September 5, 2012 in Blog by support Team | 2 Comments
With Healthcare costs increasing at a rapid rate in the United States, there are a number of payment models being investigated that look to encourage preventative care while reducing costs. Although most practices generate the majority of their revenue from Fee for Service insurance products, there is much talk as well as movement related to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The concept of ACOs is that an organization manages a large group of providers and hospital systems to provide patient care. The ACO and the providers would be compensated for management of a population. The leaders in this field are exploring many different methods for payment – a set fee per patient for all care, bundled payment per episode of care as well as other risk sharing arrangements. ACOs are most thought about as hospital systems that purchased provider groups (e.g. Integrated Delivery Systems) and form an ACO entity. In this case, the Pediatric Group would need to be owned by the hospital system to participate in the ACO.
Although the Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has the most publicity, the commercial payers are beginning to experiment with ACO payment models as well. The Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO shares the savings of ACO effort between the ACO and CMS (the providers continue to receive Fee for Service payments at this time).
There is another type of ACO model known as the Virtual ACO or community ACO. This model would be an organization that is the contracting agent with payers and would like to privately owned practices. For example, ABC Pediatrics (privately own), could participate in a virtual ACO without selling their practice. The virtual ACO would develop the guidelines on how to participate as well as the payment stream. There is much question as to how this will impact Pediatrics. The good news is that private practices should not be required to sell their practices as the ACO model evolves.
Practices and practice managers should continue to keep an eye on the payment methods in the field. Improper coding as well as low collection rate continues to be a very common issue with Practices that if managed appropriately, optimize the revenue to the practice. In Pediatrics, this requires a team that receives routing training in Pediatric coding, systems that gain intelligence as payers change reimbursement policies and consistently reporting and follow-up. So although there is much talk and experimentation with new payment models, most practices need to look how to appropriately manage the revenue cycle in today’s payment system.
July 10, 2012 in EHR Selection by support Team | Comments Off on How Aligned are your consultants to the Goals of Your Pediatric Practice?
A Pediatric practice needs to successfully work with both internal and external stakeholders to be successful. These stakeholders include employees and external vendors/companies and sometimes, consultants. There can be misalignment of the goals of each of these stakeholders with the goals of your Pediatric Practice. There are a number of questions to ask a consultant to insure they represent your best interests.
Some of these questions could include:
-Is the consultant recommending a product or service due to an alliance with their firm or due to quality of the product for your practice? For instance, a company that sells servers will have a bias to recommend server E.H.R. systems due to their revenue being made based on providing advice and maintaining servers. If a consultant speaks at an event sponsored by a Vendor, this might indicate that there is a bias for this vendor. A question to ask: Is the speaking engagement with a particular vendor due to the vendor providing them customers that they can charge their consultant service and do they speak equally at events for all vendors in the same state (not just the ones that send them practices)?
-Having a consultant choose an E.H.R. service, could cause a Pediatric office to obtain an ‘old’ technology product or a product that does not appropriately balance the revenue/cost needs of the practice with the desire for a consultant to provide a service. Some consultants might not have the technical expertise to make the ‘right’ decision for your Pediatric Practice. Recommend asking any “E.H.R. consultant” how long they have managed a practice as well as their experiences with optimizing revenue for a practice (there are many with great experiences and unfortunately some with none to minimal experience). Equal time should be spent discussing the revenue cycle/practice management as well as clinical aspects of the E.H.R.. Consulting advice should look to optimize revenue, minimize burden, cost and start-up time. The practice is ‘on the hook’ for long-term operation of a system/process and the receiving end of decisions made regarding a system.
-Does this consultant make more or less money if the practice identifies a solution that requires minimal work on their part? Why would a consultant that charges by the hour (whether paid for by the practice or the government) seek a system that reduces billable hours? The long-term operational burdens are the responsibilities of the practice not a consultant.
Exceptional consultants with a solid history should be able to balance the needs of their clients with the need to optimize their own billable hours. Great consultants know and understand the revenue cycle and provide hints on how to reduce administrative burdens of Pediatric Practices. With all the conflicting priorities and needs of a Pediatric Practice, it is important for a practice owner to select the ‘best’ consultants/advisors for their particular needs.
April 13, 2012 in Blog by support Team | Comments Off on Continuity of Care in Pediatric Practices & the Link to Cloud-Based E.H.R. Systems
While at the pharmacy waiting for prescription Medication, I experienced the gap in knowledge by the average patient. One patient requested a medication to treat his wife’s pink eye from the pharmacist. When she explained that his wife will need an antibiotic he asked if he could use the antibiotic he was using to treat his ears. She explained to him that his wife needed a health care provider to exam her then based on the diagnosis, prescribe the appropriate medication for her red eyes. The husband was not coordinating care with his wife’s primary care physician.
Many in the health care system are missing the big picture when they do not call their primary care physician. In pediatrics, the outcome of the patient can be improved via strong continuity of care. If a patient is atopic and calls the office about a reaction to a medication, the pediatrician can use this information to appropriately manage the patient as well as record the incidence in the patient’s history. From the patient’s point of view, strong coordination with their pediatric office could reduce their burden and costs associated with using the Emergency Room. The pediatrician receives calls after office hours. The information available to the pediatrician should be able to be accessed easily at any time. Cloud-based Pediatric E.H.R. systems provide the best option for easy access to patient information on multiple devices in multiple locations…smart phones, IPads, lap tops, home computers. Who wants the burden of ‘dial in’ to the office server as well as maintaining constant security of the server?
As coordination of care continues to evolve as well as the option in wireless devices, Pediatricians can continue to reduce admin burden, costs and improve continuity of care with cloud-based E.H.R. Systems.