Implementing a new – or first – EHR into your mental health or substance abuse practice can be intimidating. You already know the main benefits: less paperwork, greater efficiency, and improved productivity. That means your staff saves time, which translates into better patient care and higher profits.
But getting there takes time and planning, especially for behavioral healthcare practices that deal with mountains of paperwork and face complex billing and reporting requirements. There’s no question that setting up an EHR system takes a lot of effort. Here are a few guidelines to make the process less stressful:
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed that on Day One as president he would “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has resulted in an estimated 20 million people gaining health insurance coverage since 2010. After winning the election, Trump backpedaled a bit, suggesting he may retain parts of the ACA. But his pick for secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, strongly opposes the ACA. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers continue promising to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which lists mental health and substance abuse treatment as one of 10 “essential benefits” that all private insurers and Medicaid must cover.
When the healthcare industry began transmitting claims electronically, Medicare and large insurance payers envisioned clearinghouses as a way to manage the flow of information. Clearinghouses are software-based hubs that allow healthcare practices to transmit protected health information in a secure, efficient manner. Healthcare facilities can consolidate electronic claims and manage them from a single location through an online dashboard. After clearinghouses scrub claims, they transmit electronic claim information securely to the insurance carrier for reimbursement.
Who among us has not faced a deadline – a grant application or income taxes, for example – and wasted precious time hunting for a specific statistic or date? Today’s ever-improving technology makes that time-consuming panic unnecessary. Fast, efficient computer programs and applications allow us to track and store mountains of information in secure, accessible formats. Apply those concepts to running a business, and you’re on your way to creating a paperless (or at least a less paper-filled) office.
ClinicTracker’s originator, Dr. Michael Gordon, discusses how having students influenced the system’s development.
Involving trainees in clinic life requires administrators to track complex workflows and communications. They also have to make it as easy as possible for supervisors and staff to collaborate on cases, manage paperwork flow, and analyze clinical and supervisory caseloads. One of the main reasons ClinicTracker is so sophisticated stems from the fact that it grew up in an academic training clinic within a department of psychiatry.
Spurred by the Affordable Care Act, physicians in Buffalo recently created New York’s first accountable care organization (ACO). Doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers have formed these groups to improve coordination of care for Medicare patients.
When clients go to Spirit Reins for counseling, they can receive traditional therapy in an office setting. But the sessions are more likely to take place outside, and with a horse standing alongside the mental health professional.
As healthcare practices computerize records and organizational functions, providers and administrators are reaping the benefits of using real-time data “dashboards.”
A group of about 450 primary care physicians and specialists in Nebraska recently started using live audio and video via the Internet to consult with patients.In this setup, patients meet with specialists online in their local doctor's office, saving them from having to travel long distances to confer with a specialist.
Thanks to technology, many of us connect constantly with others via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, instant messaging programs, and other such applications. People now expect the same convenient, instant communication tools in their business lives.
Healthcare practices that operate more than one site can usually offer patients more convenient locations and a broader array of programs and practitioners. Your bottom line can also improve through economies of scale and better visibility within a community.
Years ago, a doctor's offices could be self-contained and efficient. The physician had plenty of time to treat patients, while his efficient nurse/secretary tracked medical records, set appointments, and processed bills and payments. But today's complex healthcare system has made that memory a distant one. Doctors are increasingly pressed for time amid federal mandates for EHR and meaningful-use compliance, complex diagnosis and billing codes, and bewildering payment and reimbursement models.
Physicians have freely expressed frustration over the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Meaningful Use program.“Doctors want to spend their time with patients, not measuring the number of clicks,” American Medical Association (AMA) President Steven J. Stack, MD, said late last year in a statement.
Thanks to web-based patient portals, we all have far more access to our medical providers and health records than ever before.These secure online websites allow 24-hour access to personal health information. They also allow us to communicate with healthcare providers, track appointments, and verify/manage records the same way we track our online purchases or social media accounts.
Hackers gained access in February 2015 to as many as 80 million customers of the nation's second-largest health insurance company, Anthem Inc. The information they stole included names, birthdays, medical IDs, Social Security numbers, employment information, and street/email addresses, company officials told media outlets.
Many students come to school these days with more than just their books and backpacks. They also carry the burdens of stress from family disruption, poverty, and mental illness. In fact, about one in five school-aged children meet the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, and about half of them begin experiencing symptoms by age 14.
Can't remember all the ingredients for those chocolate chip cookies? Google the recipe on your smartphone. Looking for a cab? There’s an app for that. Want to keep track of all your contacts? No problem. We’ve all become adept at increasing our productivity by computerizing just about everything.
The American Heart Association recommends that no more than half of a person’s daily discretionary calorie allowance come from added sugars. That’s about six teaspoons per day for women, and nine teaspoons for men. How much sugar do most Americans actually consume?
A few years ago, The New York Times published a story showing how Target tracked a customer’s purchases and determined she was pregnant – even before she had told her parents. Target is among a growing number of businesses that use data to study buying habits. Drugstores, for example, track how often you buy toothpaste or shampoo, then send an ad or coupon when you’re likely to run out.
Colorado Community Health Network seeks to fill 90 provider positions at 170 statewide clinics, the Denver Business Journal reported in August. The openings come, in part, as patient roles grow because of increased access to insurance and improved mental health parity rules under the federal Affordable Care Act. The growing need for providers, coupled with the onslaught of Baby Boomer retirements and perennial challenges in the field, conspire to create a critical condition in staffing and retaining behavioral health providers.
Just one mental health provider exists for every 790 people in the United States, according to a 2014 report by the advocacy group Mental Health America (MHA). Fewer young medical professionals choose the demanding, and less lucrative, mental health and addiction specialties. Weak office infrastructure and voluminous paperwork requirements don't build the field's attractiveness.
"They (young professionals) really want to do the work they feel they're able to, but they get caught up in the miles of paperwork or session limits and aren't able to provide all the services they want," University of Northern Colorado professor Mary Sean O'Halloran told the Denver post in 2013.
ICD-10 Webinar September 22, 2015
Live Webinar for CEU Credit
ICD-10: Last Minute Tips for October 1st
Tuesday, September 22nd | 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EDT
One hour webinar and 30 minute Q&A session
Only three weeks left until October 1, 2015 -- the ICD-10 implementation date. Learn what final preparation steps you should take to mitigate delays in your reimbursements.
Join us for a complimentary live webinar hosted by Navicure on Tuesday, September 22nd at 1:00 pm EDT/10:00 am PDT: ICD-10: Last Minute Tips for October 1st
Ask people who have a relative with behavioral health issues about their challenges and you’re likely to get an earful about how they must reinvent the wheel every time their loved one seeks treatment. Why don't doctors talk with each other? Why isn’t there a record of an emergency room visit? Where’s the master list of medications and treatment prescribed?
The questions represent more than abstract frustrations. In recent years we've seen heartbreaking examples of violence and suicide by individuals who seem to have "slipped through the cracks" of the U.S. mental health system. Consider Adam Lanza, who was responsible for the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. Or the mass shooting by James Holmes at a movie theater. In a 2013 case, Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds was stabbed multiple times in the head and chest by his 24-year-old son, Gus. Gus, who had bipolar disorder, then committed suicide. Since his recovery, Deeds has committed himself to advocating for improving laws related to mental health treatment.
The October 1, 2015 deadline for complying with the ICD-10 nomenclature is fast approaching. After years of delays, the mandate to use these diagnostic codes is pushing the entire medical system to retrain providers and support staff as well as convert EHR and billing software to the new method.
HIPAA will require providers, healthcare clearinghouses, and payers to convert to ICD-10 for billing. The ICD-10 code reflects advances in medicine and uses more current medical terminology. The expanded code format also provides more specific information about the diagnosis. “The ICD-10 code set is also more flexible for expansion and including new technologies and diagnoses,” the American Medical Association (AMA) says.
Catholic Charities is a network of agencies that provides aid to individuals of all faiths.
Federal and state grant reporting can be extremely cumbersome and time-consuming. Although the intention of collecting these data is to improve client treatment, the reporting requirements can be so tedious that they often shift staff focus away from managing the agency and providing high quality care. To ease the pain, ClinicTracker has added many state reporting utilities to its behavioral healthcare EHR and practice management system. The software transforms an onerous task into an automatic process.
ClinicTracker continues its tradition of keeping up with the evolving standards of the Wyoming Client Information System. On July 19, 2015, we released support for the FY2016 version of the WYCIS specifications, including the ESR and MIS. The Wyoming Client Information System reporting includes client demographics, client services, client outcome, and performance data. ClinicTracker gathers all necessary information in the simplest possible format and validates data for accuracy, ensuring successful submission.
In our ongoing effort to simplify financial management for mental health clinics, ClinicTracker Behavioral Health EHR has partnered with Navicure, a provider of web-based billing and payment solutions. Navicure assists large and small healthcare organizations to increase revenue, accelerate cashflow, and reduce costs of managing insurance claims and patient payments.
"Those most in need are often least likely to be served." Sadly, that's the catchphrase for how mental health services have long been provided in the U.S. Study after study describe a system more oriented toward the worried well than the seriously impaired. The same holds for access to services for minorities. They are far less likely to enjoy quality services, even though the rates of mental disorders for minority communities are at least as high, if not higher, than the rest of the population.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): "Communities of color tend to experience greater burden of mental and substance use disorders, often due to poorer access to care; inappropriate care; and higher social, environmental, and economic risk factors."
June 24, 2015
Monthly Spotlight: Payroll Management
Been looking for a better way to calculate your staff payroll?
We have added Payroll Management functions to help save you countless hours of work, every pay period.