Category: Blog

Auto & Lease: More Amazing Than Even I Believed!

Through my role at Educators Credit Union, it’s essential that I have a good to excellent understanding of our services and products. I regularly write about Auto & Lease and the benefits it offers to our members, but it wasn’t until recently that I truly understood how easy it makes shopping for a car.
My wife and I weren’t actively shopping for a new car, but the dealer allegedly had a fantastic trade-in offer to make. We went in, heard what the dealer was offering, and decided that if the price was right, we were interested. I paused and thought, “Wait, Educators has something for this.”
I drove over to the Educators Credit Union Sturtevant branch and was almost immediately connected with a vehicle specialist. We quickly told him exactly what was happening, from the trade-in value we were being offered, the monthly payment we had on our current vehicle, the cost of the car we wanted, and the payment we wanted.
In no time, they armed us with resources to go back to the dealer. He confirmed that the cost of the trade in was right where it should be. Using Educators Credit Union’s preferred dealer network, he let us know that the dealership would give us a no-haggle price $350 below inventory pricing. Then he helped us check our credit scores so that we could see what type of loan and rate we’d be getting. Everything we did at Auto & Lease took substantially less time than the dealer just giving us an offer for my trade.
After being loaded up with information, I went back to the dealer, told them exactly what I had learned and the deal was done! There wasn’t any driving around searching for a better offer, further haggling, or upselling for additional features, it was all as easy as it could have been.
While not every experience will be identical, I now personally believe the only way to shop for a car is with Auto & Lease. They help remove the stress and worry that comes with car buying. Just having someone on my team helped make everything more manageable in the long run.
To learn more about what Auto & Lease can do for you, visit the Auto & Lease page.
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Integrations: The Missing Piece to Optimizing Your Workflow

Although the term integration may seem like a word reserved for only the most tech-savvy, it’s actually an essential software function that can drastically streamline your practice. Think about it like this: if you’ve ever had a patient who does not speak your language, you’ve probably had to bring in a translator in order to communicate effectively. You speak to the translator who, in turn, speaks to the patient. An integration is just like that, except between two pieces of software. Simply put, an integration is when two pieces of software “talk” to each other. This is typically achieved by removing the “translator” completely, enabling the programs to speak the same language.
QGenda supports a multitude of integrations that enable third-party software to pull data from, or push data to, the system. QGenda takes an open approach to integrations – we offer a REST API, as well as flat-file integration options, to allow for several channels of communication between our software and others used by your practice. Even if you have homegrown software, QGenda can likely send and/or receive data from your system to streamline your processes.
So, why would you want to set up an integration with QGenda? One of the most common integrations we see is between QGenda and a clinical communication system. QGenda can partner with any major clinical communication vendor to streamline the clinical communication process in your practice. Schedules are created in QGenda and automatically populate the call schedule so that the right provider can be called at the right time. This integration even allows your providers to swap at the last second without running the risk of having an out-of-date communication system.
In addition to clinical communication, QGenda can also integrate directly with payroll processors to convey schedule and pay data. Instead of spending hours calculating beeper fees, QGenda can pull that information right off of the schedule, make the calculations, and export to your payroll processor for checks to be cut, saving your practice valuable time and stress.
Integrations with QGenda have been utilized for communication, payroll, resident management, daily case scheduling, and much more. Long story short, integrations can help avoid duplicate entry and mistakes in all your systems and ultimately create a single source-of-truth for your practice.
Interested in learning more about QGenda and our integration capabilities? Schedule a demo or contact your Customer Success Consultant today!
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Apply Now for the 2019 Educators Credit Union Scholarship

The deadline to apply for the Educators Credit Union 2019 Scholarship is March 1! Once again, Educators is awarding 35 graduating high school seniors with $2,000 each for their higher education.
To qualify for an Educators Scholarship, the student must:

Be the primary owner of an active account (Prime Share Savings) at Educators Credit Union at the time of application.
Be enrolled in a Dane, Green, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Walworth, Washington, or Waukesha County high school.*
Be eligible for graduation at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of first-semester senior year.
Be accepted to an accredited college or technical school at the time of award.
Show a demonstration of one of the core values of Educators Credit Union.

Educators Credit Union has awarded $170,000 to area high schoolers since 2016. To apply and learn more about the process, check out our Scholarship page.
*Students participating in a home-based educational program, privately operated correspondence or virtual school must reside in the qualifying counties listed above. Applicants attending these programs must also provide proof of enrollment with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (form PI-1206) for the 2018-2019 school year, ACT or SAT scores, and any records relating to curriculum and academic progress.
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February 2019 Member Focus

Check out the latest version of the Member Focus! This month we introduce members to the new Member Loyalty Reward, celebrate the Saver’s Sweepstakes winners and talk about saving on your taxes.
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Considering Data Security in Selecting Software for Your Practice

Although scheduling information does not typically require the same level of confidentiality that patient information demands, setting high standards for data privacy and security within your entire software stack better protects your practice.
Did you know that Privacy and Data Security are two different things? Privacy refers to how your data is used, while Data Security refers to how well that data itself is protected from external attacks.
For example, think about it in terms of HIPAA: patient names and dates of birth are private and cannot be shared for unintended purposes. Even if that information is treated as private and not shared inappropriately, the system breaks down if it is left unprotected due to poor data security.
In this blog we will focus primarily on security, but you can learn more about QGenda’s commitment to privacy in our Privacy Policy.
 
Any company can claim that they take precautions with data security, but independent compliance standards help to provide meaningful information when choosing a piece of software to trust with your data. One of the best-known compliance audits is SOC 2, which evaluates the management of customer data based on specific “trust service principles.” QGenda’s SOC 2 report focused on: (1) security, (2) availability, and (3) confidentiality. SOC 2 reports are broken down into two separate standards.* The first, Type I, analyzes the suitability of the design of controls to determine whether or not it is capable of meeting the required standard. The second, Type II, tests the operating effectiveness of these controls.
If you’re an IT Professional, you probably already know what to look out for in terms of data security, especially when selecting a cloud-based solution. But if you’re not, here are some questions that you should be asking:

How does the system grant access to users?
How are public-facing portions of your software protected?
Are you HIPAA-compliant?

QGenda takes security seriously, as evidenced by our commitment to obtaining an annual SOC 2 report. You can rest assured that we are utilizing the best available safeguards to protect your data.
Additionally, if you are already a QGenda customer, we also employ other security features you may not be aware of that help protect your practice:

Single Sign On: If your group uses an Active Directory, QGenda can be configured to grant access using your existing usernames and passwords. This enables your providers to use the same password they use for other accounts, as well as centralizing your group’s security management.
Landing Page IP Restrictions: Every time you access something on the Internet, your device sends an IP address as a part of the process, signaling where your access is coming from. QGenda can restrict landing pages so that only devices on your practice’s secure network can access schedule data on the public-facing landing page.
Secure Messaging: QGenda provides HIPAA-compliant** secure messaging to keep your providers connected and protected. Messages are encrypted to keep your patients’ information secure. Already have a messaging system? We readily integrate with TigerText and several other clinical communication platforms.

If you have additional questions about how QGenda secures your information, schedule a demo or reach out to your designated Customer Success Consultant today!
 
 

*https://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/frc/assuranceadvisoryservices/aicpasoc2report.html
**In order to be HIPAA compliant, QGenda and the practice in question must sign a BAA. This can be arranged easily by any QGenda consultant.
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What You Need to Know for Tax Season

Tax season is here, and Educators Credit Union wants to make sure you avoid any problems filing this spring. We have put together a list of must-dos as you submit your taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

Taxes are due by Monday, April 15. Make sure you have everything sent to the IRS by that date. The government requires that all tax documents be delivered by Jan. 31. If you have not received a tax document you are expecting by then, follow up with the organization that is sending you the document.
When arranging a direct deposit for a tax refund, make sure to use your correct 11-digit account number. Educators members can find their account numbers on the bottom of their checks or can ask for it at a branch or by calling 262.886.5900. Your statements and Online Banking do not have your full account number.
If you do not use the correct account number, you are liable for lost refunds. Double check that you are providing accurate information. The IRS uses account numbers, not names, to verify payment. If an issue occurs, contact the IRS right away. Visit www.IRS.gov for contact information.
Having a professional file your taxes? Thoroughly review your tax agreement before handing over valuable information. Avoid hidden fees or agreeing to something that doesn’t sound right. Do your research beforehand to make sure you are using a quality service. Never agree to let a tax professional deposit your return into their account first and then give it to you.

We hope these tips can help protect you this tax season. If you have additional questions about filing your taxes, please contact a tax professional for assistance.
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Thank You For Voting Us Best of Milwaukee

For the third year in a row, Educators Credit Union has been named the “Best of Milwaukee!” The Shepherd Express revealed the winners of its Best of Milwaukee poll at a banquet on Jan. 22, 2019. They revealed that Educators Credit Union came out on top in four categories.
In this year’s poll, our members voted for us as the:

Best Credit Union
Best Financial Institution for Getting a Business Loan
Best Financial Institution for Getting a Mortgage
Best Financial Institution for Opening a Checking Account

Shepherd Express put the poll up online in November. Voters then went online and selected their choices in every category.
Thank you to everyone who voted for Educators Credit Union. We appreciate your continued support!
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New Year, New Schedule

Here we are, just a few weeks into the New Year – how are those New Year’s resolutions going? The beginning of the year is a great time to review your practice/hospital system goals and to align your scheduling practices to match them. We’re here to help you do just that!
Below are just a few resolutions to consider for your practice, along with some practical ideas to help you keep with them this year!
 
Resolution 1: Utilize Resources More Efficiently
Creating a schedule without the right staffing is like following a recipe without the right ingredients: the end result will never be quite right. If you are under-staffed, this can cause major issues within your practice, such as losing time for patient care due to holes in the schedule or even reducing quality of care due to physician burnout. On the other hand, overstaffing or inefficient allocation of resources can be a significant waste of money for your organization. Thus, the beginning of the year is a good time to analyze your resources and make the appropriate changes. Here are a few ideas to consider:

If you often lacked coverage in your schedule last year, comparing lost profits to the cost of a locum or new staff member can help guide hiring decisions. Be sure to consider whether the shortages were seasonal or consistent throughout the year.
Consider restricting the number of providers who are able to take off on any given day. Maximizing efficiency may also require varying the restriction based on the day of the week or on the specialty of the providers..
If you were typically overstaffed and consistently gave unplanned days off, consider splitting heavier shifts to disperse the workload. This can improve quality of care by increasing the attention patients receive and decreasing the risk of provider burnout. More intensive solutions include increasing patient load, moving to a 4-day work week, or reducing your total FTE.

 
Resolution 2: Spend Less Time Making Schedules and Release Them Earlier
Creating a schedule can get complex pretty quickly, especially for a practice or department with many moving parts. While this resolution might seem like wishful thinking, scheduling software offers many tools to simplify your process and reduce your workload.  

If you are drafting the schedule by hand, consider using automation software. Whether you automate your whole schedule or just a portion of it, you can reduce your workload dramatically. Software is much quicker when making calculations regarding different specialties, availability, FTEs, multiple locations, and other complicating factors.
If you spend a lot of time reviewing the schedule, whether ensuring adequate coverage, counting shifts, or analyzing the distribution of assignments, then the statistics tool in your scheduling software can greatly increase your efficiency.
The time savings from points 1 and 2 above can allow you to make the schedule further in advance or for a longer period of time. In turn, this can allow you to be proactive in anticipating and correcting areas of over-/understaffing. This benefits providers as well, increasing job satisfaction by allowing them to better plan around their work schedule.

 
Resolution 3: Consolidate Schedule Information to Improve Workflow
Our final resolution for medical organizations in 2019 allows you to eliminate unnecessary work and make better decisions at the same time.

If your group frequently experiences errors with transcription or spends time entering the same information in multiple places, consider adopting a tool that centralizes the collection and distribution of schedules. This will reduce errors and eliminate the time spent duplicating entries. It’s an added bonus if this tool can also integrate with other system that you currently use, such as payroll or communication systems.
If you would like to make it easier to access information when making important business decisions, consolidating your schedule information ensures that all such data is easily accessed from a central location. A scheduling solution that includes (or integrates with) payroll and time clock software takes this consolidation to the next level.

 
As 2019 continues to take  hold, we here are QGenda hope that these resolutions help you optimize your scheduling process throughout the year!
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Member Loyalty has changed for 2019!

It’s a new Member Loyalty Reward for a new year! Educators Credit Union members can now unlock up to $165 for participating in Member Loyalty. All you need is an active checking account.
An active checking account is when:

You deposit a check, receive an electronic deposit from a non-Educators Credit Union account, or receive a payroll direct deposit into your checking account at least once a month.
You make at least five transactions each month. These transactions can be any combination of using your debit card, writing a check, making an automatic withdrawal or using Bill Pay. It does not include ATM withdrawals.

Once you have an active checking account, you can start building your rewards up each month! The money you earn is then deposited into your account on Nov. 30.
Click here to see what you need to unlock the maximum payout of $165!
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Happy Cut Your Energy Costs Day!

It’s National Cut Your Energy Costs Day! To help you get in the spirit, we’re giving you five ways you can reduce your energy costs to get a little extra money in your savings account.

Seal your house! It’s Wisconsin and it’s winter. That means the elements are working against us when it comes to keeping our homes a comfortable temperature. Having a window and door inspection to ensure there’s no extra draft can be huge when it comes to reducing the cold air coming in. Also, you can buy plastic insulation that attaches to your windows or a draft blocker for your door to ensure your fighting off as much of the cold as possible.
Completely turn off or unplug the devices you’re not using. Laptop chargers, DVD players or desktop computers left on are costing you money, even when they’re not being used. Shut these devices down completely to save on energy that’s being completely wasted.
Lower the temperature on your water heater. Lowering your water heater’s set temperature from the standard 140 degrees to 120 reduces the time it’s running, therefore saving you costs to heat water you might not even use.
Program your thermostat. Have a thermostat you can set? Change it so that the temperature is lower when you are at work or sleeping. Then you’ll be saving costs without even thinking about it. Set it to start warming up 15 minutes before you arrive home and you’ll have a toasty home again in no time.
Use LED bulbs. Replacing your lighting with strictly LED bulbs can have its upfront cost, but studies show it can save you up to $75 per year. These bulbs also last longer than your typical fluorescent light bulb. If you get a smart bulb, you can even track your energy usage straight from your app.

Have more ways to save on energy? Let us know in the comments!
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