Giving Thanks for Tough Times

November 6, 2011

We wanted to drop you a quick note and keep you updated.  

You may have noticed fewer updates on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog as we’ve cut back on the social events and focused on our mission to get through this economy.

Despite early success, we’ve had to scale back on our growth plans and “hunker down” while the demand for healthcare professionals has slowed.  In some cases, this has meant not filling open administrative positions so we can keep our costs down and run an efficient enterprise.

What changed?

The economic environment has not been favorable, and many of our respected competitors have chosen to close their doors.  The primary issue is national unemployment rates and the loss of insured patients. However, we’re stable and continue to enjoy making a difference in the lives of our nurses, therapists, and HIM professionals in the field each day.

We’re still finding a way to change the world, one person at a time.

One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is that taking care of our team members, clients, and partners is job #1.  We’ve made some mistakes while reorganizing and have recommitted ourselves to maintaining strong relationships that will set us apart as other companies continue to cut their service levels.

We’re thankful for the lesson.

We’ve also learned humility, frugality, and other characteristics that should serve us well in the future.

The tough times aren’t always bad.

The future is bright.  Thanks for helping us change the world.

– Your friends at Clear Medical Solutions and Clear Medical Network


The Rain is Coming!

March 14, 2011

Right now my wife and I are watching the show “Nature’s Most Amazing Events” and we just finished the section about the annual Pacific Salmon run.  It makes for an interesting allegory for the current employment environment.

Here it is:

Salmon are drawn by instinct to swim against the current, jump huge waterfalls, and avoid massive bears, just to achieve their mission.  Only four out of every thousand salmon make the round trip from their birth place to the ocean and back again.

It’s the challenge of a lifetime!

However, as if that wasn’t hard enough, sometimes the water levels are too low for the fish to even get to the bears, waterfalls, or heavy currents.  They get stuck before the challenge even begins.

Then the rain comes.

Just as many of the fish are starting to lose energy (and hope?), the rainy season begins and allows the fish to resume their journey onward.  They can finally begin the work they were designed for.

Sound familiar?

Many young healthcare professionals are on their way to following their dreams.  We all signed up for the challenges of dealing with difficult cases, managing ornery patients, or the emotional struggles that come with our work.

What we didn’t sign up for was the lack of water.

This economy has dried up many opportunities, and left many healthcare workers looking for work, confused by their situation, and wondering if it’s time to move on to a new career.  Today I urge you to hold on.

The Rain is Coming!

The work we seek will be here soon enough and the days of low census will be replaced with the challenge of a lifetime, caring for our fellow human beings when they need us most.

Keep your chin up.


Warning! Are You Cutting too Deep?

December 13, 2010

With more signs of the economy improving, now might be a good time to remember the value of our highly skilled employees.  This thought came to me when I just heard about a hospital mandating overtime for their nurses when it costs them $51/hr and they have the option of agency nurses to cover at $42/hr.  That’s a double waste; both money and spirit.

Also, let’s not forget the hospital has to pay overtime to the schedulers and managers that will scramble to coordinate and deal with the aftermath.

That doesn’t make sense to me. 

For me, it’s not just about the money (even though that’s a big one these days).  It’s about patient safety.  It’s about the long term burnout that’s happening.  It’s about reputation and retention once the economy improves.

It’s about not upsetting a highly skilled workforce right before the largest shortage of nurses and doctors in a generation.

I’m concerned about the big picture. 

The healthcare industry is looking at a shortage of about 600,000 nurses and 60,000 doctors peaking in the next 4 to 7 years.  If you have to cut costs further, be careful you don’t cut too deep.  The wound might not heal in time.


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

Medical Professionals Top the List of “Least Productive without Coffee”

October 11, 2010

I thought it would be fun to share a study I just read while drinking my coffee this morning. 

According to a new survey commissioned by CareerBuilder and Dunkin’ Donuts, the top 5 professions with the highest percentage of workers stating they are less productive without coffee are:

1) Nurses
2) Physicians
3) Hotel workers
4) Designers/Architects
5) Financial/Insurance sales representatives 

Steve's Morning Ritual

Big shocker…right?  😉 

With the 24/7 nature of our industry, it’s no surprise that we’re all tired.  One of our nurses regularly drinks a mix of Gatorade and 5 Hour Energy shots, and none of us were surprised when a picture (right) surfaced of one of our nursing/therapy agent’s morning caffeine routine.

“The Coffee Effect”

  • 40% of American workers aged 18 to 24 admit they can’t concentrate as well without coffee.  43% of workers aged 18 to 34 stated they have lower energy if they don’t drink coffee.
  • More than 2 in 5 American workers claim they are less productive without coffee.  Workers in the Northeast U.S. stated they are the most dependent on coffee, with 48% of people claiming they are less productive without coffee, compared to the South at 45%, West at 44%and Midwest at 34%.
  • 37% of American workers drink 2 or more cups of coffee during their workday.

How about you?  Do you need coffee?


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 also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare. 

A Simple Guide to Today’s Healthcare Reform Changes

September 23, 2010

Today the next stage of healthcare reform arrived on the scene, meaning a change in landscape for providers, insurance companies, and patients.

Several changes will begin taking shape this week. Here’s a look at what we will see as the autumn open enrollment period approaches (some changes won’t be felt until January 1st, when many new healthcare plans kick in):

  • Free preventive services.  Preventive care such as immunizations, breast cancer screenings, prostate and cervical exams, blood pressure checks, and cholesterol tests will not be subject to deductibles or co-pays.  This will lead to an increase in the amount of patients seeking these services.
  • Easier OB/GYN and pediatric visits. Prior authorizations for visits to obstetricians and pediatricians will no longer be required.
  • No “Out of Network” charges for some emergency services.
  • No lifetime limits on coverage.  If you sign up for a new plan after Sept. 23, you can keep it for life.
  • Rescission ban. Insurers will no longer be able to cancel individual coverage if a customer gets sick.
  • Adult child coverage extended. Parents can keep their children on family plans until the kids hit 26.
  • Pre-existing condition changes for children and adults. Insurers will no longer be able to bar children with pre-existing conditions as of this fall; the same rule goes into effect for adults in 2014.
  • Small business tax credits. Companies with 25 of fewer employees, who make $50,000 on average, will get a 35 percent tax break on the cost of premiums. The credit is slated to rise to 50 percent in 2014.
  • Subsidized care for low-income families. Families and individuals with income levels of 400 percent of the poverty line will qualify for subsidized coverage.
  • Significant changes trigger new plan status. If employers make significant changes to healthcare plans, i.e. raise employee premiums or cut benefits, the plan is deemed new and falls under the new guidelines.
  • New insurance company decision appeal process.  The law requires insurance companies to set up an outside appeals process for claims that are denied.
  • Medicare wins, Medicare Advantage loses. Basic Medicare benefits are set to grow, but Medicare Advantage plans — privately administered Medicare plans — could see benefits shrink.

For updates on new stages of the Healthcare Reform program, subscribe to our blog on the upper right sidebar.

Concerned about Healthcare Reform? Don’t forget ICD-10…

August 16, 2010

Obviously preparation for the pending healthcare reforms in the US will be a massive undertaking.  In addition to caring for a larger patient base, we’ll all be scrambling to find more doctors, nurses, therapists, and all kinds of other allied medical professionals.  It’s going to be interesting to say the least, and just like you, we’re preparing for that side of things at the Clear Medical Agency.

However, before that fun officially begins, there will be a fundamental change in how we code and bill for our services.  For those of us involved with healthcare finance, we know that the money to run the hospital or clinic goes through coding (and obviously billing), so when we see that deadline steadily approaching, there’s plenty to be nervous about.

  • Coders (and everyone else in your organization that uses codes) will need to learn a new and larger code set
  • Coders will now need to go to school and study anatomy
  • Your billing software will need to be updated and tested to accomodate 5010
  • Coding productivity will suffer just as we need it most

We’ll continue to keep you updated on new developments, so feel free to subscribe to our blog emails on the upper right side of the home page.  In the meantime, it’s time to educate your board and all team members that may not be aware of what ICD-10 is, and what the transition may involve. 

Here’s a short guide to start with, courtesy of our HIM Circle team:

An Abridged Guide to ICD-10 As you probably have heard by now, on October 1, 2013, the ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures will be replaced by ICD-10 code sets.  We’ve compiled information directly from the CMS website to help provide a basic introduction and some steps to help prepare for ICD-10.  In the future, we’ll be posting more updates.  If you’d like to have those updates sent to you, simply subscribe on the right side of blog’s … Read More

via Clear HIM Matters

If you are curious about what our HIM Circle team is doing to prepare for ICD-10, feel free to join their forum on Linkedin at, subscribe to their blog at, or follow their quickly growing facebook forum at

Memorial Day Tribute Video

June 1, 2010

On behalf of all the team members of Clear Medical Solutions and Clear Medical Agency, we remember those in uniform who have made the ultimate  sacrifice.

Thanks to members of the Clear Medical Network who suggested pictures for a tribute video.  Many of our friends and members actively serve or serve in the reserves.    We are so proud of them for their service!

Have a great rest of the day!

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