Good Year or Bad-It's up to You: 2008 A Look Back - 2009 A Look Ahead
March 17, 2009
Another year has come and gone and if you are reading this you have obviously survived the year's challenges. However, I trust you more than just survived; I hope you actually thrived.
We all face challenges and opportunities and it is important to keep in mind that it isn't what happens to us- rather it is how we react to what happens to us that makes the difference. Any issue creates two reactions: positive or negative. It's our choice. Successful people usually react positively and unsuccessful people usually react negatively to the exact same situations.
I once knew a person who had such a bad attitude that, had he won one million dollars in the lottery, he wouldn't have been able to celebrate the win-he would have moaned about the taxes due.
Having an optimistic outlook regarding difficult situations can help us find solutions to problems. Those with a negative attitude look for where to place the blame rather than searching for a solution.
Looking Back Let's review some of the issues we had to deal with in 2008:
Increases in our healthcare premiums. It's no longer a question of if healthcare premiums will increase annually; now it's simply a question of how much.
The evaporation of dollars in our 401K plans.
Soaring gasoline prices which led to a drastic reduction in our discretionary disposable income.
Around the clock political ads. The good thing about the bombardment of TV ads helped to reinforce that we shouldn't even turn on the tube (showing my age-there are no tubes any more).
Downsizing and unemployment. A growing number of people are being "freed up for other opportunities" or as it is more commonly known "laid off."
Now here's the truth: most of us couldn't affect any of the above issues, so why worry about them? Instead, find something positive in each issue, such as reading versus watching television, walking instead of driving, or deciding to pursue a new career, etc.
Looking Ahead So what issues may we face in 2009? Although I'm not psychic, there are a few predictions I feel comfortable stating here:
Even more layoffs as employers use monies that previously went for salaries and wages to pay down debt.
Even higher healthcare premiums if insurance companies' "investment income" continues on a downward spiral.
Attempts by the new administration to "fix" some of the broken issues such as Medicare, Social Security, and access to healthcare. However, no matter how good its intentions in trying to tackle some of these pressing problems, any movement will be difficult if not impossible given the wide plethora of special interest groups
More hospitals closings and more merging of doctor practices as physicians try to reduce overhead and gain leverage with third party payers.
A slow down in EMR implementation as funding sources tighten their purse strings.
A Positive Mindset Keep in mind it's not what happens in 2009 but how we react to what happens that makes the difference. Here are some possible positive outcomes:
Given the numerous layoffs in the healthcare industry, we could end up having a "better" labor pool to choose from.
As deductibles increase for healthcare plans, it may lead to more intelligent utilization. When we have a low co-pay, it's off to the doctor even for symptoms that may clear up in a day or two.
Since we voted for change, maybe our politicians will have the guts to implement some solutions to the healthcare crisis versus only doing "safe" things to get reelected.
As doctor practices merge and get larger, they will definitely need professionals to help them trudge through the "maze of rules and regulations." This could be a boon to the billing industry.
You can say the glass is half full or half empty but if you just want to sit around and complain, then get out of the way of people who are adapting to situations and turning them into positive solutions. May 2009 be your best year yet!
Dave Jakielo, CHBME, is an international speaker, consultant, executive coach, and author, and is president of Seminars & Consulting. Dave is past president of Healthcare Billing and Management Association and the National Speakers Association Pittsburgh Chapter. Sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at www.Davespeaks.com. Dave can be reached via email Dave@Davespeaks.com; phone 412/921-0976.