Filling Out Your Dance Card: Determining Which Revenue Cycle Management Partner Is Right For Your Practice
Posted on July 21, 2017
Just recently, a longtime partner of ours, a diagnostic services center based in the West, reported to us some truly amazing revenue numbers from last year’s third quarter. PRN is so proud to have been a part of their story from the time they were just one small location barely beginning to tweak their revenue cycle factors.
Working with a revenue cycle management partner should be more than just a decision about “outsourcing” or staying “in-house.” With PRN, those kinds of distinctions feel arbitrary — we want you to consider us as dedicated to you as any in-house department responsible for optimizing your revenue. Typically, we start working with our clients when they reach a size where in-house billing, collections, follow-ups, coding, proofing claims, accuracy audits, tracking HIPAA and other laws, and all the big and small things that make up a healthy revenue cycle, has simply become too much.
Posted on May 19, 2017
Jamie Hernandez, a 41-year-old former Division III soccer player, walks into a physician-owned outpatient surgical center for a knee arthroscopy. Due to an innocent keystroke error, a staff member sends the invoice for Jamie’s procedure to Jaime Hernandez, a 72-year-old retiree who had a total knee replacement at the center a couple of years ago. The error is eventually discovered, of course, when Jaime calls confused about the invoice, and a replacement invoice is quickly sent out to Jamie. By then, however, several weeks have passed, and payment is delayed.
We see scenarios like this play out at our clients’ facilities every day. Nicholas Payne comes in for an MRI in January and ankle surgery in March and ends up with two patient records, under Nicholas Payne and Nick Payne. Claire Boswell has two records, one with her birth year as 1987 and the other listing her as born in 1978. Bill Johnson is one of nine Bill Johnsons in the database, but three of the patient records belong to him, with three different addresses listed.
These things happen—any organization dealing with a lot of data and customer information is bound to end up with a duplicate record problem. Many of our clients are surprised to learn that what seems like a simple administrative issue can cripple your revenue cycle if you let it get out of control. Duplicate patient records and an inaccurate master patient index (MPI) affect your bottom line in multiple ways that can all be detrimental to your organization.1
No More Nightmares: Eliminate Duplicate Records in Your Master Patient Index for a Better Revenue Cycle
Posted on February 15, 2017
Imagine this nightmare scenario: You’ve decided to take a good look at how duplicate patient records might be wreaking havoc in your master patient index (MPI) and handicapping your revenue cycle. You’re relatively certain that a few clerical errors—like transposed dates or letters—led to a small number of duplicate records. That sort of thing happens, after all.
Instead, what you find is a veritable epidemic of patient records that may or may not be duplicates, as well as a long trail of claims denials, appeals, delayed payments, fractured demographic documentation, and already-performed services for which you cannot collect reimbursements because it’s too late to get authorization, and the error was found past the claim-filing deadline. Everywhere, of course, are signs that your staff has spent untold hours trying to fix these problems. There also is evidence of payments that never made it into your revenue cycle, or that did so only after so much rework that your organization likely paid for the privilege of receiving that payment for services rendered.
Of course, it isn’t always such a dire situation when we advise our clients to look into duplicate records issues and clean up their MPI. However, because duplicate records so directly affect revenue cycle, the process is almost always a worthwhile one and can yield hidden revenue and close the gaps on administrative issues.
Posted on October 14, 2016
Working with so many healthcare organizations on facets of revenue cycle management like billing and practice management over the years, we know industry trends can have huge impacts on our clients. From regulatory changes to new technology advancements, changes in the industry affect how our clients do business.
Acquiring or launching a specialty pharmacy practice is one trend we’ve been keeping our eyes on recently. It has grown in popularity due to soaring drug prices. Has your practice thought about how acquiring or building a pharmacy practice might impact your revenue cycle in the short and long term?
Benefits of Acquiring or Launching a Specialty Pharmacy
The trend of pharmacy growth didn’t come about in a vacuum — like most healthcare trends, it grew to fill a gap.
In 2014, the United States spent $124.1 billion on specialty drugs, up from $98.1 billion in 2013. Despite an average growth for pharmaceuticals of 20 percent a year, hospitals fill their own prescriptions less than 20 percent of the time, and clinics and outpatient services are often comparable. This highlights a sizeable gap where practices who might need specialty drugs for patients or procedures are putting a significant portion of their revenue at the mercy of a third party that is not bound by payer contracts or rates.1
Posted on July 15, 2016
Some professions are impossible to contain inside working hours. Teachers work more hours than the school day or school year would suggest, for instance. And we know well that physicians also work far more hours than is revealed by hours billed or patients seen. One of the common refrains we hear from clients who rely heavily on physician practices or physician procedures for their revenue is that physicians spend a great deal of time on patient care activities that can’t be billed because they aren’t direct interactions with patients. For example, if a physician spends an hour every few weeks calling a patient’s cardiologist to ensure they are coordinating care, many practices believe that’s an hour of time that can’t be billed.
Now, however, they could bill for it. And so can your organization. As part of an effort to encourage more emphasis on patient outcomes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last year began allowing Medicare payments under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) for the American Medical Association’s Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code 99490, which covers face-to-face care coordination services for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.
Posted on June 17, 2016
Gone are the days when the good ship Healthcare Practice floated on a sea of paper. Today, most of us work with electronic health record (EHR) systems to do everything from access patient information to streamline lab testing.
As of 2012, 72 percent of physician offices used EHR systems. That’s up from less than 50 percent in 2009, when the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was passed, providing incentives from Medicare and Medicaid to organizations that made a commitment to “meaningful use” of technology and adopting EHR systems.1 Since the 2012 data, we’ve certainly noticed even more healthcare entities adopting EHR systems and upgrading from older ones to new systems.
We worked with a Nevada clinic to help it transition from paper records to an EHR, and another practice as it went from one cloud-based EHR system to another that better suited its needs. Since these were already clients of ours, we were in a position to warn them that EHR migrations often result in unplanned revenue cycle disruptions. Outbound claims can stagnate as staff undergo training and learn the new system. Everyone’s emphasis on revenue optimization can falter as multiple departments prepare for migrating from paper to EHR, or from an existing EHR to a new one.
Posted on May 18, 2016
We sometimes use a pie analogy when working with clients on all the different aspects of revenue cycle management. It helps our clients train their staff if they understand the different steps and how everything must work together and be timed correctly to get a good result. This holds true whether we’re talking about a delicious, made-from-scratch pie or a healthy revenue cycle. When it came to working with providers on October 2015’s ICD-10 implementation, we once again found ourselves breaking out the pie analogy.
Posted on May 5, 2016
Over the past several months, we’ve come to some realizations we hadn’t previously about the recent ICD-10 transition: Many healthcare organizations who used the grace period leading up to ICD-10’s official arrival to prepare were blindsided by the little ways ICD-10 immediately impacted what they thought were small areas of their revenue cycle.1
By any measurement, and in any context, going from 13,000 of something to 68,000 of something is a big jump. When we’re talking about codes used to drive the payments and reimbursements of one of our country’s most crucial and complex industries — healthcare — it’s easy to see why the ICD-10 transition is considered one of the most important changes in the field in a generation. For the most part, it looks like the big-picture transition has gone very smoothly for almost all healthcare entities and payers — everyone is mostly using the right codes and not seeing a drastic rise in rejected claims or other issues.
Posted on April 21, 2016
When we meet with clients, we often discuss several different audit streams that help us evaluate their revenue cycle and ways to improve it. One area that we’ve found to be of particular frustration for many practices is HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification requirements. Compliance with these requirements is key to an organization’s revenue cycle, and important for its ability to better deliver patient services. Still, many practices feel the process for phasing in these requirements is too costly, and they have a hard time getting past that. This reluctance to see past the expense of compliance reminds us of an important reason why we work with our clients to see the big picture of the revenue cycle as well as the details.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to see the connection between all the rules and regulations that govern our healthcare ecosystem and the bottom line at your organization. Often, it feels like we’re dealing with compliance issues on a different plane than financial or revenue matters, when really they should be in the same conversation. HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification regulations have been phased in over the past five years and will continue under the Affordable Care Act. They live up to their billing — the changes you’ve already implemented at your organization to comply with these rules actually do simplify your life and help your revenue cycle.
Posted on April 14, 2016
If you’re an executive in the healthcare industry in 2016, you know one of your primary concerns is how to prevent a healthcare data breach. We discuss patient health information security, healthcare IT, new types of hacker attacks, and the latest breaches with our clients on a daily basis. It’s on all of our minds all the time.
Last year alone, the Office of Civil Rights recorded 253 data breaches that put 112 million private health records at risk.1 This is no longer “the IT person’s problem.” Bolstering an organization’s defenses against a data breach should be a cross-departmental initiative driven by leadership.