Episode 62 - There's Growth Ahead: GRS for OBGYN Practices
Kristin Salagaj, practice administrator, and Bonnie Dickie, business manager/privacy officer at Omega Ob-Gyn Associates, share revenue cycle management tips for OB-GYN practices. Plus, gain insight into the practice’s decision-making process for adding revenue cycle management services. And since there’s nothing holding back Omega OB-Gyn, our guests discuss how they’ve grown their practice and what’s in store for the future.
Joe: We're talking about revenue cycle management for your OBGYN practice. We'll get down to some nuts and bolts of revenue cycle management and hear from a practice utilizing Greenway revenue services, how they use it on a daily basis, and advice for other providers they would have who may be considering GRS for their OBGYN practice. This is "Putting Possibility into Practice" and it starts right now.
I'm Joe Agostinelli, the social media manager at Greenway Health, and welcome to another episode of our podcast, "Putting Possibility into Practice". We are talking about revenue cycle management for OBGYN practices. I will be joined by Kristin Salagaj, she's the practice administrator at Omega Ob-Gyn, and also Bonnie Dickey, the business manager and privacy officer. We'll talk a little bit about Greenway revenue services, their relationship with our team, how we partnered with their practice, and advice for other providers who may be considering revenue cycle management services. Kristin and Bonnie, thank you for joining me on this episode.
Kristin: Thank you.
Bonnie: You're welcome.
Joe: First off, a little bit of background of Omega Ob-Gyn for our listeners, where are you guys located, types of services that you offer, and the history of the practice.
Bonnie: Well, we are located in North Texas. We have three offices; one in Arlington, Texas, one in Mansfield, Texas, and one in Grand Prairie, Texas. Omega was established in 1985 by three providers, Dr. John Pickel, Dr. Steven Seligman, and Dr. James Bertel [SP]. Dr. Bertel, we lost him probably...it's been 10 years ago. And, Dr. Pickel just retired at the first of this year, but we still have Dr. Seligman with us going strong. In addition to Dr. Seligman, we have seven other MDs. We have several other nurse practitioners that are also associated with our office. And, we deal mainly in OBGYN and obstetrician services.
Joe: Find out more information about their practice by visiting their website at www.omegaobgynassociates.com. And we're talking about revenue cycle management. So, what's the process for deciding to seek out revenue services?
Kristin: Well, initially we just felt like we were losing track of all of the insane rules and regulations and changes that were going on with the insurance companies and our Medicaid programs. And, we thought that we just wanted to...we felt like we needed a bigger team of knowledgeable people to have more idea of payers and the market behind us to help us get paid, and fight claims, and all of that.
So, what we did is we reached to our Greenway rep, and he sat down with me to discuss how they had helped other practices in our area and other practices that were in Texas in our specialty and just kind of showed me some numbers in how they were able to help other practices. And then, from there, we went to meet with the doctors, and the doctors saw actual numbers, how they felt like they could help us as a practice. It wasn't a giant leap because we didn't really need help as far as collections but we did need help moving forward because we were going to practice. So, we knew that it was a good call versus hiring more people within, and it would just streamline the process for billing and for our patients who needed help with questions about their bills, that sort of thing. So, the doctors decided to just give it a go and try it out.
Joe: And, how does the practice use the services on a daily basis in regards to an OBGYN practice? Are there unique features that you guys are using as an OBGYN practice?
Bonnie: Actually, there is. One of the latest things that we asked them to do was we wanted to be able to write our OB patients to their phone services for them to actually review the OB benefits with the patient. So it just takes off some of the work from our OB coordinators and give them extra time to do their duties here in the office. And that's working out really well. The patient is called by our office and then they're told that they can call back this 800 number, and they can get their complete benefits from the phone team there at GRS.
It's nice because they take all of our billing phone calls for gen patients and for OB patients. That's a big load off of an office when you don't have those phone calls coming in all the time. The staff over there at GRS has been...they're very trained. They're very knowledgeable and able to answer the questions according to our practice and how we want things handled and answered. And of course they can always reach back out to the practice if the patient needs more assistance or has questions that only the office could answer. They always are able to reach back out to us. In addition to that, they also send our claims into the insurance company. They work those claims. When they come back, if there are any appeals needed, phone calls needed, they stay on top of that. They put it in their calendars, they keep making the phone calls, and so they can get that claim actually paid. And that's something else that takes a lot out of the business office. We are sitting on hold waiting for those insurance companies. To have them take that time and do it for you is just so beneficial to get your day-to-day duties taken care of in a more efficient manner.
Joe: And it sounds like you are pleased with the relationship that you have with your GRS team. And the reason I ask that...I think when some folks at practices hear that their providers may be considering bringing in an outside team, maybe jobs are going to be at stake, maybe there's going to be a cutback. But, explain your relationship with your GRS team and how you guys work together.
Bonnie: We've been able to work together just because it's like another group of employees with your practice. They also are easy to work with because they are experienced. Their workers are experienced. Everybody knows how a medical practice works and how to make it keep going. They're also easy to talk to. If we have some ideas here that we want to try, whether it be about benefit questions or anything like that, we reach out to the team. We discuss it with them. We let them know what our goals are, what the ideas are, and then they can also give us some feedback as to, "Hey, this will work. Hey, this won't work. We've done this in the past. This works for practices like yours." So, we appreciate that. It's just having another department of your team a phone call away or an email away. They're always available to answer our questions and discuss ideas.
Kristin: Yeah, and it's nice because it just feels like you're picking up the phone to dial someone else in your office, because we have their direct lines, we have their cellphones, and we know who's in, who's on vacation, that sort of thing at GRS. So, we just pick up the phone. There's no, like, waiting on hold for someone or waiting for somebody to reply to an email. You just pick up the phone and call them. If you want to talk about something in general or a specific claim issue.
Joe: Entering into the relationship with the GRS team and taking the service time, did you already have set goals going into revenue cycle management? And, if so, how has the team helped you meet your goal so far?
Kristin: Well, we knew that we were pretty good as far as rate of collections and percentage of collections, but we knew that we were growing and we were continuing to grow. And the future was like nothing stopping us. So, we knew that we needed to have a plan in place so that we didn't have to hire anyone here at Omega and keep things running efficiently as the practice grows. And it just, kind of, like, takes care of itself. The practice grows, but we don't really feel it because GRS is helping us along with the process.
And so we hope to see an increase in reimbursement per visit which we have seen and that's kind of, like, icing on the cake because, from the very beginning, I was like, "Hey, if we could just break even and see more efficiency in our billing, happy patients because they're getting taken care of when they call, less work for our front desk to field those incoming calls, then I'd be happy with that." But it's been more than that. We've seen an increase in revenue per visit, and that's just been awesome.
Joe: And, what advice would you have for other OBGYN providers and practices who may be considering revenue cycle management services for their organizations?
Kristin: I would advise them to talk to their Greenway reps, to have all of their doctors schedule a time to get them all together to look at everything together because that, I found, really helped the process along because we were able to all meet all at once and say, "Okay, what can this really do for us?" And, just give it a go because there's only good that can happen when there's more people involved in the process. And, you know, it only makes our doctors happy because they're seeing more money coming in but also our patients are more happy and our staff is more happy, too, because they feel like more people in their corners to get things done. So, just do it because it's positive for everyone involved.
Joe: It's hard to believe the first four months of 2019 are old, wherein it's May already. But, what's in store in the practice for 2019? You've talked a lot about growth and what lies ahead for the practice?
Kristin: We have recently added several nurse practitioners to the practice and some who are just beginning at the very beginning of their nurse practitioner career. And, we are seeing an increase in patient load on a daily basis. And, like I said, there is just growth ahead. Nothing is stopping it. We are maintaining our three locations, but as far as patient load, it's increasing. And, as I said, we don't really have to worry about our billing department growing because we have GRS in our corner. So, that's what's ahead for us and we're really excited about it.
Joe: Excited to be partnering with you guys, and we thank you for your partnership, and we wish the entire practice much success in the year. We'll be talking again real soon on another topic, so I thank you guys for your time here on this episode.
Together: Awesome. Thank you.
Joe: And, once again, it was Kristin Salagaj. She's the practice administrator at Omega Ob-Gyn in North Texas, Bonnie Dickey, the business manager and privacy officer at Omega Ob-Gyn. I want to thank all the returning listeners for tuning into this episode and, to the new listeners, we thank you for finding us. Just a reminder that you could subscribe to our podcast on your platform of choice and we are on a number of them now. You can find us on Apple iTunes, Google Play podcasts, Stitcher, FM.player, SoundCloud, Libsyn, Spotify, TuneIn radio, and iHeartRadio and look for more platforms coming soon.
I'm Joe Agostinelli, the social media manager at Greenway Health, and this has been another episode of our podcast, "Putting Possibility into Practice".