Chart Links is happy to announce the implementation of its therapy documentation and scheduling system by a team of 19 physical, occupational and speech therapists at the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center of Margaret Mary Community Hospital (MMCH), a not-for-profit critical access hospital providing inpatient and outpatient services in Batesville, IN.
The hospital provides a broad scope of services including 24-hour emergency, family-centered maternity, outpatient rehabilitation, home health, hospice and oncology. The MMCH Outpatient Rehabilitation Center provides speech, occupational and physical therapies. Other Rehab Services include vestibular therapy, work conditioning, aquatic therapy, sports medicine, lymphedema therapy, driver’s assessment, and a wheel chair clinic.
The software implementation includes functionality for electronic therapy documentation, cross-discipline therapy scheduling, referral and insurance authorization management, charges and more. It also includes inbound admission/discharge/transfer (ADT) and outbound billing and results interfaces to the Meditech hospital information system.
“We chose Chart Links due to its adaptability for both inpatient and outpatient therapy documentation,” says Carmen Pride, PT, Manager of Physical Therapy at MMCH and project lead for the system implementation. “As we become experts using the system, the time therapists spend documenting will go down and the quality time therapists spend with patients will go up. That will result in better patient outcomes and increased patient satisfaction levels.”
Chart Links software streamlines all of the daily tasks associated with a patient’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, or audiology visit. The software manages adult and pediatric therapy treatment by automating evaluations, flow sheets, plans of care, progress notes, patient education, and clinical correspondence. It also manages payer compliance, provider reimbursement, outcomes reporting, administrative functions, business intelligence and enterprise productivity.
To learn more about Chart Links Rehabilitation Software, visit http://www.chartlinks.com.
Jim Hammer, COO of Chart Links, was recently invited to participate in a PT business tools software roundtable with editor of Physcal Therapy Products, Arati Murti. Here are a few of the questions and answers that were exchanged:
What specific business areas should PTs evaluate when deciding on what software will help them the most in managing their practice?
Hammer: A system investment will yield the highest return when it is a full workflow management system. A high administrative return on investment comes through scheduling, appointment reminders, and referral/authorization management. A high financial return on investment comes through payor-compliant documentation and denial management tools. A high clinical return on investment comes through a standardized documentation module that is deep and rich with relevant content.
What are the biggest mistakes PTs should avoid in terms of practice-management software?
Hammer: In the purchasing phase, the biggest mistake is not conducting the proper due diligence in evaluating systems and vendors. In the implementation phase, the biggest mistake is skimping on implementation services, especially contracting with a vendor that does not provide professional project-management and/or one-on-one training during implementation. In the support phase, the biggest mistake is partnering with a start-up or inexperienced vendor that does not have the resources to support and maintain the software long-term.
The American Physical Therapy Association has published a YouTube video that covers “A Career in Physical Therapy.”
It’s a very effective look into the daily routines of several therapists who are passionate about what they do and who they do it for. They discuss who they are, where they work, what type of patients they work with, and why they entered the profession.
We encourage you to take a look.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy services for Medicare beneficiaries would no longer be limited by arbitrary financial caps under legislation introduced this month in the Senate and House of Representatives.
The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (S 46/HR 43) introduced calls for the repeal of the Medicare therapy caps that limit coveraege of outpatient rehabilitation services to $1840 for physical therapy and speech language pathology combined and $1840 for occupational therapy services.
The therapy caps were originally adopted by Congress in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The caps reduce beneficiaries’ access to critical services by limiting their choice of providers by requiring them to pay 100% of the cost of care once they exceed the cap or ration their care to avoid exhausting their benefits. Since 1997, Congress has acted to prevent implementation of the caps by passing several moratoria and authorizing an exceptions process for rehabilitation services above the financial limitation based on diagnosis and clinician evaluation and judgment. An 18-month extension of the exceptions process was included in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (HR 6331), which passed July 15, 2008. The exceptions process is set to expire December 31, 2009.
The repeal of the therapy caps protects Medicare beneficiaries, ensuring they receive the rehabilitation services they need as they recover from serious injury or suffer from debilitating diseases.
To effectively manage an outpatient rehabilitation facility, you must make important clinical, financial and administrative decisions everyday. How can you make the most “informed” decisions about your department or practice? You can do it by culling and relating each important data element from your billing or therapy documentation software with a business intelligence solution.
While there are a variety of analytics or business intelligence solutions on the market that can work for outpatient rehab, it is advantageous to get one that does not require someone from IT To operate it. You need one that is easy-to-use and capable of rendering complex information into a simple-to-understand format. The solution should combine ad hoc analysis and reporting capabilities to allow for presentation services, graphing, and everything else needed to analyze practice trends, develop universal metrics, measure long-term changes, and gather operational decision-support data.
If you find that you’re asking questions but not getting answers for your outpatient rehab department, call Chart Links. We can introduce you to a business intelligence solution that can provide answers for your toughest outpatient rehab questions.
Chart Links will exhibit at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting on February 9-12, 2009 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada at booth #654.
The Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) focuses on programming designed by all 18 of the APTA’s specialty sections. The event brings together more than 7,000 physical therapy professionals from around the nation for 5 days of programming, networking opportunities, and an exhibit hall filled with products and services.
Stop by to see John Rea or Robert Stafford at booth #654nd learn about our therapy documentation software. Our rehab software streamlines the daily clinical and administrative tasks in an outpatient setting:
- Therapy Scheduling
- Patient Arrival Notification
- Referral Management
- Therapy Documentation (plan of care, progress notes, evaluations)
- Patient Education
- Regulatory Compliance
Learn more about our rehab software in general.
For a complete listing of tradeshows at which Chart Links will exhibit please view our tradeshow schedule.
When it comes to automating therapy documentation, funding is one of the biggest challenges outpatient rehab facilities face.
If you’re struggling to make a compelling business case for electronic medical records to your hospital board of directors, consider all of the operational areas that will yield quantifiable results. As you build your case, marry up metrics to timeframes as a part of your formula for return on investment.
When you automate therapy appointments, appointment reminders, referral management, authorization tracking, evaluations, plans of care, progress notes, flow sheets, and more; information can be called up and acted on almost immediately. List out and quantify all of the administrative task time this saves. Consider improvements in communications alone as it relates to time spent on referrals, authorizations and appointment reminders. The staff productivity gained allows for major improvements in therapist work flow which, over time, allows more patients to be seen in the same amount of time.
One of the greatest cost savings brought by electronic therapy documentation is the elimination of transcription costs. Because therapists enter clinical documentation directly into the system, traditional paper-based methods are greatly reduced, if not eliminated. Determine your current cost per therapist or per page for transcription. Estimate, conservatively, a reduction in transcription costs. This will likely be one of the most significant contributors to your overall cost savings with an electronic therapy documentation system. Don’t forget to consider other paper chart costs in the ROI equation:
- supplies for creating and storing charts (from folders, stickers and dividers to cabinets)
- labor expenses for managing chart pulls, filing and audits
- copying expenses for documentation to attorneys, payers and physicians
Electronic therapy documentation opens new doors for driving revenue that should be considered as a part of return on investment. Consider how much more compliant, complete and accurate documentation becomes when it has the checks and balances of automation. Coding levels and claim errors correlate directly to documentation of the encounter. When therapy documentation occurs electronically, therapists report greater confidence levels as it pertains to Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) Edits, Medicare time tracking (or the eight minute rule), authorization tracking, and other compliance issues that can help or inhibit proper reimbursement. Consider improvements in billing accuracy as a part of your ROI analysis.
Some of the less tangible returns of electronic therapy documentation include quality. In most cases, electronic documentation allows for quicker, more legible, better organized and more comprehensive patient documentation overall. Across the outpatient rehab facility, automation standardizes clinical documentation, reducing inconsistencies in structure, poor handwriting, and lag time in documentation and approvals. Patient education sheets are readily accessible and up to date. Plan of care reports are auto-generated from the evaluation, able to be monitored, electronically signed, and faxed from the desktop. These and many other improvements in quality should be considered in ROI.
In an outpatient setting, electronic therapy documentation impacts both the therapist and staff productivity. A good business case for return on investment should focus on
- efficiency improvements
- cost savings
- revenue enhancements
- quality improvements
If you need help putting together your Return on Investment business case for an electronic therapy documentation system, please contact us.