'Garbage letters' inspire software

Friday, July 31, 2009

ERIE, Pa.--Rehab provider Jim Noland has developed a Web-based software program that simplifies the process of creating and completing letters of medical necessity (LMNs) for wheelchairs.

To use the program, called LMNBuilder, a rehab technology supplier (RTS) logs onto lmnbuilder.com and posts a spec sheet for a therapist to view and approve. When the therapist has viewed and approved the spec sheet, the program imports the patient’s information, like name and insurer, into a template LMN and changes all gender pronouns. All that’s left for the therapist to do: Write a clinical justification and modify the LMN specifically for the patient.

“When the therapist goes to print, it’s not only the LMN but also a fax cover sheet already addressed to the RTS,” said Noland, owner of Presque Isle Rehabilitation in Erie, Pa.

Noland says he was inspired to develop LMNBuilder after years of getting “garbage letters” from his therapists. Now he’s testing the program, which is still in beta version, with hundreds of RTSs and therapists across the country.

Other features of LMNBuilder: Therapists can save their clinical justifications, speeding up the process for future LMNs; and they can add research links from a master database, increasing an LMN’s approval rate. RTSs can add notes to spec sheets.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “We’re really happy with it.”

Noland plans to charge RTSs a nominal fee to use LMNBuilder. He expects the bulk of revenues to come from wheelchair manufacturers advertising on the site.