The Greenway Blog

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ICD-10: Timing is everything [PODCAST]

Nancy EnosAs the transition to ICD-10 gets closer, there are many actions your practice needs to take to prepare: implementing the right technology, training your staff and testing with payers, to name a few.

But none of these preparations will be effective if you don’t take one overarching factor into consideration: timing. As simple as that may sound, there’s more to timing your preparations than the ultimate date of Oct. 1, 2015. Having the right code set uploaded into your EHR by the date of the transition, for example, will only be beneficial if you’ve also taken the time to train your staff and adjust your workflows accordingly.

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Meaningful use: 90-day 2015 reporting period officially proposed

meaningful-use-90-daysThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made good on its earlier promise to propose a 90-day-only reporting period for 2015 meaningful use. The agency released the proposal late last Friday, and it also includes a variety of changes to lower some reporting requirements and align them with upcoming Stage 3 objectives. The proposal makes it clear that 2014 certified software is needed to meet meaningful use from this year onward.

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Point-of-service technology: The tool you need to improve patient collections

Marketplace-Blog-Update-icon-April1015Collecting money from patients has never been more difficult than it is now. In the face of regulatory programs and payment reform, many practices are forced to write off as much as 40-50 percent of patient payments as bad debt. The increase in high deductible health plans has caused patient responsibility to more than double in the last seven years and now results in 32 percent of practice receivables for most practices. On top of that, an astounding 30 percent of patients leave their clinician’s office without making any payment.

Practices must refuse to accept this status quo by adopting technologies that can help reverse the tide in patient collections.

A consistent revenue cycle management (RCM) process can help organizations manage cash flow and ensure a steady revenue stream. But this goes beyond standard RCM protocols, which require extensive paperwork and administrative oversight that can be prohibitively expensive for many practices. The most effective RCM processes are driven by advanced point-of-service (POS) platforms integrated with the practice’s electronic health record (EHR) or practice management (PM) system. This helps practices maximize collection opportunities across the patient encounter — from scheduling to the exam to post-visit communications.

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Interoperability: Roadmapping Provider Advocacy on Data Exchange

In Washington, D.C., no aspect of healthcare delivery and technology is getting more attention than interoperability, even outpacing Medicare reimbursement.

Congressional bills, federal advisory boards, payers and healthcare trade associations are all calling for more streamlined, scalable and interconnected data liquidity, each with often disparate timelines and approaches.

Into the mix, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) – a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – published in January a 166-page document titled “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap.”

The document seeks to bridge all stakeholders, including providers, around developing collaborative approaches to data exchange governance, data provenance and security, technical standards, measurement, innovation, patient engagement and a host of other factors, and assign specific Calls to Action for stakeholders segments that together would plot out a 10-year plan to achieve a “learning health system” driven by data exchange.

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Medicare Reimbursements: Financial Stability and Change Accompany Mounting Permanent “Doc Fix”

stethoscope-dollar-sign-medicareIt won’t happen all at once, but the impact on how providers are paid by Medicare is taking on an accountable care structure based on Congressional legislation poised to finally end nearly 20 years of balanced budget distress via the failed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula begun in 1997.

The U.S. House on March 26 passed a bill to establish a permanent fix to Medicare reimbursements and avoid the history of pay cut threats and funding patches. The Senate is prepared to take up the bill in mid-April after the Easter recess. Senate leaders predict it will pass there and the Obama administration has already announced it will sign the bill.

Given the technical funding cut deadline of March 31, and as to whether providers will experience a 21-percent cut in the meantime, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) noted in an email March 27 that electronic claims are not paid until at least 14 calendar days after they are received, providing something of a cushion before doctors may feel any short-term cut. This could allow enough time for the bill to become law, but we will be watching for any updates.

How the new system will pay

The overall provisions mirror last year’s delayed legislation and seek to establish annual payment increases and phase out fee-for-service reimbursements in lieu of a provider scoring system based on several aspects of quality reporting. The process would bundle meaningful use (MU), the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and value-based modifier (VBM) reporting and end those specific payment adjustments, though other adjustments would replace them along with a financial risk factor similar to those in CMS accountable care organizations (ACOs).

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HIMSS 2015: How to get connected during the conference

HIMSS-15-Greenway-HealthAs an event that brings together 38,000 healthcare IT professionals, clinicians and vendors, it’s no surprise that the annual HIMSS conference can be a bit intimidating.

To make sure you have the best experience possible in 2015, here are a few tips for getting connected — to your peers, educational opportunities and fun — during this year’s conference.

Before the show

Don’t wait until you’ve arrived at the conference to decide which of the 300-plus educational sessions to attend. Make your game plan well before the event begins.

Is there a specific challenge your practice is facing? Do you want to reinforce your existing knowledge or explore new domains? Once you know your areas of interest, you can find sessions that are tailored to you.

Here are some of the sessions and booths we recommend:

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