Patients as couriers: Solution to documentation dilemma?

Friday, February 24, 2012

YARMOUTH, Maine - HME providers often overlook one of their most effective tools in getting proper documentation, Andrea Stark told HME News TV recently: patients.

"Providers are not utilizing their patients as advocates and a lot of times you will have to involve them," Stark said. "Ultimately, they are the ones with the most vested interest in their care."

Stark recommends that providers supply a patient going in for a physician's visit with a proactive letter reminding the physician what Medicare needs for documentation. 

"Jurisdiction D has a letter to be taken by a patient with diabetes to remind the doctor to chart certain elements in their notes to ensure Medicare will continue to pay for them," said Stark. 

Stark also recommends that providers strategize about when to ask physicians for documentation. 

"Ask while they still need something from you," she said. 

Providers who ask for documentation after both the physician and patient have everything they need are putting themselves in a difficult position, she said. 

Other strategies Stark offered: Give the physicians a deadline and use checklists of needed items.

"You're setting a goal for them to try and meet," she said.