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Whether you are just getting started or you're an experienced Newsletter Chair looking to update your process, Creating a Chapter Newsletter in Six Steps is a road map to creating a newsletter that showcases the work of your chapter.
Note: Each chapter is required to publish and distribute one newsletter each quarter to all members—a minimum of four chapter newsletters each year and the newsletter must include any combination of at least four required items.
The six steps to creating an e-newsletter are:
1. Collect HFMA Chapter and National News
2. Collect Local Healthcare Information
3. Collect National Healthcare News
4. Edit the News
5. Lay Out the Newsletter
6. Send the Newsletter
Chapter news that you might want to offer in your newsletter includes:
Information about new members and new certified members is readily available from your chapter's membership chair and certification contact, who receive this information regularly from HFMA.
Check with your program chair for the latest educational calendar, or look on your chapter's website or on the Chapter Education Calendar on the HFMA website.
Information about members' accomplishments is always a popular feature in newsletters. These announcements need not be voluminous—just the basic who, what, when, where, and why.
You can collect this information by sending periodic email queries to chapter members and by soliciting such information at chapter meetings. Also, include reminders in your newsletter for members to contact you when they change jobs, get a promotion, complete an educational degree, or achieve other professional accomplishments.
Depending on the culture of your chapter, it may be appropriate to include personal milestones, too, such as births or marriages. If you choose to do this, only publish information that the member himself or herself sends you for the newsletter—or get permission to make the announcement.
Check with your chapter president for information about year-end highlights and your chapter's strategic plan. Committee chairs, of course, would be the appropriate source for committee information.
For HFMA national news, an up-to-date archive of national HFMA press releases is available online by going to the HFMA Press Center. Also, HFMA's publications department prepares ready-to-use stories for chapter newsletter that are posted on the Articles and Ads for Chapter Newsletters page. This page also includes evergreen national news stories, HFMA press releases, and news of the latest additions to the HFMA Resource Center.
Other sources of HFMA national news include the "HFMA News" column in hfm magazine and Notes from National.
Websites and email distribution lists can provide you with plenty of press releases and other material you can readily plug into your newsletter. Here are some tips on how to find what's most useful for you:
There are a number of good resources to consider for obtaining local healthcare news. Identify specific websites, such as the state health agencies, that regularly post useful news and information. Links to Useful News Sources contains examples of sites you can bookmark, then browse when you're compiling information for your newsletter.
TIP: There's no standard name for the press room on a website. Some link labels include "news," "what's new," "media center," and "public relations," and "communications." If there isn't an obvious link on the home page, look for a link that says something along the lines of "About Us." Many companies put their pressroom there.
Get on distribution lists for announcements and press releases. If the website doesn't have a sign-up form, send an email to the press relations person—or even to their main information address—and request to be added to their list. Provide your name, contact information, and the title of your publication.
Subscribe to relevant email newsletters. They'll tip you off to news that you can follow up with on your own. (If you would like to use the actual newsletter article, always request permission before reproducing it. It is copyrighted material, even if the newsletter is available free to the public or if there is no visible copyright statement.)
Another great source of information is state health agency list serves—but again, always ask for permission before you quote someone! In addition to being a courtesy, it also can lead to additional information that wasn't included in the post.
There are a number of good resources to consider for obtaining national healthcare news that you can use in your chapter newsletter. Links to Useful News Sources contains examples of sites you can bookmark, then browse when you're compiling information for your newsletter. Be sure to select national news items with an eye to what is specifically relevant to your chapter and try to provide a regional perspective. E-mail can provide some quick and easy ways to do that:
You are welcome to use news from HFMA's website.
By now you should have ample material for your newsletter, and all you need to do is put it into the most effective format.
We suggest you limit your e-newsletter to about six to ten items. More, and you may begin to lose your readers. (And you may find yourself spending more time on this project than you can afford!) Seek a balance between chapter news, regional healthcare news, and national news. We recommend that you give more weight to chapter and regional news, since your readers have other resources for national news.
The good news is that each item in an e-newsletter is short—the best length for each item is one to two paragraphs, with each paragraph about three sentences. Even better news is that if you use HFMA's resources and press releases as your source, much of your work is done for you. Press releases usually are longer than you need, but in many cases, the key news is in the first paragraph, and then you can scan the release for supplemental information that can become your second paragraph.
Here are some ideas for writing/editing your news items:
By now, you should have a six to ten short, factual stories that cover chapter, local, and national news, plus a few announcements. The next step is to create the newsletter itself. The following sections provide some guidance on how to do that. For additional insights, review the sample chapter newsletter attached to these guidelines.
It is still acceptable to send an e-mail newsletter in plain text format, although HTML newsletters (the ones that look like web pages when you open them) are becoming increasingly common.
In a plain text email, your formatting options are limited to lower case and capital letters and the symbols that you see on your keyboard. You will not be able to use any formatting such as bold, underline, or automated bullets.
This creates a basic document that can be read by any email program. The recipient's preferences will determine the font, size, and color of the text that appears when he or she opens the newsletter.
Your newsletter's name and the chapter name (if not included in your newsletter's name) should be at the top. You might also want to include a tagline (for example, "The information source for Tennessee's healthcare finance professionals").
Next you should include a line with the date. You might also want to have an issue number. You can number your newsletters consecutively, or you can have a volume number for each year, followed by an issue number that starts over at one with each new year. (For example, if you have six issues per year, the last issue of your first year would be volume 1, number 6.)
Next, simply list the titles of your stories in the order they will appear. The list should be numbered. The sequence of stories is up to you; generally, the stories of the broadest interest or the most significant effect are first.
Now, paste in each story in the order identified in your table of contents. Choose a consistent way to distinguish between the title and the body of the story, and make sure the spacing is equal between each story.
Announcements can be grouped under a descriptive headline and treated as bulleted items. To create plain text bullets, chose a symbol (often a dash or asterisk) and tap the space bar once or twice. Use these bullets consistently throughout your newsletters.
Finally, close each newsletter with whatever credit and contact information you would like to include. This information should include at a minimum the newsletter editor's name, email address, and phone number. It may also include the chapter president's name and contact information. You should also explicitly state that this newsletter is a publication of your chapter, along with the word "copyright" followed by the year.
If your chapter selects another format for the newsletter, please note that you can find your chapter's logo on the HFMA website.
Now, you are ready to send the newsletter. The easiest way to do that (unless you have a large membership) is to just copy and paste the newsletter into the body of an email message. It is wise to send yourself and another member of the chapter newsletter committee a test message before sending the issue out to the membership. Ask this committee member or co-chair to do two things:
After making any final adjustments, copy and paste the message and send to the chapter members using the email group you use for normal email correspondence to members. The latest member data is available 24/7 from the Roster Center in the Chapter Leaders area of HFMA's website. Faxing or mailing copies to those without email will ensure that all chapter members receive a copy of your newsletter.
IMPORTANT: When sending a broadcast email, you must remember to insert the email addresses into the BCC field, rather than the TO field. Using the BCC field respects the privacy of the recipients by concealing the email addresses.
Publication Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
In this Business Profile, Bruce Haupt, president and CEO of ClearBalance, discusses how a patient loan program can increase patient collections, reduce bad debt, and speed cash flow.
Patient financial engagement is more challenging than ever – and more critical. With patient responsibility as a percentage of revenue on the rise, providers have seen their billing-related costs and accounts receivable levels increase. If increasing collection yield and reducing costs are a priority for your organization, the metrics outlined in this presentation will provide the framework you need to understand what’s working and what’s not, in order to guide your overall patient financial engagement initiatives and optimize results.
In this Business Profile, Jerry Bruno, principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, discusses the importance of choosing revenue cycle solutions that help an organization meet the challenges of a quickly evolving healthcare environment.
No two patients are the same. Each has a very personal healthcare experience, and each has distinct financial needs and preferences that have an impact on how, when and if they chose to pay their healthcare bill. It’s no longer effective to apply static billing techniques to solve the complex challenge of collecting balances from patients. The need to tailor financial conversations and payment options to individual needs and preferences is critical. This presentation provides 10 recommendations that will not only help you improve payment performance through a more tailored approach, but take control of rising collection costs.
In this business profile, Lane Jackson, a partner in the Grant Thornton LLP Health Care Advisory Services practice, with extensive experience in overseeing system implementations and revenue cycle reorganizations, discusses best practices for elevating revenue cycle performance during an EMR implementation. Grant Thornton LLP is a sponsor of the Large System Controllers Council Affinity Group.
This white paper, written by Apex Vice President of Solutions and Services, Carrie Romandine, discusses the importance of patient segmentation and messaging specifically related to the patient revenue cycle. Applying strategic messaging that is tailored to each patient type will not only better educate consumers on payment options specific to their billing needs, but it will maximize the amount collected before sending to collections. Further, targeted messaging should be applied across all points of patient interaction (i.e. point of service, customer service, patient statements) and analyzed regularly for maximized results.
In this business profile, Amy Gross, senior vice president of Key Government Finance, discusses the benefits of private placement transactions to support large-scale financing projects.
This white paper, written by Apex President Patrick Maurer, discusses methods to increase patient adoption of online payments. Providers are now seeking ways to incrementally collect more payments due from patients as well as speeding up the rate of collections. This white paper shows why patient-centric approaches to online payment portals are important complements to traditional provider-centric approaches.
In this business profile, Doug Polasky, executive vice president at Xtend Healthcare, explains the importance of having sound workflow processes in a consolidated business office to ensure optimal performance and reduce costs.
Increased electronic engagement between healthcare providers and patients provides significant opportunities for improving revenue cycle metrics and encouraging patients to access EHRs. This article, written by Apex Founder and CEO Brian Kueppers, explores a number of strategies to create synergy between patient billing, online payment portals and electronic health record (EHR) software to realize a high ROI in speed to payment, patient satisfaction and portal adoption for meaningful use.
In this business profile, sponsored by SSI, Jay Colfer, vice president of sales and marketing, shares how patient access solutions are reversing the trend toward increased bad debt resulting from the rise in high-deductible consumer health plans.
Faced with a rising tide of bad debt, a large Southeastern healthcare system was seeing a sharp decline in net patient revenues. The need to improve collections was dire. By integrating critical tools and processes, the health system was able to increase online payments and improve its financial position. Taking a holistic approach increased overall collection yield by 10% while costs came down because the number of statements sent to patients fell by 10%, which equated to a $1.3M annualized improvement in patient cash over a six-month period. This case study explains how.
In this business profile of Deloitte Consulting, Matthew Hitch and David Betts explore the potential benefits of elevating the customer experience and outline strategies to change service delivery.
With the ICD10 deadline quickly approaching and daily responsibilities not slowing down, final preparations for October 1 require strategic prioritization and laser focus.
TriMedx helps health systems control costs and uncover savings opportunities by optimizing the clinical engineering function.
Read how Gwinnett Medical Center provides clear connections to financial information, offers multiple payment options for patients, and gives onsite staff the ability to collect payments at multiple points throughout the care process.
Read how Orlando Health was able to perform deeper dives into claims data to help the health system see claim rejections more quickly–even on the front end–and reduce A/R days.
To maintain fiscal fitness and boost patient satisfaction and loyalty, healthcare providers need visibility into when and how much they will be paid–by whom–and the ability to better navigate obstacles to payment. They need payment clarity. This whitepaper illuminates this concept that is winning fans at forward-thinking hospitals.
Financial services staff are always looking for ways to improve the verification, billing and collections processes, and Munson Healthcare is no different. Read about how they streamlined the billing process to produce cleaner bills on the front end and helped financial services staff collect more than $1 million in additional upfront annual revenue in one year.
Effective revenue cycle management can be a challenge for any hospital, but for smaller providers it is even tougher. Read how Wallace Thomson identified unreimbursed procedures, streamlined claims management, and improved its ability to determine charity eligibility.
Before launching an energy-efficiency initiative, it’s important to build a solid business case and understand the funding options and potential incentives that are available. Healthcare leaders should consider taking the steps outlined in the whitepaper to ease the process of gaining approval, piloting, implementing, and supporting sustainability projects. You will find that investing in sustainability and energy efficiency helps hospitals add cash to their bottom line. Discover how hospitals and health systems have various options for funding energy-efficient and renewable-energy initiatives, depending on their current financial structure and strategy.
Health care is a dynamic mergers and acquisitions market with numerous hospitals and health systems contemplating or pursuing formal arrangements with other entities. These relationships often pose a strategic benefit, such as enhancing competencies across the continuum, facilitating economies of scale, or giving the participants a competitive advantage in a crowded market. Underpinning any profitable acquisition is a robust capital planning strategy that ensures an organization reserves sufficient funds and efficiently onboards partners that advance the enterprise mission and values.
The success of healthcare mergers, acquisitions, and other affiliations is predicated in part on available capital, and the need for and sources of funding are considerations present throughout the partnering process, from choosing a partner to evaluating an arrangement’s capital needs to selecting an integration model to finding the right money source to finance the deal. This whitepaper offers several strategies that health system leaders have used to assess and manage capital needs for their growing networks.
Announcements from several commercial payers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) early in 2015 around increased efforts to form value-based contracts with providers seemed to point to an impending rise in risk-based contracting. Rather than wait for disruption from the outside in, health care providers are now making inroads on collaborating with payers on various risk-based contracting models to increase the value of health care from within.
Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is a not-for-profit hospital serving a population of roughly 200,000 in Yuma and the surrounding communities.
Before becoming a ZirMed client, Yuma was attempting to manually monitor hundreds of thousands of charges which led to significant charge capture leakage. Learn how Yuma & ZirMed worked together to address underlying collections issues at the front end, thus increasing Yuma’s overall bottom line.
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services works with partners to audit the market and the facility’s role in that market to identify opportunities for improvement. This approach leads to successes; Kindred’s clinical rehab and management expertise complements our partners’ strengths. Every facility and challenge is unique, and requires a full objective analysis.
As the critical link between patient care and reimbursement, health information enables more complete and accurate revenue capture. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing shares how to achieve cost-effective revenue integrity by your optimizing HIM systems.
Speedier cash flow starts with better CDI and coding. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing explains how providers can improve vital measures of technical and business performance to accelerate cash flow.
Qualified coders are getting harder to come by, and even the most seasoned professional can struggle with the complexity of ICD-10. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing explains how partnerships can help improve coding and other key RCM operations potentially at a cost savings.
The point of managing your revenue cycle isn’t just to improve revenue and cash flow. It’s to do those things effectively by consistently following best practices— while spending as little time, money, and energy on them as possible.
How Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford increased payments received within 45 days by 20% and reduced paper submission claims by 70% by using ZirMed solutions.
The reasons claims are denied are so varied that managing denials can feel like chasing a thousand different tails. This situation is not surprising given that a hypothetical denial rate of just 5 percent translates to tens of thousands of denied claims per year for large hospitals—where real‐world denial rates often range from 12 to 22 percent. Read about how predictive modeling can detect meaningful correlations across claims denials data.
Emergency Mobile Health Care (EMHC) was founded to be and remains an exclusively locally owned and operated emergency medical service organization; today EMHC serves a population of more than a million people in and around Memphis, answering 75,000 calls each year.
Since the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) introduction, CMS has paid more than $100 million in bonus payments to participants. However, these bonuses ended in 2015; providers who successfully meet the reporting requirements in 2016 will avoid the 2% negative payment adjustment in 2018, so now is the time to act! Included in this whitepaper are implications of increasing patient responsibility, collections best practices, and collections and internal control solutions.
Getting paid what your physician deserves—that’s the goal of every biller. Yet even for the best billers, achieving that success can be elusive when denials stand in the way of success, presenting challenges at every turn. Denials aren’t going away, but you can learn techniques to manage and even prevent them.Join practice management expert Elizabeth W. Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, to: Discover methods to translate denial data into business intelligence to improve your bottom line, determine staff productivity benchmarks for billers, and recognize common mistakes in denial management.
Physician practices must improve organizational efficiency to compete in this era of reduced reimbursement and escalating administrative costs.
Many healthcare organizations are pursuing next-generation health information systems solutions. Learn more about Navigant's work with University of Michigan Health System.
The proper implementation of healthcare information technology systems is crucial to an organization’s financial health.
HFMA’s Buyer’s Resource Guide is a comprehensive vendor directory that helps healthcare finance professionals find products and services.
HFMA's print, email, online, and mobile opportunities provide you maximum reach and impact. We will work with you to build a plan that meets your needs. Contact a sales rep.
HFMA's MAP App is a web-based application that helps organizations track results, compare data with peers, and improve revenue cycle performance. Schedule a demo.
Access all the tools and resources you need to develop your personal skills. Organized into distinct career levels, this tool creates a career plan specific to your career goals.
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