Episode 74 - Setting Goals for Growth - GRS for ENT Practices
Lois Moss and Diana McClernon of Associates of Otolaryngology, LLC in Denver, Colorado, discuss exactly how to pronounce “otolaryngology.”
Hear how the practice partnered for more than two years with our Greenway Revenue Services team to achieve, and surpass, its goals. Plus, hear what advice they have for other ENT practices considering revenue cycle management services.
Joe: On this episode of "Putting Possibility into Practice", we're talking about implementing a GRS platform into your practice, what goes into that, and we will tackle an interesting topic—what is otolaryngology—and talk with a practice that partners with Greenway Health. We'll learn all about it, the services that they offer, how they're serving our community, and how they partner with our GRS team for revenue cycle management. This is "Putting Possibility into Practice" and it starts right now.
I'm Joe Agostinelli, social media manager at Greenway Health and welcome to this episode of our podcast, "Putting Possibility into Practice". If you are a returning listener, I thank you for tuning in once again. And, if you are a new listener, at the conclusion of today's episode, we'll let you know how you can subscribe to our podcast and the platform of choice of which we are available on.
And, on this episode, we are talking to Associates of—and this is part of the whole episode—Otolaryngology. I hope I pronounced that right. I welcome Lois Moss, who is the practice administrator, Diana McClernon is the manager of support services. Did I get the hardest word out of this whole episode out of the way correctly or do we have to go back and talk about that?
Lois: We'll have to talk about that.
Joe: So, first question that I have, we'll get into your background, a little bit about the practice, but do you have patients who have a hard time pronouncing, you know, the name of the practice or what it is?
Diana: Every single day.
Lois: We have a staff that can't pronounce it.
Joe: So you have staff and patients who can't pronounce it.
Diana: Yeah, we do.
Joe: And so how exactly do you pronounce it? And, as we go into the background of the practice, talk a little bit about the practice, what you guys offer, where you're located, and a little bit about your providers.
Diana: It's pronounced otolaryngology. So, we are the Associates of Otolaryngology, which is ear, nose, and throat.
Lois: So, when I started here, I don't know how to say this word, so I just broke it down and I say "otolaryngology".
Joe: And how big is the practice, how many providers do you have, where are you located?
Diana: We have seven doctors and one physician's assistant. We have four audiologists and we have three locations. Our main location is in Denver, Colorado. And then we have one in Lone Tree, Colorado and one in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Joe: Awesome. And how long have you partnered with Greenway Health and what are some of the current solutions that you're using on a daily basis?
Diana: We started with Greenway Health in August of 2015. And, in I think it was February of 2017, we partnered with GRS. So, we use a patient portal. We use secure messaging. We use Solutionreach, which is one of the partners with Greenway.
Joe: And, in regards to GRS, so now you've been, you know, with the GRS program and our team for about a little over two years, going into a revenue cycle management, how have you felt that partnership has come along from the beginning to where it is today and when did it come time to say, "Hey, we really have to start looking at a vendor for revenue cycle management"?
Lois: We had our own internal billing department and then we had a few people leave. And, it's really hard to find billing people, right? And, ENT billing is a little different than, say, family practice billing or anything like that. So, I think somebody had said that Greenway had GRS and we decided to kind of look at it at that point because it was...we did the math and everything. It was cheaper for us to actually go GRS than to actually hire more people.
Joe: And, since making that decision, how has your experience been with the GRS team? And, you talked about having your own internal team and now, you know, resourcing it out. Has it felt like the GRS team is a part of your team at the practice?
Diana: It has now. We had a little bit of issue at the beginning. But, as Lois mentioned, ENT is a little bit difficult with regard to billing and coding and knowing all the rules. So, in our practice, there's more of the other parts of the practice, too, with our cosmetic portion as well as allergy and audiology. So, there was a lot for them to learn about us and vice versa.
So, you know, we had a team and then some of that team moved. So, there were some growing pains. I'll be perfectly honest with you. There were definitely some growing pains. We have one biller left with us who is really good about really checking through things and making sure everything's going well. I would say it took a few months for things to kind of start...everybody kind of feel like we were working together rather than against each other or not knowing what the other shoe is doing, but I think now it's going pretty well. And, I have to say our revenues have climbed significantly.
Joe: And I was going to ask you that. So, going into the program, did you set goals as a practice as to what you were hoping to get out of the program? And, if so, you know, over the last two years, how have you been able to achieve those goals and maybe even exceed expectations?
Diana: When we started with GRS, I think we expected a 3% increase in revenue and I would say we're probably at 5%.
Joe: Now, what advice would you have for other practices looking to bring on a revenue cycle management partner especially in the field that you guys are in?
Diana: I would say at the beginning, when you sit down and either are going to be moving forward with them, to really set out goals for each side—who is going to be doing what, who contacts who for what issue—and hold everybody accountable to that. Set up consistent meetings, at first, at least every week with your team so that everybody knows, you know, "We have a problem on this side. We have a problem on this side. What is it that we expect from the GRS team to do and what does the GRS team expect us to do?" and make sure that everybody's being held accountable to those things for sure.
I think that was part of our problem that we did not do. It took us a few months to get to that point, and I think, once we started having consistent meetings and consistent goals that everybody was going to meet, things went much smoother. And make sure that you have somebody on-site that is actually part of the billing team so that you can't just let it go. You still have to watch things. You still have to make sure things are being done well on both sides. And, when things aren't being done well that you think we have an issue with, don't hesitate to reach out and say, "Look, this isn't going well. We have a problem with this. How do we fix it? And let's work together to make it work."
Lois: Probably the best practice is to make sure there's transparency between us and the GRS team and don't be afraid to take some criticism sometimes. And, as I said, be transparent about it and work together. We're all trying to achieve the same goals still. And I think the other reason we went with GRS was because they knew Greenway, they knew Prime Suite, and they knew how to actually do things well in Prime Suite. And we didn't think that we did. And so that was the other reason why we went with GRS is they worked it all the time, and we knew that there were things we did not know.
Joe: And then moving forward with GRS, have you been able to continue to achieve the goals you've set out for the program from the beginning?
Lois: I think so. And, you know, they change as we go. You know, when something new comes up, then we all get together and go, "Okay, we have a certified coder on staff here, so that when there's a new code or a problem with the code, she'll investigate it and then she gets it back to the GRS team." And, the cool thing about is that the GRS team goes, "Oh, oh, thank you for giving us that information," or, "Thank you for giving us that documentation so that we can share that across the board with everybody else." So, that's kind of a nice way of working together as well. They learn things, we learn things, and then we share it.
Joe: Awesome. So it sounds like really a true collaboration with your GRS team and a good relationship.
Lois: Mm-hmm, definitely.
Joe: And, as we move into the remainder of 2019 as quick as this year seems to be flying by, what are some of the other goals that the practice has moving forward?
Lois: One of our doctors is double board-certified in ENT and sleep medicine, and so he is ramping up and building his sleep program. So that's a big one for us in 2019 is to try and get that ramped and build an infrastructure around it so that we are ready for 2020 to really get the ground running.
Joe: And I understand you have also introduced some new procedures to the area, correct, or to the practice at least.
Diana: One of them that goes along with the sleep medicine program is called Inspire. It's kind of like a pacemaker in that it's implanted and it works on the glossal nerve, so those people with sleep apnea who don't tolerate CPAP very well can use this to keep their airway open. So we've started that recently, and it's been ramping up as well. We've done several procedures on it and it's an interesting concept for those people who can't tolerate the CPAP.
Lois: And those that have gone through the procedure seem to like it.
Diana: Yeah, they've done well.
Lois: I was just going to say, because we have allergy, and we have audiology, and we have facial cosmetics, in our audiology department, we're doing a new procedure for tinnitus, which is that ringing in your ears, that specific sound that's in your ears that you can't stand. It's a new procedure called Levo that they're starting to use here. And, we've done it on a couple patients and they seem to like it and it seems to work quite well. So that's another procedure. And, in our facial cosmetics, we're doing what's called Renuvion, which is an in-office neck lift, and we've had great results with that.
Joe: Well, as you continue to add new services and new procedures, we certainly look forward to providing the technology and innovation to help you guys continue to be successful in serving your community and continue to grow. And we thank you for your partnership.
Lois: And, we thank you for being there for us.
Joe: And, once again, that was the...I'm going to get it right on the quote out here. That was Lois Moss, Practice Administrator, Diana McClernon, Manager for Support Services at the Associates of—we can all say it together—Otolaryngology. Correct?
Lois: It's correct.
Joe: See? That only took me about 18 minutes, but we're good. I finally got it down. So I want to thank both you guys for taking time out of your day to join us on this podcast. I've enjoyed our discussion, and we'll certainly be in touch with you guys. Continue to experience success and growth, and we're glad the team here at Greenway is able to help you with your success.
Diana: Thank you very much.
Lois: Thank you. Have a great day.
Joe: You guys, too, and for more information, you can visit our website at www.greenwayhealth.com. And, if you have not yet subscribed to our podcast, I invite you to do so and you can do so on a number of our podcast platforms. They are available on iTunes, Google Play podcasts, Stitcher, player.fm, SoundCloud, Libsyn, Spotify, TuneIn radio, and now on iHeartRADIO. I'm Joe Agostinelli, the social media manager at Greenway Health. And this has been another episode of our podcast, "Putting Possibility into Practice". Thanks for listening.