The Business Time - Ron Decker


Ron Decker in server room

Ron Decker combines IT success with Edmond living

I looked over two interviews a few days ago; the first was in 2001and the second just a few weeks ago. I reread the articles because I was interested in how much of the non-business related questions asked, I used to reference my family. I noticed that, in a more recent interview, I spent a lot of time talking about my personal life (family, hobbies, etc.). Unlike the new, the old 2001 was filled with comments only a young CEO, trying to capitalize on every marketing opportunity out there, would make.

Well, ten years after the interview in 2001 and just a week after the recent interview, I understand the two couldn’t differ much more— even tonally. The opportunistic, jumpy feel of the one in 2001 pervaded much of my responses. Whereas the newest one lacks the obviously inherent stresses of first-go business owners, and those insecurities that trickle down your back like goose bumps when anyone asks anything about the company.

I started the company in 1996 with the idea managing personal relationships required a sensible amount of rigor. My wife and kids understood the sacrifices I was going to have to make in order for my vision to become a tangible reality, but no one— including me— understood what my new vision would demand from me for over ten years.

It takes a long time and many more sacrifices to come back from the mindset “grow, grow, grow,” to where family and work appear more balanced and where the unconscious comments are filled with family instead of proclamations about why people should buy what’s being sold.

I don’t know how to reconcile the fact that in order for a company to prosper, one must, in a way, put life on hold and dedicate every molecular trace of imagination, energy, and time into harvesting this new opportunity, and consciously surmising that sacrifices, both good and bad will follow. But I think that’s what creates the appeal—it’s what makes business the double-edged sword that either saves or destroys.

My newest interview revealed two things: one, the early, vigorous investments a small company demands in the beginning translates into farsightedness at the office and nearsightedness at home; and two, my life slowly keeps coming back together.

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5010 - So What or Oh No!


Ninety days and counting, what’s all the fuss?  In January 2009, the HHS Secretary adopted the changes to replace the current version of the X12 standards for covered entities as a part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).  The regulations were adopted March 17, 2009 and Level I compliance began December 31, 2010 with Level II compliance by December 31, 2011[i], 86 days away, blah, blah, blah.  I know, “don’t you know I’m in health care, HIPAA is old news, we’re compliant with all of this stuff, and I don’t have time to mess with this”.

If your health care reimbursement is dependent on a third party payor paying a claim, you should take time to read the opening paragraph again.  Because if you haven’t confirmed that your covered entities, ie., software, billing company, and clearinghouse can handle the CMS changes, your “post-holiday” surprise may be lower reimbursement.   Oh but there’s more, once your covered entities have been confirmed, you must rely on reimbursement analytical tools to confirm that all your payors are paying to your pay to address.  This may actually be the biggest hurdle to overcome because of the changes in the address requirements under the regulations.

Below are three questions about the changes with regard to the “Billing Provider Address” in Regulation 5010 from a WEDI FAQ publication[ii].

  • Question: Can I report a PO Box address in the Billing Provider Address fields?
    • Response: No. The Billing Provider Address reported in N3 must be a street address.  This includes lock boxes or lock bins, and will obviously cause a problem if a provider or billing service has not made the necessary changes.


  • Question: I did not use my street address when I enrolled with my payers. Will this cause a problem?
    • Response: It might. Many payers use the address on their provider files that you provided at initial enrollment. You may not need to submit any changes to the payer if you want to receive payment exactly as you do today and you will be using the 5010 provider loops correctly.  These obviously should be reviewed if you have billing under a provider number/identifier that hasn’t been updated for some time.


  • Question: My current street address does not match my street address in the NPI database. Will this cause a problem?
    • Response: It might. Payers might use the NPI database, known as the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) update these as soon as possible.


Obviously, these changes will have an effect on many providers, billing companies and office staff, either directly or indirectly.   Innovative Healthcare Systems has been working on the 5010 project for many months.  We recognize that even with research, understanding and modifications to our system, when dependent on others to adopt change as well, that changes like these do not contain some risk.  Consequently, we have put in a second layer or contingency plan in place and are confident that we are ready.  For our clients, reimbursement is our greatest focus.  Providing peace of mind is a benefit that results from that focus.

For providers and billing staff, there will be no delay on the January 1st timeline.  Act now to contact your software vendor, billing company representative or clearinghouse.  You are the person that can determine whether winter 2012 will be a “So What or Oh No!”

© 2011 – Ron M Decker

Ron Decker’s Blog – rmdmusing

Twitter -  RonMDecker

[i] CMS – U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services – Versions 5010 & D.0 & 3.0 – Overview

[ii] WEDI – 5010 837 – Billing Provider Address – Frequently Asked Questions – April 28, 2011

On vs. In: Being "Productive"


We have all done it, you know, spend an hour, two, maybe an entire morning working in a frenzied pace. On emails, tasks maybe even a short 15 minute project, darting here and there, “doing” the work that we do. But were we productive?  Can we come to the end of this time and really feel satisfied by what we produced?  Did we just spend our valuable time working “in” the business?

Technology, Health Care, Politics, the Economy, no matter what the subject or industry, we are all subjected to increasing amounts of content that contain unprecedented changes.  ACO’s in health care, Web 2.0 in technology, Philosophies within the political parties and Local vs. Global economic shifts in buying and selling of goods and services, all issues that have the potential to change nations, companies, not-for-profits and most importantly people.

With so much happening in our world it’s easy to get caught up in the do!  There is so much access to information, after all we are living in the “information” age. In Mindy Holahan’s column Cultivating Deliberate Focus she references a section of Todd Henry’s book, The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice“Because we tend to gravitate toward possibilities…We can quickly become fascinated with new ideas or bounce from unsolved problem to unsolved problem without really solving any of them…The only solution is to stop living reactively and instill a new practice for thinking deeply about your work” – The Accidental Creative, pages 69-70

I prefer to reference this shift as working “on” instead of  “in” your business, work, job, etc.  Sure, you have responsibilities, duties and tasks, but we are all paid to produce, whether we delight in the thought or not, there is a reason one of the most salient of economic indicators is the GDP, or Gross Domestic Product.  The problem evolves over time as our productive processes include getting feedback.

The feedback or stimulus becomes incessant, email relentlessly pinging our desktop, has added to, not replaced the paper based inbox.  Meetings offer an exchange of ideas or information rarely producing an outcome.  The point is to recognize your surroundings, as Mindy suggests and I would agree that the solutions sound simple however you must recognize the problem, then act.  Many tools are available, systems written about, but the 1st step is the 1st step.  Recognize that your current process is forcing you to work in your work not on your work.

At that moment, whatever system, process or tool you engage will be focussed on creating, designing, and liberating a more productive you.