7 Steps to Take after Graduation

May 14, 2011

Congrats!!  It’s graduation time!  Are you a little nervous?  Here are seven tips to follow your dreams, find success, and make a difference.

1)  Commit to something bigger.

There is no sugar-coating it, healthcare is tough!  Odds are that within the first year, you’ll either quit or think about quitting. However, it’s hard to quit on something bigger than yourself. Have a goal. Be on a mission. Change the world. Save a life.

If you want to succeed, you must commit yourself to a bigger cause.

2) Figure out what you love.

I guarantee you will not truly succeed if you’re doing anything you don’t love.  Healthcare is just too hard  if you don’t love it.  Find your calling and chase it!

3) Start doing it. Now.

If you don’t love what you’re doing, make a change.  Don’t put it into your 5 year plan.  Start today.  Even if you have to get/keep your day job until you can do what you love full-time, get started!  Volunteer or do per diem work on the side to gain experience.

4) Meet others who love what you love.

Few people can win alone anymore.  The world is too complex and we need people to pick us up when we’re tired, broken, and failing.  It’s a war out there, and you will fail, fall, and need help.  Find others, learn from them and win.  Together you are stronger.  (If you need help finding others in your specialty, check out the free Clear Medical Network forums on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin)

5)  Make long-term plans, not short-term ones.

If you’ve committed yourself to something special, keep your eye on it.  Make short-term adjustments, but focus on the big picture.  It’s too easy to get distracted these days, so you need to be working towards long-term goals.  Don’t waste energy on achieving short-term goals. Everything should lead toward the end goal.

6)  Don’t be selfish.

You will need to give things, thoughts, and time away before you get anything in return.  I’m not sure exactly why, other than people like nice people and are willing to help them in return.

Give, give, give.

7) Take your magic step.

If you will succeed, there will be one magic step only you will discover.  The very nature of our world is that we cannot all have the same path, the same steps towards our dreams.  You will need to take a unique step along the way, and it will be something that only you will find.

Call it magic or whatever you’d like, but you’ll need it and I can’t tell you what to look for.  We all have a step in life that we will need to take to achieve our dreams.

When you see yours.  Take it!

Let me know if we can help.

Have a great day,

Aaron@Biebert

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Aaron is a former nursing home administrator, HIM Director, and consultant.  He is also the creator of the Clear Medical Network and an 8pm Warrior.


Facebook for Healthcare 101

November 11, 2010

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.

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


Social Surgery? Your Patient is “Tweeting” About You…

October 14, 2010

Your patient is in surgery right now, and all day he’s been tweeting about your nurses, doctors, signage, and even your EMR. 

He’s also posting pictures of your facilities, equipment, and gowns as well as checking in on FourSquare for his 832 facebook friends to see.  

Is he a patient at your hospital?

http://www.Twiter.com/TRCochran

Our world has changed…

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


Learning on the Fly

April 10, 2010

(This post is part 2 of a short series on 4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders)

Question:  What do 32,000,000 new patients, FourSquare.com, ICD-10, and Audit MICs (Medicare Integrity Contractors) have in common? 

Answer:  They will all be important to our industry.  They are new.  And they’re knocking at your door.

Increasing shortages of doctors and nurses, social media usage, new regulations, EMR’s, reforms, technology upgrades, and on, and on…and on.  It never seems to stop, and it never will. 

Many people now say that we live in a world of continuous change, and when I see what our partners, suppliers, and government contractors are inventing every year, it seems quite obvious.  Change is no longer something to prepare for; it’s a way of life. 

Our new way of life 

Some people might say that I’m being dramatic.  However, if you look back just a couple years, it is interesting to think that there were no RAC’s, no Healthcare Reform, few EMR’s, no HITECH Act, no Twitter, no iPhones.  Change is now constant, and as developing countries only add innovation and  new technology, times and tools will change even more. 

In the world of continuous change, the only way to ride the wave will be to lead by learning, and learning quickly. 

That’s why it made my Top 4. 

See you tomorrow for the topic of Social Media Savvy.  Have a great day! 

(To have the next article sent to your email, subscribe to this blog at the top of the sidebar)

 

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


4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders

April 9, 2010

In my opinion, leadership in the healthcare world has seen a drastic shift from just four years ago and it isn’t going back.  The “Good ‘Ol Days” we once knew are now officially gone (I know this may not be breaking news to you if you’re reading this).

For the skeptics out there, I don’t have any scientific research to back this up.  However, when you see the medical world from the eyes of a visiting consultant and interim leader, it is easier to step back and see how fast change is happening. 

For me, it only took a nurse (your nurse maybe?) posting on Facebook about how boring her hospital meeting was…during the meeting.  About 500 of her friends saw it, and they were commenting back.  One of the commentors told her about another job opportunity at a neighboring facility. 

Wow…

It’s things like this that get me thinking.  What will the future be like, and will we be ready?  I was doing some reading last night about future leaders and the skills they will need, and I created my own list of four skills that I think any of us will need to succeed in the future as leaders in a changing industry that will face severe shortages of nurses, doctors, therapists, and others.

  1. Learning on the Fly
  2. Social Media Savvy
  3. A Caring Attitude
  4. “The Champion” Skill

I’d love to hear your thoughts on each of these, as I’d be shocked if someone didn’t have a great 5th skill to add. 

In the coming days, I am going to write a quick series about these four skills and why I think they’re important.  If you’d like to take part in the discussion (or just get the next post via email instead), you can get these posts sent to you by signing up in the upper right of the main page. 

See you tomorrow!

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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.


Looking into the Eyes of the Future (of Healthcare)

March 29, 2010
This weekend, my youngest child (a one year-old son) and I spent time inserting different shaped blocks into the correct spots on one of his toys.  Half of the time my son was looking at me with this look of wonder and amazement as I showed him how to do it.  Simple stuff to me, but a big deal to my son.   

You could see it in his eyes.    

My son

 

As part of the leadership team in a healthcare organization, I see that same look from new graduates or interns I get to work with.  They know that they don’t have the experience, but they are grateful when someone shows them how to do difficult things that seem so simple to the veterans they work with.  (Big thanks to the many great preceptors and trainers out there!)    

However, with all the stress and staffing concerns in our industry, it is no wonder that we sometimes forget to remember that these rookies in our department are the future of healthcare. 

We are truly looking into the eyes of the future.   

What’s scary is that future might be more difficult than we imagine.  I’m sure the saying “Nurses eat their young” is not unique only to nursing, and with the baby boomers set to retire and healthcare reform now the law of the land, we’re going to need these unexperienced colleagues of ours to be confident, encouraged, and focused on a long-term career caring for patients.     

Unfortunately, with the economy where it’s at, finding graduates working in a hospital or clinic is not as easy as it was just a couple years ago.  Even new RN’s are having a hard time finding work in some areas that just a couple years ago were offering signing bonuses.     

I know RN’s that are volunteering to gain experience and relationships while they search and medical coders traveling across the country for their first job.  It’s crazy for high demand positions like those two (and many others) to have that sort of challenge to find work!  Especially since things were so different when they started school.    

Right now I see about 50 requests a week from new graduates with healthcare degrees looking for a place that will give them their first chance, despite the curse of the proverbial “no experience”.  With Spring graduation season coming up soon, that situation isn’t looking any brighter…    

One brighter spot is that I do see some places that are still hiring graduates if they have good attitudes and are willing to work hard, but those places are hard to find.  This was one of many reasons that we formed the Clear Medical Network to connect healthcare professionals for career guidance from their peers, as well as the fun stuff too (annual cruise, nights out, etc.).  We’re hoping to connect our industry to help share ideas and opportunities to make a difference.    

It’s not just for graduates, but that’s one group that needs it most this time of year.    

If you know anyone looking to hire new grads, we will gladly share the resumes we’re getting (for free).  Just have the hiring leader join the network or email me at Aaron@ClearMedicalSolutions.com.   Also, if you get a chance, please let me know what you think about the idea and help remind me and others of the important role that our young colleagues will play in our future.     

Have a great week!     

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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 at Clear Medical Solutions, 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

March 21, 2010

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.


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