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.

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.

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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.

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.

April is Occupational Therapy Month

March 12, 2010 · 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. 

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) encourages full participation in OT Month, and has made a number of tools available to make organizing efforts a little easier.  Go to www.promoteot.com for more information.

New Payment Model for Anthem Blue Cross OTs in California

November 17, 2009 · Posted in Industry News, occupational therapy, Reimbursement · Comment 

As reported by the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC), occupational therapy practitioners within Anthem Blue Cross’ network of providers were recently notified of a planned change in Anthem Blue Cross’ payment methodology for the reimbursement of occupational therapy services in California.

This new payment model changes the current payment system to one where providers will be paid $75 per visit regardless of the treatment(s) provided or the intensity of those treatment(s).

As this change in reimbursement could prove to be financially detrimental to occupational therapy practice, the OTAC is encouraging all of its members to be a part of their grassroots advocacy effort to ensure cost-effective and quality occupational therapy services for Anthem Blue Cross clients.  They have posted sample letters to use to educate executives at Anthem Blue Cross on the high value of occupational therapy services in promoting health and disability and to voice opposition to the $75 flat rate.

Providence Speech and Hearing Center Selects Chart Links Rehabilitation Software for 25 Therapists

September 29, 2009 · Posted in audiology, Documentation, occupational therapy, Speech Therapy, Workflow · Comment 

Chart Links, a provider of rehabilitation workflow management software, announces the selection 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 leading provider of services to the speech and hearing impaired of Orange County, California. The software implementation will include functionality for electronic therapy documentation, cross-discipline therapy scheduling, referrals, insurance authorizations and charges. It also includes a patient demographic and billing interface to the existing practice management system.

“Our mission is to enrich life through the gifts of speech and hearing,” says Linda H. Smith, CEO of Providence Speech and Hearing Center. “Because of the efficiencies we’ll gain by automating our administrative and clinical workflows with Chart Links, we’re projecting an increase in patient load and a drastic reduction in our wait list of 1000 patients, all of whom are children.”

In 2008, Providence provided services to more than 21,000 people. Approximately 80% of Providence Speech and Hearing Center’s work is dedicated to low-income patients who are either uninsured or underinsured.

“We selected Chart Links over other systems because it was built for therapists practicing in an outpatient setting,” says Smith. “By enhancing their productivity, we expect to increase our time spent with patients and improve outcomes.”

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.

About Chart Links, LLC
For 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.http://www.chartlinks.com?source=prweb

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:// http://www.pshc.org

Version 5 of Outpatient Rehabilitation Software Released

Chart Links has launched version 5 of its outpatient rehabilitation workflow management and clinical documentation product.  The therapy software release includes features like flow sheet documentation, a fresh user interface, enhanced time tracking and patient appointment reminders.

“We’re proud to release technology that further enables medical rehabilitation practitioners to improve patient care, measure clinical outcomes and be more efficient,” says Ron Miller, M.D., President and Chief Medical Officer of Chart Links.  “We’re committed to developing comprehensive solutions that meet the complex and cross-disciplinary workflows of outpatient rehab care.”

Chart Links Rehabilitation Software is used in charting patient progress for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and audiology.  It handles the entire outpatient rehabilitation workflow including scheduling, insurance authorization, referral management, treatment documentation, charges, outcomes, reporting and compliance.

Read our press release about Version 5 of Chart Links Rehabilitation Software.

California Pacific Medical Center Implements Chart Links Software

April 9, 2008 · Posted in Documentation, Workflow · Comment 

To gain greater efficiency and increased regulatory compliance, outpatient rehabilitation facilities across four campuses of California Pacific Medical Center, a Sutter Health Affiliate in San Francisco, have implemented Chart Links electronic documentation software.

“Our partnership with Chart Links helps fulfill the vision of allowing clinicians in our physical, occupational, hand and speech therapy programs to document electronically,” says Tami Chin, Director of Rehabilitation at California Pacific.  “The software streamlines operations and electronically prompts our therapists — during patient documentation — to ensure greater compliance with Medicare CCI edits, modifiers and time tracking.  These elements are essential to running an efficient and profitable department.”

Chart Links Rehabilitation Software automates the therapist’s documentation of daily progress notes including evaluations, plans of care, flow sheets, patient education, and charge capture.  By automating this and other aspects of the patient management process, rehabilitation facilities realize greater efficiencies in the areas of turnaround time, physician approvals and therapist productivity.  The software also helps to reduce overdue documentation and ensure greater compliance with regulatory requirements.

“Large multi-campus institutions like California Pacific cannot afford to remain paper-based,” says Ron Miller, M.D., Chart Links President and Chief Medical Officer.  “Computerized scheduling, documentation, compliance and workflow management enable strong management teams — like the one at California Pacific — to improve operational and financial inefficiencies.  In addition, our solution is driven by major accreditation and rehabilitation professional standards to help ensure regulatory compliance.”

To read about more customers, like California Pacific Medical Center, that use Chart Links Rehabilitation Software, visit the customer page of our website.