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Description of the Organization
“Get The Look You’re Looking For.” That is our motto at Asfa Plastic Surgery! It’s also exactly what we represent as a company. We aspire everyone to be as happy as they want when it comes to their appearance. Not to worry about the price, or what their neighbors will say, but focus solely on their own happiness and how we can help make it happen. We also give hope! Hope that after they have been through a diagnosis of breast cancer, or skin cancer, that they will be able to return to a normal life with minimal scarring and only a slight reminder of what they have been through.
Running a business, such as this one, and in such a tight knit location, where everyone knows everyone, is very challenging. Asfa Plastic Surgery, PC is run by the owner/physician Dr. Saied Asfa, and his wife who as the Vice President is also in charge of marketing. Dr. Asfa came from Isfahan Iran, where he lived all his life aspiring to become a physician. He attended the best Americanized universities, while attending medical school and graduated with a medical degree, in the top one percent of the national college pool.
Asfa Plastic Surgery is set in a beautiful location, close to the hospital, approximately five miles off of the local interstate eighty one exit, this makes our office easily accessible but away from the hustle and bustle of major traffic. Our office consists of three employees, a licensed practical nurse, a certified nursing assistant/administrative assistant, office manager/certified professional coder and surgery scheduler, and the physician. In our office our employees are required to multi-task, being able to cross train with medical assisting, billing, reception and scheduling. Our culture welcomes new and fresh ideas, and numerous responsibilities with regards to the business. This provides the employees of Asfa Plastic Surgery with an interest in the business itself, and makes it more than just a job.
I work as the Administrative Assistant for a small, yet very well-known plastic surgery office in Harrisonburg Virginia. I joined this company in May of two thousand nine, where I was part of basically the same layout that we currently run, only three employees, and all sharing responsibilities and tasks. I met Dr. Asfa by chance through a school board posting at Blue Ridge Community College. They were looking for a medical assistant with receptional experience as well. With an office as busy as ours, it didn’t take long before I just had to jump into the work full force. Everything was a little overwhelming at first, but the office culture was such a relaxed atmosphere that I felt right at home in this position. Not only was I overwhelmed but all of us were starting this new business venture with Dr. Asfa, so we kind of had to learn as we went.
Our billing was being outsourced through another company, however, we still completed the bills like we were going to be the one sending them to the insurance company or patient. This frustrated me and after being there almost six months we took over the billing full force. Our goal was to eliminate billing errors, retractions, and write offs for our office, so that we could increase our revenue and reduce our debt. Dr. Asfa was concerned with this as well, and was interested to learn how he could improve his notes, and learn the proper coding marks, so that he could avoid retractions and denials, decreasing write offs. This was an exciting venture for me, one that I never would have foreseen myself in. It was new and difficult, but it paid off and we ended up appealing lost funds, retractions and write offs, allowing us to get back thousands of dollars that the outsourced company had filed away.
Being able to control the billing first hand in our office provided us with a sort of structure we have never had before. It allowed me to open up my duties as an administrative assistant and provide Dr. Asfa with an opportunity to have more control over his finances, where billing was concerned. As the administrative assistant I was responsible for getting all the superbills from the physician, making sure they were marked with Current Procedural Terminology or CPT codes, as well as the correct International Classification of Diseases or ICD-9 codes and the correct modifiers. This was quite a task, and not only carried out by me, but also the office manager who compared the notes when I completed the daily batch with all the superbills. This did however provide our office with a lot less clerical and billing issues in the future increasing our revenue and allowing our time to be used more wisely. We held monthly meetings to provide the physician with a layout of the progress we were making with this new venture and educated him on things he could do to help the process go more smoothly. Gradually we learned the proper procedures to address any billing issue before it became a huge problem.
Before I was hired into my position the office manager would do most of the imputing of information into the billing tab, and then as I mentioned before, all billing was outsourced. After I was trained for the most part, billing and the proper rules and regulations with regards to that was done in office. Everyone was informed and the office became more structured, however still maintaining our relaxed cultural atmosphere. This new structure shifted a lot of responsibilities around throughout the office, but was mainly handled by myself, the office manager and physician. During this time of restructuring, I was given a large raise and bonus and provided with more managerial duties.
Asfa Plastic Surgery became more organized by reintroducing their own billing back into the company, however there was still an area that required more focus. Asfa Plastic Surgery needs to allow for a professional biller and coder that can strictly focus on the billing aspect of the company and not be required to obtain so many other duties.
Our office does not hire new staff on a regular basis and when we do, unfortunately we have not been able to find someone that can fit our company culturally. We review resumes, call references, all the normal hiring things, but we seem to focus on the wrong skill set. All the procedures we go through in the interviewing process tells us nothing about the actual ability or skill level this person has. We know what kind of person we are looking for and what is expected of them as an employee of such a small business, however our problem becomes that we can’t get the physician to hire someone full time. Dr. Asfa wants a person who only works the two days a week he is in office and he wants us all to multi-task our responsibilities. This has been discussed with the office manager who agrees this position will be a hard one to fill. In the last five years I have been an employee we have increased our clientele by thousands, but still run the office with three individuals because we can’t find someone willing to work with his standards of hire. We need to make him see that we need to split up the billing duties to alleviate some of the work load, and ensure that our revenue continues to stay up and errors stay down.
I will research why it is important for our office to hire a person who is trained and certified in professional billing and coding. Why it is important in the job that we do, that things are precise and correct and why multi-tasking when handling billing and coding procedures is not the best practice. Lots of research has been conducted on this subject and the importance of its accuracy.