The Impact of HITECH on EHR Implementation

Software Advice, a trusted resource for buyers of software, recently published findings from a three-year study following the changing demand drivers among prospective buyers of eclectronic health record (EHR) software.

The study captured data over two sample periods: Q1 2010 (shortly after the HITECH Act was signed into law) and Q1 2013. In both sample periods, the reasons providers expressed interest in purchasing EHR software broadly fell into the following categories:

• Replacing paper records;
• Replacing existing EHR software;
• Opening a new practice;
• Replacing other software that wasn’t specifically designed for medical records; or
• Some combination of the above.

For both sample periods, replacing paper records was the most-mentioned reason for EHR purchases. However, the percentage of practices replacing paper records fell significantly from 2010 to 2013, while the percentage of respondents replacing existing software grew by almost 50 percent.

These findings seem to validate a hypothesis that the HITECH Act spurred some practices to adopt EHRs too hastily. For providers, this highlights the importance of having a rigorous selection process in place before making a purchase.

Digging deeper into the data allows us to determine why practices are replacing existing EHRs.

Mentions of being “unhappy with current EHR” grew by 11 percent from 2010 to 2013. Additionally, concerns with cost rose significantly, from only one mention in 2010 to being mentioned by one out of every eight participants in 2013. Customer service concerns grew by nearly 50 percent.

Replacing Paper
The percentage of buyers replacing paper charts decreased from 64.9 percent in 2010 to 50.9 percent in 2013.

In both 2010 and 2013, the top reasons practices mentioned for switching from paper to electronic records had to do with the general benefits of a paperless environment – decreasing paperwork, improving efficiency, and becoming more organized. These motivations suggest practices are interested in more than just stimulus dollars; they also seem to recognize the inherent value of electronic records.

Conclusions
Among potential EHR buyers, we observed a decline in the proportion of practices transitioning from paper to electronic records, contrasted with an increase in the proportion of practices replacing existing software. What our data points don’t show, by virtue of only including buyers in the market for an EHR, are the many providers who are not replacing their EHR solutions – those who have successfully implemented electronic records with great benefit to their practices.

With EHR replacements on the rise, we conclude by emphasizing the need for practices to perform due diligence before making a purchase decision. Careful research can be awarded with a system that contributes to improved patient outcomes as well as increased financial health for practices.

 

David Fried originally contributed this report to Software Advice, where he currently covers medical practice management, the EMR industry, and political and regulatory issues affecting doctors. View the full report, including methodology and limiting factors, here: Four Years Later: The Impact of the HITECH Act on EHR Implementations.

Medicare Therapy Cap Forecast Report

Chart Links, the providers of rehabilitation workflow management software, is pleased to announce availability of the Medicare Cap Forecast Report.  The purpose of this report is to aid outpatient rehabilitation facilities in managing the CMS Medicare Part B Outpatient Therapy Cap and Exceptions Process.

The Medicare Cap Forecast Report allows Chart Links Rehabilitation Software users to generate a list of patients who may be nearing the therapy cap threshold.  The report displays amount and visit utilization for occupational therapy services as well as physical therapy and speech-language pathology services combined.

To learn about the Medicare Cap Forecast Report, please contact the Chart Links Helpdesk at (877) 701-9191.

Claims-Based Data Collection for Outpatient Therapy

CMS Releases Transmittal 2603

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Transmittal 2603 regarding the claims-based data collection requirement for Medicare Part B outpatient therapy services.  Affecting claims for physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT) and speech-language pathology (SLP), the mandate requires the reporting of 42 new nonpayable functional G-codes and seven new severity/ complexity modifiers.

These new codes and modifiers will be required on selected claims for all outpatient therapy services.  They will provide information about functional status at the outset of care, at specified points during treatment and at the conclusion of care.

Effective Dates 

Although this claims-based reporting will be effective for dates of service on and after January 1, 2013, CMS has enacted a testing period to give therapists time to ensure that systems work.  Claims without the G-codes and modifiers will be processed during a testing period from January 1, 2103 through June 30, 2013.  It is not until July 1, 2013 that claims might be rejected as a result of improper claims-based data reporting.

Chart Links to Release Software Solution

With CMS business requirements now released, Chart Links is developing a software solution that accommodates claims-based data collection.  The software will be released for testing prior to the deadline of July 1, 2013.

If you have any questions or concerns about this impending reporting requirement, please contact Chart Links, developers of rehabilitation software.

CMS Releases Transmittal 2457 Regarding Outpatient Therapy Cap

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on April 27, 2012, released Transmittal 2457 (Change Request 7785).

This transmittal covers therapy cap manual review thresholds.  For calendar year 2012, there will be two therapy service thresholds of $3700 per year; one annual threshold each for

(1) occupational therapy services and

(2) physical therapy services and speech-language pathology services combined.

Services will accrue toward the thresholds beginning with dates of service on and after January 1, 2012 for services with and without the KX modifier.  Beginning with dates of service on or after October 1, 2012, contractors will apply the thresholds to claims exceeding it by suspending the claim for manual review.

Further, the National Provider Identifier (NPI) of the certifying provider identified for a therapy plan of care must be included on the therapy claim.

Also addressed in the transmittal is the temporary application of therapy caps to outpatient Part B therapy services furnished in outpatient hospitals other than Critical Access Hospitals on/after October 1, 2012 and on/before December 31, 2012.

To see the full transmittal, click here.

5010 Deadline Extended through June

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an extension of enforcement discretion, through June 30, 2012, for any covered entity that is required to comply with the updated transactions standards adopted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA): ASC X12 Version 5010 and NCPDP Versions D.0 and 3.0.

Scottsdale Healthcare Outpatient Therapy Services Implements Chart Links Rehabilitation Software

Electronic therapy documentation and scheduling software from Chart Links is now being used by more than 40 therapists in four locations at Scottsdale Healthcare, a community-based non-profit healthcare system in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Scottsdale Healthcare Outpatient Therapy Services is a leading provider of therapy related to orthopedics and sports medicine, balance and vestibular disorders, swallowing and voice disorders, pediatrics, geriatric disability, neurological disorders, work-related injuries and total joint replacement, as well as hand therapy, aquatic physical therapy and audiology evaluation. In 2010, approximately 5,300 evaluations and 42,000 visits were processed across four Scottsdale Healthcare locations.

“We chose Chart Links due to the flexibility of its clinical documentation design,” said Therapy Services Manager Melinda Richardson, PT, MA. “We see patients of all ages across a variety of rehabilitation disciplines, so we require a high level of specificity in our therapy documentation to individualize patient care. Our clinicians didn’t feel that the fixed templates offered by other products allowed for easy modifications based on patient need. With Chart Links, we got the flexible documentation we needed without sacrificing compliance with Medicare CCI edits, modifiers and time tracking.”

Chart Links software streamlines all of the daily tasks associated with a patient’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, or audiology visits. The software manages adult and pediatric therapy treatment by automating evaluations, flow sheets, progress notes, patient education, clinical correspondence and plans of care. It also manages payer compliance, provider reimbursement, outcomes reporting, administrative functions, business intelligence and enterprise productivity.

“Electronic access to our patient records has made us much more efficient,” said Richardson. “Before Chart Links, we used transcription along with handwritten documentation and had a scheduling system that was separate from our billing system. We were constantly handling and hunting down paper charts, and were tracking and reporting information manually. The electronic integration of Chart Links into our existing systems makes for a more productive and seamless management of information from start to finish. We’ve eliminated our transcription costs and resources, and we document in less time. We’ve also cut out labor and paper intensive processes like chart management, faxing and manual charge entry.”

Chart Links is capable of interfacing in a Health Level 7 (HL7) format to inbound Admission/Discharge/Transfer (ADT) for patient registration data and to outbound billing systems. Interfaces also exist for inbound scheduling, outbound scheduling, outbound results, and customized ADT or billing, among others.

“Moving forward, we are poised for sharing information electronically across care settings, for example, with home health systems or accountable care organizations,” Richardson said. “It’s that kind of connectivity that will enable healthcare as a whole to deliver a higher quality of care with less administrative cost.”

About Chart Links, LLC
For more than 16 years, Chart Links has developed rehabilitation software that automates workflow for referrals, insurance authorizations, cross-discipline scheduling, documentation, charges, and more. Chart Links allows medical rehabilitation facilities to be more efficient and to provide a higher quality of care by delivering results in the areas of compliance, outcomes, analytics and revenue. For more information about Chart Links, visit
http://www.chartlinks.com

About Scottsdale Healthcare
Scottsdale Healthcare is the community-based, not-for-profit parent organization of the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center and Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation. Arizona’s first and only multihospital health system to earn Magnet recognition for its nursing care, Scottsdale Healthcare is a leader in medical innovation, talent and technology, founded in 1962 and based in Scottsdale, Ariz. For more information, visit shc.org. For information on Scottsdale Healthcare Outpatient Therapy Services, visit
http://www.shc.org/therapy/

Scottsdale Healthcare Outpatient Therapy Services Implements Chart Links Rehabilitation Software

Workflow management software enables more than 40 therapists in four locations to manage therapy documentation, scheduling, referrals, insurance authorizations, charges and more.

Electronic therapy documentation and scheduling software from Chart Links is now being used by more than 40 therapists in four locations at Scottsdale Healthcare, a community-based non-profit healthcare system in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Scottsdale Healthcare Outpatient Therapy Services is a leading provider of therapy related to orthopedics and sports medicine, balance and vestibular disorders, swallowing and voice disorders, pediatrics, geriatric disability, neurological disorders, work-related injuries and total joint replacement, as well as hand therapy, aquatic physical therapy and audiology evaluation. In 2010, approximately 5,300 evaluations and 42,000 visits were processed across four Scottsdale Healthcare locations.

“We chose Chart Links due to the flexibility of its clinical documentation design,” said Therapy Services Manager Melinda Richardson, PT, MA. “We see patients of all ages across a variety of rehabilitation disciplines, so we require a high level of specificity in our therapy documentation to individualize patient care. Our clinicians didn’t feel that the fixed templates offered by other products allowed for easy modifications based on patient need. With Chart Links, we got the flexible documentation we needed without sacrificing compliance with Medicare CCI edits, modifiers and time tracking.”

Chart Links software streamlines all of the daily tasks associated with a patient’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, or audiology visits. The software manages adult and pediatric therapy treatment by automating evaluations, flow sheets, progress notes, patient education, clinical correspondence and plans of care. It also manages payer compliance, provider reimbursement, outcomes reporting, administrative functions, business intelligence and enterprise productivity.

“Electronic access to our patient records has made us much more efficient,” said Richardson. “Before Chart Links, we used transcription along with handwritten documentation and had a scheduling system that was separate from our billing system. We were constantly handling and hunting down paper charts, and were tracking and reporting information manually. The electronic integration of Chart Links into our existing systems makes for a more productive and seamless management of information from start to finish. We’ve eliminated our transcription costs and resources, and we document in less time. We’ve also cut out labor and paper intensive processes like chart management, faxing and manual charge entry.”

Chart Links is capable of interfacing in a Health Level 7 (HL7) format to inbound Admission/Discharge/ Transfer (ADT) for patient registration data and to outbound billing systems. Interfaces also exist for inbound scheduling, outbound scheduling, outbound results, and customized ADT or billing, among others.

“Moving forward, we are poised for sharing information electronically across care settings, for example, with home health systems or accountable care organizations,” Richardson said. “It’s that kind of connectivity that will enable healthcare as a whole to deliver a higher quality of care with less administrative cost.”

About Chart Links, LLC
For more than 16 years, Chart Links has developed rehabilitation software that automates workflow for referrals, insurance authorizations, cross-discipline scheduling, documentation, charges, and more. Chart Links allows medical rehabilitation facilities to be more efficient and to provide a higher quality of care by delivering results in the areas of compliance, outcomes, analytics and revenue. For more information about Chart Links, visit
http://www.chartlinks.com

About Scottsdale Healthcare
Scottsdale Healthcare is the community-based, not-for-profit parent organization of the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center and Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation. Arizona’s first and only multihospital health system to earn Magnet recognition for its nursing care, Scottsdale Healthcare is a leader in medical innovation, talent and technology, founded in 1962 and based in Scottsdale, Ariz. For more information, visit shc.org. For information on Scottsdale Healthcare Outpatient Therapy Services, visit
http://www.shc.org/therapy/

Therapy Web Design Services

As a physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist providing care in today’s competitive environment, you want your therapy practice website to attract and retain patients and referral sources.

Quality therapy web design and effective optimization for search engines is critical for marketing your practice. These days, more patients turn to a Google internet search before turning to the yellow pages to find and research a local rehabilitation provider.

At Chart Links, we offer custom therapy web design to fit the needs of your practice. Select from package options to create your most important marketing tool — your website.

National Rehabilitation Week to be Celebrated September 19-25, 2011

June 28, 2011 · Posted in occupational therapy, physical therapy, Speech Therapy · Comment 

The National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation (NRAF) was established in 1996 by Allied Services, a not-for-profit healthcare system headquartered in Scranton, Pa. Allied, since 1976, served as sponsor of National Rehabilitation Week, a nationwide celebration to educate people about the benefits of rehabilitation and the capabilities of people with disabilities.

This year’s National Rehabilitation Week will be celebrated September 19-25, 2011.

The Foundation was created to extend the observance from a week-long event to a year ‘round awareness campaign. One of the Foundation’s main initiatives is to elevate the celebration to a greater level of prominence.

Occupational Therapy Video by Cheryl Crow

May 17, 2011 · Posted in occupational therapy · Comment 

As a provider of electronic occupational therapy documentation software, we’d like to give a shout out to  this student video that we found.

To promote occupational therapy and membership to the American Occupational Therapy Association, the video was produced by Cheryl Crow, a student of the Samuel Merritt University Masters in OT Program.

Great job, Cheryl.  We appreciate your contribution to the profession.

Medicare Strike Force Charges 111 Individuals, including some PTs and OTs

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force charged 111 defendants in nine cities for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving more than $225 million in false billing.  As released by The United States Department of Justice, there were a number of physical and occupational therapists indicted (an indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty).

 

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a multi-agency team of federal, state, and local investigators designed to combat Medicare fraud through the use of Medicare data analysis techniques and an increased focus on community policing.   

 

The defendants charged are accused of various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to defraud the Medicare program, criminal false claims, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.   The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services such as home health care, physical and occupational therapy, nerve conduction tests and durable medical equipment.  

 

According to court documents, the defendants charged participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and oftentimes, never provided.   In many cases, indictments and complaints allege that patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries and other co-conspirators were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, so that the providers could submit fraudulent billing to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary or never provided. Collectively, the doctors, nurses, health care company owners, executives and others charged in the indictments and complaints are accused of conspiring to submit a total of more than $225 million in fraudulent billing.

 

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.

 

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine districts have charged more than 990 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

              

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

Quotes from an OT User of Electronic Occupational Therapy Documentation

One of our Chart Links Rehabilitation Software users, Debbie Flaspohler, OTR, MOT, CLT and manager of occupational therapy at Margaret Mary Community Hospital in Batesville, Ind., was recently quoted in an article called “Meaningful Change,” written by Teresa Mcusic from TodayInOT.com.  Reveiw some of her quotes extracted below, or, read the full article.

Debbie Flaspohler, OTR, MOT, CLT, manager of occupational therapy, Margaret Mary Community Hospital in Batesville, Ind., says she was comfortable using her facility’s Chart Links LLC rehabilitation software within a few weeks. “It was an easy program to move around in,” she says. “And Chart Links did a good job of coming and doing orientation. A team came and spent about a week with us. Also, they have a help desk, so when we got stuck, we could call them.”

The legibility and standardization of electronic records are major benefits over hand-written paper charts, therapists say. The electronic documentation also is more concise, Flaspohler says. “It looks more professional,” she says. “These are a legal document used for reimbursement. Clarity and accuracy are really important.”

Such precision also helps with more consistency among healthcare team members, Flaspohler says. “It helps everybody document the way they are supposed to,” she says. “It’s not black and white — you can modify the way you want to — but it makes you fill out what you need to fill out.”

The systems also can be tailored to include information on interventions for patients with conditions the therapists don’t often encounter, Flaspohler says. “For diagnoses you normally don’t see, you can pull in components from the system for a segment on that,” she says.

For more information about Chart Links Rehabilitation software for occupational therapists, visit our website.

April is Occupational Therapy Month

February 26, 2011 · Posted in occupational therapy · Comment 

Each year in April, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students in practice, education, research, and science host a month long celebration showcasing the importance of Occupational Therapy. It’s the time of year when everyone in the profession goes out of their way to tell the world about what they do.

If you’re looking to participate in OT Month, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has made a number of tools available to make your organizing efforts a little easier.  Check out www.aota.org for more information, or, go to www.promoteot.com.

Article About Chart Links Published in Rehab Management Magazine

An article summarizing how Chart Links Rehabilitation Software streamlined the clinical and financial operations of an outpatient rehab practice recently got published in the Jan/Feb 2011 Rehab Management magazine.  Read the full article below or link to it here.

—–

Implementing Solutions

by Andrea Marchi, PT, MBA, CSCS

EMR streamlines rehab practice’s clinical and financial operations.

Many therapists are considering the implementation of electronic medical record (EMR) solutions, but hesitate on making the purchase because they aren’t sure exactly how the technology will help their practice.

Our practice had the same concern initially, so we thoroughly evaluated the areas where an EMR could improve our business. It was quickly apparent that paper-based processes had a stranglehold on our practice. We suffered from many of the challenges other practices experience, such as: misplaced patient records; incomplete, untimely documentation impacting the billing process or regulatory compliance; productivity and financial performance data that was several months old by the time it was compiledWith the industry steadily moving toward widespread adoption of EMRs, we wanted to get ahead of the curve. Our facility, HealthPoint Rehab, which is affiliated with Southeast Hospital, handles about 33,600 patient visits annually out of two outpatient rehabilitation centers located in Cape Girardeau and Jackson, Mo.

There are numerous EMRs designed for physician practice specialties, but few that address the specific needs of rehab centers. We found a system designed to accommodate our team of 25 therapists engaged in physical, occupational, speech, and specialty therapies. Our system automates workflow for cross-discipline scheduling, referrals, insurance authorizations, clinical documentation, charges, and more. It includes Health Level 7 (HL7) interfaces to our hospital information system for effortless exchange of data. Most importantly, it supports our efforts to comply with professional standards while running an efficient business.

After a comprehensive system selection process, we implemented a software system in January 2009. The following information details how the technology has helped our organization over the past 2 years.

The biggest benefit we immediately noticed was the timely documentation of patient treatments. We have desktop computers installed within private exam rooms and laptop carts in our open gym spaces. Most of our therapists complete the treatment notes during the patient visit, while others finish after the visit.

In contrast, it took us much longer to get our initial evaluation paperwork to the physicians’ offices when we relied on dictation, transcription, and snail mail. We used to employ a full-time transcriptionist, but we have since eliminated the position and use the system’s faxing software to electronically fax our documentation to the physicians.

The structure of our daily notes within the software system has allowed our therapists to document procedures in a very clean and concise format. Another benefit is that our software system can ensure compliance with insurance regulations and therapy standards. During the documentation process, the system alerts therapists if they do not complete sections of the note that are necessary to comply with requirements from Medicare and The Joint Commission.

Using the EMR has helped us improve our billing process. Since charts are electronic and always available to the billing specialists when they need them, we complete our billing in a much more timely manner. We no longer waste time searching for the paper chart.

Unlike most EMRs, our rehab-specific solution has therapy-based billing capabilities built right into it. Correct coding initiative (CCI) edits built into the system help prevent errors that can result in returned claims or rejections from payors. The latest CCI edit table is automatically downloaded into the charge table, so we are always working from the most current version. Our system automatically reviews charges as they are being entered and alerts users if charges are improperly grouped or are missing modifiers. Using the system gives us the confidence that we are doing our billing correctly the first time, so we don’t have to worry about rebilling later in order to fix errors.

Further assisting our billing efforts is an interface that connects the system to the Meditech hospital information system at Southeast Missouri Hospital. The interface allows the systems to exchange information for billing and results, as well as admission, discharge, and transfer data. The result is a reduction in duplicate data entry.

TRACKING CAPABILITIES

The tracking capabilities of the EMR also help with compliance, especially when it comes to ensuring that physicians sign plans of care following initial patient evaluations. The system’s reporting capabilities enable therapists and front-office workers to easily view all plans of care that have not been signed by physicians, which helps accelerate follow-ups. And in cases where physician signatures have not been obtained, it tracks the number of times the plan of care was faxed by the system to a physician for signature. This tracking capability helps rehab clinics demonstrate their due diligence in trying to obtain signatures, which is Medicare compliant.

Prescriptions for therapy are also tracked. Upon receiving a physician’s prescription for therapy, it is entered into the system along with the number of visits that are prescribed or allowed by insurance. It also reports patients who have prescriptions that are about to expire, so the front-office can ensure we continue to treat patients with a current prescription.

A simple-to-use ad hoc analysis tool enables us to analyze practice trends, develop universal metrics, measure long-term changes, and gather operational decision-support data. Using the EMR’s analytics package, we have been able to analyze cancellation rates by patient type, determine our top referral sources by physician or physician group practice, track the number and type of CPT code charges, as well as proactively monitor staff productivity.

For example, by using the analytics module, we discovered that pediatric speech patients had the highest number of visit cancellations. Each cancellation negatively impacts our revenue and therapist productivity, so we developed new cancellation policies—applied to all patient types—to help curb the problem. By making patients aware of the new policy, we have been able to decrease our cancellation rate from 18% to 13%.

We also use the analytics module to track therapist productivity based on hours worked and units billed. In the past, we had one of our secretaries compile data to measure therapist productivity, but the process was cumbersome, and results were not available for 2 to 3 months after the time frame measured. Now, productivity is calculated weekly, so therapists can proactively monitor their productivity, which has been a wonderful management tool.

Another area we monitor with the analytics module is tracking referral sources. We can see exactly which physicians and physician clinics refer the most patients to us, which guides us in building relationships and growing our business.

The productivity of our front-office has been greatly improved by using the new system’s electronic scheduling capabilities. Now, scheduling is easy; as information can be clicked, dragged, copied, and pasted rather than entered manually. Also, scheduling multiple visits can be done all at once instead of creating individual appointments.

Front-office productivity is further enhanced by the system’s automated paging capabilities. Upon patient check-in, the system automatically sends an alphanumeric page to the corresponding therapist to let them know that the patient has arrived. Previously, the receptionist manually dialed the therapist’s numeric pager and during busy periods, it would be several minutes following the patient’s arrival before the secretary was able to send the page. In a business that bills based on time and units, a 3- to 5-minute delay can be the difference of billing an additional unit of service. In that regard, something as simple as automated paging may eventually lead to increases in revenue for us.

The EMR we selected has complemented our workflows and helped our practice improve productivity and documentation.

The most vital component to our successful EMR usage is that we selected a solution designed to operate in our business environment. The system’s rehab-specific capabilities allow our practice to automate the processes that matter most to our business. After using the solution for nearly 2 years, we can’t imagine doing our jobs without it.


Andrea Marchi, PT, MBA, CSCS, is the rehab manager at Southeast Missouri Hospital, HealthPoint Rehab, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

American Society of Hand Therapists

February 2, 2011 · Posted in occupational therapy, physical therapy · Comment 

The American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT), based in Chicago, is a professional organization comprised of licensed occupational and physical therapists who specialize in the treatment and rehabilitation of the upper extremity (hands, shoulders, arms, and elbows).  This not-for-profit organization has over 3,000 members.  ASHT’s mission is to advance the specialty of hand therapy through communication, education, research, and the establishment of clinical standards.  Learn more at www.asht.org.

Tuomey Healthcare System’s Outpatient Rehab Services Implements Chart Links Rehabilitation Software

Chart Links, a provider of rehabilitation workflow management software, announces the implementation of its electronic therapy documentation and scheduling by 15 therapists at Tuomey Healthcare System’s Outpatient Rehab Services.

Rehab Services is a leading provider of outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, sports medicine, cardiac rehabilitation, developmental pediatrics, audiology and speech therapy in South Carolina. Located in the Tuomey Medical Park, Rehab Services includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapy assistants, certified athletic trainers, therapy technicians and administrative staff. The facility treats 150-200 patients per day.

“We researched systems for about a year,” says Jerry Shadbolt, M.Ed., ATC and Outpatient Clinical Manager. “We found Chart Links to be the most user-friendly and modifiable to meet our needs. Our goal was to make our clinicians as efficient and productive as possible by ridding ourselves of the paper. Chart Links is a flexible program offering us a variety of documentation templates — from pediatrics to ortho to spine.”

Chart Links software streamlines all of the daily tasks associated with a patient’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, or audiology visits. The software manages adult and pediatric therapy treatment by automating evaluations, flow sheets, progress notes, patient education, clinical correspondence, and plans of care. It also manages payer compliance, provider reimbursement, outcomes reporting, administrative functions, business intelligence and enterprise productivity.

“From a management perspective,” says Shadbolt, “Chart Links keeps our clinicians compliant and accountable. We now have fewer incomplete documents at the end of the day. And, when it comes to reporting, there will be less of a ‘beastly effort’ to gather data and measure productivity. Overall, I give the product a high grade.”

Affiliated with 301-bed hospital Tuomey Regional Medical Center, Rehab Services has also implemented an interface from MEDITECH, the hospital’s information system, to Chart Links. Components of the interface include registration and billing data.

“Management of authorizations is one area that has greatly improved,” says Renee Brown, Office Manager. “We used to depend on the manual tracking efforts of our therapists and staff. Now, authorizations are automatically tracked in the system.”

About Chart Links, LLC
For over 15 years, Chart Links has developed rehabilitation software that automates workflow for referrals, insurance authorizations, cross-discipline scheduling, documentation, charges, and more. Chart Links allows medical rehabilitation facilities to be more efficient and to provide a higher quality of care by delivering results in the areas of compliance, outcomes, analytics and revenue. For more information about Chart Links, visithttp://www.chartlinks.com

About Tuomey Healthcare System’s Rehab Services
Tuomey’s Rehab Services team works every day to deliver personalized rehabilitation plans to help patients optimize their potential for good health. With an on-site physician, complete range of rehab services, world-class equipment and a team of rehab specialists, the rehab program is recognized as the finest and most comprehensive in the region. Tuomey rehab programs include physical therapy, occupational therapy, sports medicine, cardiac rehabilitation, developmental pediatrics, audiology and speech therapy.  For more information, go to http://www.tuomey.com/facilities/tuomeymedicalpark.aspx

Revision to LCD for Outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy (L26884)

In 2010, National Government Services received a request for reconsideration of the Outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy local coverage determination (LCD) (L26884) to include International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification, 9th Revision (ICD-9-CM) codes V57.1-V57.89 as correct coding. Review of the ICD-9-CM manual indicated that the request was technically correct, and therefore the requirement was included in the May 2010 draft revision to the LCD. Numerous comments were received from all National Government Services jurisdictions that such coding was redundant and created additional burden for providers.

The National Government Services medical directors and policy staff agreed with these comments, and sought further guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about whether these diagnosis codes needed to be included in the LCD. CMS has indicated that although the ICD-9-CM manual does include this recommendation, contractors did not have to include these diagnoses in the LCD.

Consequently, the LCD and supplemental instruction article (SIA) are revised, effective November 1, 2010, to delete coding instructions that required ICD-9-CM codes V57.1-V57.89 be included as the primary diagnosis on all therapy claims. Furthermore, National Government Services will not require these diagnosis codes as primary or subsequent codes. National Government Services does, however, note that such a recommendation does exist in the ICD-9-CM manual. If providers use these codes, they must also include the diagnosis code of the specific medical condition for which each therapy service was provided.

To see the document on the NGS website, click on www.NGSMedicare.com, select your Business Type and your Region and click “Go.” On the Provider Specific Portal Home Page, under News and Publications, click on What’s New from the drop down menu.

Source: Gawenda Seminars & Consulting

Electronic Therapy Documentation: Quicker than Paper

December 10, 2010 · Posted in Documentation, occupational therapy, physical therapy · Comment 

When documenting physical or occupational therapy visits on paper, much time and labor is spent getting the initial evaluation paperwork to the physicians’ offices.  Many therapists rely on dictation, transcription and snail mail to document patient treatment and then communicate with physician offices.  As our clients implement Chart Links Rehabilitation Software, we see them eliminating transcription costs by documenting electronically, and, we see them replacing snail mail or printing and faxing with an e-fax solution integrated into the electronic documentation software.  These automated processes allow the documentation to get to the physician offices quicker.

One of the biggest benefits immediately realized with electronic therapy documentation is reduced time it takes to document patient treatments.  Chart Links customers typically have desktop computers installed within private exam rooms and laptop carts in open gym spaces. Multi-discipline flow sheets easily track patients’ exercises and treatments from visit to visit, making data collection and entry easier than ever.  Most therapists complete the treatment notes during the patient visit so that the patient chart is complete soon after the patient leaves the facility.

If you’d like to learn more about Chart Links electronic therapy documentation, visit www.chartlinks.com.

TherapyTimes.com Features Margaret Mary Community Hospital’s Implementation of Rehab EMR

In a recently-published article entitled “Providing a New Connection: Margaret Mary Community Hospital (MMCH) Launches Innovative EMR Solution,” TherapyTimes.com featured the success story of one of Chart Links’ customers from Batesville, IN.

MMCH runs an off-site Outpatient Rehabilitation Center that handles more than 15,000 patient visits annually. The rehab facility employs 21 therapists providing physical, occupational, and speech therapies.  The story covers their transition from paper-based to electronic therapy scheduling as well their transition from and existing therapy documentation tool to Chart Links.

MMCH currently uses Chart Links Rehabilitation Software as its end-to-end, niche-specific software solution that ensures documentation accuracy, improves workflow, saves time, streamlines scheduling and generally makes life easier for a totally rehab-focused facility.

Read the full article at TherapyTimes.com.

Therapy EMR Implementation and Management

With therapists on staff to provide clinical expertise, Chart Links develops, installs, implements and supports a therapy electronic medical record (EMR).  We employ a team of software development, implementation and support experts that are with our clients every step of the way.

Our team determines how best to link an electronic patient chart to each critical resource in your outpatient rehabilitation facility.  Together, we’ll map out

  • How to engineer the system and design the network
  • Which systems we’ll need to interface too
  • How to prepare your therapists and office staff for implementation
  • How to apply technology to your current work flows with the least disruption to staff
  • Which reports will help you best manage your facility

If your outpatient rehabilitation facility is currently evaluating electronic therapy documentation systems, please contact Chart Links at www.chartlinks.com

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