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.

ASHA Offers Online Conference for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

September 9, 2011 · Posted in audiology, Speech Therapy · Comment 

Audiologists and speech-language pathologists will be able to earn up to 2.85 CEUs from the American Speech & Hearing Association (ASHA) by attending an online conference called “Audiology 2011″ from October 12–24, 2011.

Audiology 2011 will provide audiologists and speech-language pathologists with in-depth discussions on Audiologic Rehabilitation (AR) for Adults. The broad range of topics will include:

  • audiovisual speech perception and how this can impact speech reading in older adults
  • the social psychology of acquired hearing loss with implications for practice
  • the value of including communication partners in the AR process
  • rehabilitation for auditory processing difficulties among adults
  • accommodating the needs of adults with hearing loss in the workplace
  • auditory training
  • the importance and evidence behind effective counseling
  • evaluation of the evidence and cost-effectiveness supporting the inclusion of AR services
  • subjective and objective measures of hearing aid outcomes

For more information and system requirements, go to Audiology 2011.

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.

ASHA Announces 2011 President

January 18, 2011 · Posted in audiology, Speech Therapy · Comment 

Paul R. Rao, PhD, CCC-SLP, recently took office as the 2011 president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists.

Rao, 64, is vice president of operations and compliance at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC, and a visiting professor at the University of Maryland. Rao succeeds Tommie L. Robinson Jr, PhD, CCC-SLP, who continues to serve on ASHA’s board of directors.

“My goal is to better position ASHA members to serve their clients and to improve reimbursement and access for all,” Rao said. “As part of that, as ASHA’s president I look forward to working with ASHA member-advocates to see that the Association continues to be a significant player in the new health care reform legislation in order to help bring the promise of more freedom to individuals with communication disabilities.”

Rao comes to ASHA’s top elected office with more than 25 years of volunteer experience with ASHA. He has served on a number of ASHA committees and boards, such as the Board of Ethics, the Committee on Honors, and the Special Interest Divisions Board of Division Coordinators. He has also served as president for both the Maryland Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the District of Columbia Association for Healthcare Quality. In 1991, he became an ASHA Fellow, one of the highest honors of the Association. For more information, go to www.asha.org.

[Source: Rehab Management]

SLP Jobs in Stockton, CA

January 7, 2011 · Posted in Speech Therapy · Comment 

We’re looking to place two speech language pathologists in Stockton, California.  If you’re interested, please send a resume to slarkin@chartlinks.com.

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

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

Analyze Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy Data

Effective management of any physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy facility requires making informed clinical, financial and administrative decisions everyday.

At Chart Links, we provide an easy-to-use business intelligence and decision support solution that is capable of rendering complex information into a simple-to-understand format.

Visit our website to learn more about analyzing outpatient rehabilitation data.

Congress Letter to CMS Re Payment Cuts for Outpatient Physical Therapy Services

As reported in Physical Therapy Products, on August 9, Rep Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) sent a letter signed by 68 members of Congress to Donald Berwick, MD, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The letter expresses concern over CMS’s proposal to cut payment for outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services in the CY 2011 physician fee schedule proposed rule.

 

The letter begins, “We write to you to express our concern over the significant cuts in payment for outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the CY 2011 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule.”

“The rehabilitation community strongly believes that a cut of 50 percent is unwarranted and is concerned that CMS’ proposed policy is based on a flawed assumption that there is duplication of services when rehabilitation services are billed. Therapy codes are unlike most other Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes in that the practice expense component for a typical visit is spread out among multiple codes since multiple services are typically provided to a patient during a visit,” says the letter.

The letter requests that a detailed explanation of the methodology CMS used to calculate the new rates be provided to Congress. Pomeroy also included a request that CMS work closely with stakeholders in the rehabilitation community toward the production of a final rule that will not adversely affect access to care, particularly in rural and other underserved areas.

“Given that this represents a significant cut to a group of services in the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and given the large number of Medicare beneficiaries who rely upon these therapies, we ask that CMS provide us with a detailed justification, including an explanation of the methodology used to calculate the new rates.”

Providence Speech and Hearing Center Implements Chart Links Electronic Therapy Documentation

Patients and Staff at Providence Speech and Hearing Center embrace and applaud the new and efficient electronic system

Chart Links, a provider of rehabilitation workflow management software, announces the implementation of its electronic therapy documentation and scheduling system by a team of 25 audiologists, speech therapists and pediatric occupational therapists at Providence Speech and Hearing Center, a not-for-profit and leading provider of services to the speech and hearing impaired of Orange County, California.

“The government is promoting the advancement of information technology to cut costs in the healthcare industry,” says Linda H. Smith, CEO of Providence Speech and Hearing Center. “By implementing Chart Links’ electronic medical record at Providence, we’re an active participant in that cost-cutting initiative. As healthcare continues to reform, Providence will be technically equipped to better service its patient population.”

Providence served over 29,000 appointments in 2009 to over 5,659 unique patients.

“The implementation has allowed Providence to gain efficiencies and see more patients, as well as to gather and monitor our clinical outcomes,” says Smith.

“The staff here at Providence has responded well to the transition and is looking forward to even more advantageous results in the coming months.”

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.

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, you may access their web site at: http://www.chartlinks.com

About Providence Speech and Hearing Center
Founded in 1965 by Sister Margaret Anne Inman Ph.D., Providence Speech and Hearing Center is the leading service provider to the speech and hearing impaired of Orange County, California. With over 40 years of experience, Providence has grown from a one room house to a multi-million dollar non-profit organization. Providence served over 21,000 appointments in 2008 to over 3,200 unique patients. They offer a full array of speech and hearing services for children and adults alike; and, because they believe everyone deserves the gifts of speech and hearing, they accept most major insurance companies and medical groups as well as providing grants, scholarships and financing options for patients from low-income families.  http://www.pshc.org

Margaret Mary Community Hospital Chooses Chart Links

MMCH Rehabilitation Center chooses Chart Links for niche-specific solution and hospital information system interface capabilities

Margaret Mary Community Hospital (www.mmch.org) in Batesville, Indiana, 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. Other services include work conditioning, sports medicine, balance, lymphedema, low vision and pediatric therapies. Aquatic therapy is offered at the local YMCA.

The rehab center had been using the hospital’s information system for documentation and billing and a manual, paper-based system for scheduling. Although the hospital system allowed some modification to accommodate documentation of the center’s special services, rehab center managers began to look for an end-to-end, niche-specific software solution that would assure documentation accuracy, improve workflow, save time, streamline scheduling and generally make life easier for a totally rehab-focused facility.

“We reviewed several different software options before narrowing our search to three companies,” said Carmen Pride, physical therapy manager and project manager on the search team. “After conducting extensive web demos and then comprehensive on-site demos of the three product finalists, we chose Chart Links. They definitely stood out and we especially liked the way their application looked.”

“We wanted to continue to use our primary EMR as the central point for our patients’ summary of care and billing records,” said Donna Nobbe, information systems director. “Therefore, our requirements for this project included a series of interfaces. Chart Links had experience doing this work with our hospital EMR vendor and provided valuable interface documentation.”

The MMCH Rehabilitation Center launched Chart Links in January 2009. “I totally expected the first day of ‘go live’ to be really crazy and haywire,” remarked Pride. “We sat in a room waiting to problem solve and expecting to help steer people through a hectic transition. But no problems came! That first day – and since – everything with the Chart Links system has been smooth and seamless. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Chart Links solution exceeds rehab center’s expectations
MMCH has realized a full range of benefits, well beyond expectations:

Insurance reimbursement is significantly faster. Before, it took an average of 90 days until bills were sent out. Now, the timeframe is under 30 days. “This was made possible by the customized interface Chart Links created for us,” noted Pride. “Our billing is still distributed through Hospital’s primary EMR, but the Chart Links solution has streamlined and accelerated the process. We get our insurance monies in the door much more quickly now.”

Compliant documentation is more accurate and worry-free.
“We’re billing now with far less anxiety about errors because of Chart Links,” said Pride. “CCI edits, for example, have improved. Chart Links automatically notifies you of CCI edits so we don’t have to catch them on the backside or lose payments because we billed two procedures instead of one. Chart Links is our first line of defense, letting us know immediately if there’s a problem.”

Scheduling is more organized, streamlined and accurate.
Prior to Chart Links, the MMCH rehab facility scheduled manually with an appointment book (referred to as ‘the Bible’) which often resulted in confusion and error. “It was very unorganized,” said Pride. “There were too many therapists and not enough spaces to write in. Patients sometimes showed up when we didn’t expect them.”

The Chart Links solution has not only streamlined the scheduling process and cleaned up the errors but has also made the process completely user-friendly and intuitive. Unlike the other complicated-looking schedulers the rehab center management had considered, the Chart Links scheduler appears on the screen exactly like a book, a format the staff was very comfortable with. “The Chart Links scheduler was so easy to use and get used to that the staff abandoned ‘the Bible’ on day two of go-live rather than the six months they thought they would need to transition,” remarked Pride.

The workflow of the application makes sense, reflecting the way a therapist works and reports.
“Everything on the screen is organized and logical,” said Pride. “It’s Windows based operating system is a superior advantage. Print Preview, for example, depicts what the chart note will actually look like, a huge improvement over what we had. Even the range of motion measurements come out neater and, therefore, easier to read by the physician. Everything just looks better and flows better.”

The Chart Links Analytics option is a huge time-saver.

“With Analytics, you can look at specific programs and find out which ones are doing well or not,” noted Pride about the Chart Links ad-hoc reporting tool. “You can pull anything out of the system you want and analyze the data. Where month-end statistics would take an enormous amount of time to assemble with our old manual system, now we can run a report almost instantly.”

Customer service has been superb right from the start.

“Another major selling-point of Chart Links is their depth of rehab knowledge and their willingness and eagerness to share that expertise with us,” noted Pride. “We get very few vendors who have given us the customer service that Chart Links does,” said Trisha Prickel, manager of information system services. “They have responded to help desk questions at night and have been available to check the system after hours. I have been very impressed.”

HealthPoint Rehab Chooses Chart Links as its EHR

HealthPoint Rehab (www.healthpointplaza.com), a service of Southeast Missouri Hospital, comprises two outpatient rehabilitation centers located in Cape Girardeau and Jackson, Missouri. Combined, the centers employ 25 therapists engaged in physical, occupational, speech and specialty therapies including orthopedic, neurological, myofascial and lymphedema. The two centers handle about 33,600 total patient visits annually.

Realizing the inexorable trend toward electronic medical records, the HealthPoint management team decided to abandon its paper-based system and make a comprehensive search for an advanced electronic solution.

“We knew the need for EMR was coming,” said Andrea Marchi, PT, MBA, CSCS, HealthPoint rehab manager. “We wanted to get ahead of the curve and have plenty of time to make the right decision. That’s when we began a search that led us to Chart Links – a choice we couldn’t be happier with.”

Chart Links offered a product customizable to HealthPoint’s suite of multi-discipline therapeutic services. “We needed a system that could effectively address and document our many different specialty areas and Chart Links was the only one that had this capability.”

A Compliant Documentation Process

Chart Links Rehabilitation Software is driven by major accreditation, professional, information technology and security standards. It supports compliance with JCAHO, CARF, AOTA, APTA, HIPAA and other rehabilitation professional standards. The system’s documentation helps ensure compliance with Medicare Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) Edits, modifiers and time tracking.

Marchi feels more at ease with proper documentation compliance. “Our compliance is virtually guaranteed because, in a progress note or evaluation section, Chart Links prompts for JCAHO and Medicare documentation in a way that you cannot miss or ignore.”

Unlike paper forms unable to force standards compliance, Chart Links’ electronic forms do not accept signatures without fulfillment of all required standards.

Better Business Decisions with Analytics

Chart Links Analytics allows managers to make informed business decisions through a simple-to-use ad hoc analysis interface that can analyze practice trends, develop universal metrics, measure long-term changes, and gather operational decision-support data.

“What could be a monumental task, taking weeks to accomplish by having to manually track and assemble mountains of data now is as simple as jumping into the system, defining your parameters and – click – up comes the data,” said Marchi. “It’s easy to read and understand. You don’t need any assistance from IT to make this happen. Chart Links Analytics is simply awesome.”

HealthPoint uses Chart Links Analytics for generating statistics for its annual report and as a basis to make good business decisions. Analytics allows HealthPoint, for example, to analyze visits (by location, by therapist, by time-period, etc.), dissect referrals, or scrutinize cancellation rates. “Chart Links Analytics helps us to stay ahead of the game, so we can make better decisions and not be reactive to what has already happened,” observed Marchi.

Routine Tasks Greatly Improved

Marchi also cites the user-friendly Chart Links scheduler as a key benefit. She notes that you can see all you need to see on one screen. Users can sort information by discipline or selected providers, or take a patient and click and copy for 15 visits instead of making 15 individual appointments. “The front desk has nothing but good things to say about the Chart Links scheduler,” remarked Marchi.

Chart Links Customer Service as Outstanding as its Technology

HealthPoint has found that the Chart Links solution extends into exceptional customer service. “The customer service we have received has been fantastic,” said Marchi. “There was no sense that, once we went live, ‘you’re on your own.’ Chart Links doesn’t operate that way. They don’t put limits on customer service. We feel we can call on them anytime. Chart Links consistently delivers on all counts.”

Extension of Therapy Cap Exceptions Process

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which extends the exceptions process for outpatient therapy caps (see Section 3103).  Outpatient therapy service providers may continue to submit claims with the KX modifier, when an exception is appropriate, for services furnished on or after January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010.  

The therapy caps are determined on a calendar year basis, so all patients began a new cap year on January 1, 2010.  For physical therapy and speech language pathology services combined, the limit on incurred expenses is $1,860.  For occupational therapy services, the limit is $1,860.  Deductible and coinsurance amounts applied to therapy services count toward the amount accrued before a cap is reached.

Next Page »