideas and best practices.  All good things.

However, there is always someone who doesn’t get it.

The CFO of a large healthcare system informed me that he was irritated about this change.  His entire group of employees (thousands of people) was not able to access the association’s information on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter, but then he eagerly defended his policy of blocking all social media sites.  He didn’t want his employees wasting time.

He didn’t get it.

In reality, what he must have not wanted was informed employees, cutting edge information, reduced consulting costs, and free advertising or recruiting.  He was too afraid of letting go.

It looks like he’s in good company.

According to the the annual PwC CEO survey, only 57% of  CEOs indicate they will not “significantly change” their strategies to meet new realities of social media usage by their customers.  Even more disturbing, 10% of marketing leaders (the most educated on this topic) still indicate that social media is not important to their company.

They’re sleeping and won’t see the iceberg ahead!

Of the four types of participation on the social web, acting like you’re in a coma is the only one that I believe is wrong.

Here’s why:

So much information is available on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to help organizations be quicker, smarter, and faster.  Ignoring this information amounts to leadership malpractice.  Using healthcare as an example, just look at these Social Media tools that are available for:

No matter what industry you work in, there are similar resources.  If you know someone who is asleep at the wheel of a department, division, or organization, it’s time to wake them up.

The world has changed.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Facebook for Healthcare 101

For the sake of keeping this short enough, I’m going to assume that you’ve registered on facebook.com and have gone through their quick setup process.  For help getting started, follow facebook’s recommended setup steps and check out this 8 minute guide for new facebook users.

Congratulations, you are now part of the largest social network in the world!

Here’s some basic info about the human network you’ve just joined:

  • Earlier this year, it was named #1 most visited website in the US (more than Google)
  • Every month 30,000,000,000 pieces of information (links, pictures, videos, etc.) are shared by its 500+ million users
  • People spend 700,000,000,000 minutes per month on facebook

That’s a lot of zeros! 

During the sign-up process, you should have gone through facebook’s step by step guide to setup your profile and find your friends.  Don’t worry if you don’t have many friends on facebook right away.  Believe me, they will come.  (An 80+ year-old relative of mine signed up a couple months ago and has at least 20 friends now on facebook) 

Now let’s bring the professional side into it.  I truly believe that facebook has the potential be a major force in supporting healthcare professionals to reduce burnout, share best practices, and get quick answers to issues.  Using facebook as a tool, communities have formed to provide peer support and helpful Q&A.

Here are some of my personal favorite facebook communities:

Specifically, notice how the first two groups have a lot of people answering the questions of their group members on their “Wall” tab.  I would recommend using the search box on the top of the facebook screen to find other associations that you are a member of offline. 

Next step?  Jump in!  Comment.  Post questions.  Help others.  These communities are built on us, and they are at their best when you and I are sharing.

Have questions about facebook?  Post questions you might have in the comment box below and I’ll see if I can help.

Thank You for Your Sacrifice!

Getting called in at 3:00 AM for an emergency…working double shifts when the unit is short…verbal and physical abuse from ungrateful patients…pushing yourself further and further…and further yet. 

For what?

Outsiders would say that it’s for the money, but I find that amusing.  If someone is smart enough to go through all the years of school (and get into that particular school in the first place), they are smart enough to get a very well-paying job that doesn’t have people suing them, barking at them, waking them up, or exhausting them for their entire career.  On top of that, when you take out student loan interest, taxes, and malpractice insurance, the outside world looks even better.

That’s why I believe it is a sacrifice. 

But it’s not just physicians, nurses, or other clinical people.  It’s many others in our industry, as well. 

I know CFO’s and CEO’s working till 9pm regularly to make building projects happen.  I know surgeons that leave home for the OR around 4 AM many days, get home at 6 PM, and then get called back later that day when they’re on call.  Not just for a week, but for a career. 

I know nurses covering double the normal patient loan when the unit is short, and it’s short a lot.  I know specialists that skip sleep after a night of responding to emergencies, just to make sure they get their clinic visits fit in.  I know Agents at Clear Medical Agency who have worked for days (and sometimes weeks) on little to no sleep in order to support these same people during their tough times.

I’ve seen the leadership challenges.  I’ve seen the exhaustion. 

I’ve seen the sacrifice.

For many people around the world, this time of year (Passover and Easter) is about Sacrifice.  I think it’s a great time to thank you for your sacrifice to others.  Pass it on!

For those of you who have to work on Easter.  Thank you for yet another sacrifice.  For those who get the day off, enjoy a well deserved break!

Thank you!

 

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

A New Day in Healthcare

Insider sources in Washington D.C. have confirmed that the vote on healthcare reform will successfully pass the House, the budget for the bill will then be reconciled by the Senate, and then the President will sign into law one of the most significant pieces of legislation in almost a generation.

Today truly is a new day in healthcare. 

Whether you’re for it or against it, there is no doubt that it will make significant changes to almost 1/6 of the US Economy, add millions of regular users to the healthcare industry, and usher in a new era of growth to an industry already poised to experience tremendous growth as the Baby Boomers retire. 

So, you might be wondering how this affects you?  In this posting, we will attempt to provide a basic overview of what will happen.  While it will vary by what part you play in the industry, it is certain to affect everyone:

Patients will:

  1. be required to carry health insurance
  2. get help from the government if they qualify under a certain income threshold
  3. not have lifetime caps on insurance coverage
  4. not be excluded from some option of coverage due to pre-existing conditions
  5. pay a tax on very expensive health insurance plans (The so-called Cadillac Plans) 
  6. see Medicare Advantage plans begin to disappear
  7. see the value of their health benefits reported on their W-2 forms

Clinical Professionals (Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, Leaders, etc.) will:

  1. see the number of potential patients rise as the program begins implementation
  2. see changes in reimbursement methods and amounts
  3. see encouragement of doctors and caregivers to reorganize to provide more efficiency and quality of care
  4. have fewer uninsured patients that need care

As with any new entitlement, someone will have to pay for it.  In this case, it will be paid for by new taxes, State budgets, and some cuts in Medicare budgets.  Also, as was the case with Medicare and Social Security, the costs will probably outgrow the current plans for taxes and cuts, and new taxes or deficits will be needed. 

The impact this bill will have on insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, businesses, and taxes is not certain.  The country is sharply divided on the matter, and there will be many legal battles and objections from States.  Periodically, I’ll update our readers here on what we’re seeing on the horizon as things change.  However, history has shown us that these sort of reforms are hard to reverse. 

For your reference, we have provided a helpful timeline below to outline when different phases will begin.  Let me know if we missed anything, and please subscribe to the blog (in the upper righthand corner) if you are interested in getting more updates in the future.  This is important stuff, and we’ll get through it together.

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Within One Year

  • Insurance companies will be barred from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.
  • Lifetime coverage limits will be eliminated and annual limits are to be restricted.
  • Insurers will be barred from excluding children for coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
  • Young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college.
  • Uninsured adults with a pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain health coverage through a new program that will expire once new insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014.
  • A temporary reinsurance program is created to help companies maintain health coverage for early retirees between the ages of 55 and 64. This also expires in 2014.
  • Medicare drug beneficiaries who fall into the “doughnut hole” coverage gap will get a $250 rebate. The bill eventually closes that gap which currently begins after $2,700 is spent on drugs. Coverage starts again after $6,154 is spent.
  • A tax credit becomes available for some small businesses to help provide coverage for workers.
  • A 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps goes into effect on July 1.

2011

  • Medicare provides 10 percent bonus payments to primary care physicians and general surgeons.
  • Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get a free annual wellness visit and personalized prevention plan service.
  • New health plans will be required to cover preventive services with little or no cost to patients.
  • A new program under the Medicaid plan for the poor goes into effect in October that allows states to offer home and community based care for the disabled that might otherwise require institutional care.
  • Payments to insurers offering Medicare Advantage services are frozen at 2010 levels. These payments are to be gradually reduced to bring them more in line with traditional Medicare.
  • Employers are required to disclose the value of health benefits on employees’ W-2 tax forms.
  • An annual fee is imposed on pharmaceutical companies according to market share. The fee does not apply to companies with sales of $5 million or less.

2012

  • Physician payment reforms are implemented in Medicare to enhance primary care services and encourage doctors to form “accountable care organizations” to improve quality and efficiency of care.
  • An incentive program is established in Medicare for acute care hospitals to improve quality outcomes.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the government programs, begin tracking hospital readmission rates and puts in place financial incentives to reduce preventable readmissions.

2013

  • A national pilot program is established for Medicare on payment bundling to encourage doctors, hospitals and other care providers to better coordinate patient care.
  • The threshold for claiming medical expenses on itemized tax returns is raised to 10 percent from 7.5 percent of income. The threshold remains at 7.5 percent for the elderly through 2016.
  • The Medicare payroll tax is raised to 2.35 percent from 1.45 percent for individuals earning more than $200,000 and married couples with incomes over $250,000.  The tax is imposed on some investment income for that income group.
  • A 2.9% excise tax in imposed on the sale of medical devices. Anything generally purchased at the retail level by the public is excluded from the tax.

2014

  • State health insurance exchanges for small businesses and individuals open.
  • Most people will be required to obtain health insurance coverage or pay a fine if they don’t. Healthcare tax credits become available to help people with incomes up to 400 percent of poverty purchase coverage on the exchange.
  • Health plans no longer can exclude people from coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
  • Employers with 50 or more workers who do not offer coverage face a fine of $2,000 for each employee if any worker receives subsidized insurance on the exchange. The first 30 employees aren’t counted for the fine.
  • Health insurance companies begin paying a fee based on their market share.

2015

  • Medicare creates a physician payment program aimed at rewarding quality of care rather than volume of services.

2018

  • An excise tax on high cost employer-provided plans is imposed. The first $27,500 of a family plan and $10,200 for individual coverage is exempt from the tax. Higher levels are set for plans covering retirees and people in high risk professions.

Some information was gathered from our friends at Reuters.  To view their original report, please visit:  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1914020220100319

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For more information about the Clear Medical Solutions team, please visit http://www.ClearMedicalSolutions.com or join our free network of healthcare professionals at http://www.ClearMedicalNetwork.com.