“Anytime you are first to the market with a product like this, you have an

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

AHP rolls out e-CMN initiative big time

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - American HomePatient’s V.P. of Reimbursement Doug Gouy expects his company’s giant leap into e-CMNs to pay big dividends.

AHP announced in November that it had installed Trac Medical’s e-CMN system, CareCert, in all 280-plus branches, making it an early, if not the earliest, adopter of e-CMN technology.

As of mid-December, the company had convinced 150 physicians to use the system and was adding 10-15 new enrollees a day.

AHP aims to have 500 doctors signed up by mid-January. To achieve that, the company notified 18,000 referring physicians of its new e-CMN capabilities.

The goal is to convince the 20% of doctors who refer 80% of AHP’s patients to adopt the e-CMN process, Gouy said. Now, rather than mailing the CMN back and forth, AHP and referring physicians can use e-mail to complete it.

“Even with the best doctors, it takes a week to get back (a paper CMN),” Gouy said. “With Trac’s system, we can now get that CMN back in two days. It improves cash flow, and that is where we’ll see the pay back. If we can knock a couple of days off our billing through this process, that’s a lot of money.”

That said, the key to success with e-CMNs stems from convincing doctors to accept it. These are the system’s selling points, according to Jeff Frankel, TracMed’s president and CEO:

- By simplifying and reducing the paperwork involved in completing a CMN, doctors can spend more time on patient care; and

- Since there’s little room for error, the e-CMNS help manage malpractice suits.

For competitive reasons, Gouy declined to discuss the logistics of rolling out the e-CMN process to all AHP locations, or how much that process costs. But prior to marketing it to referral sources, 250 AHP employees, mainly account execs, underwent training via Web cast to learn the system. So far, he said, physicians and their staff appear excited about the ease of using CareCert and the time it saves them.

Processing an e-CMN using CareCert runs a provider $5-$6 per transaction, compared to $20-$25 for a paper CMN, according to Frankel and industry estimates.

Frankel also touts CareCert’s ability to improve compliance by removing much of the opportunity for human error.

“And you can’t place a price on compliance unless you’ve faced Medicare and got fined for something you did,” Frankel said. HME