Quitting the paperchase

Sunday, August 31, 2003

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Now that the e-CMN looks less like a political hot potato and more like a new way to comply with a CMS mandate, Trac Medical has set its sights on the elimination of another challenge in the HME paperchase.

At the end of July, Trac announced the launch of an electronic “Written Order of Verbal Orders” solution that would take the place of seeking paper documents from a physician for DME products that do not require a CMN but do require a doctor’s signature on an authorization form.

The new solution comes as a feature embedded in Trac’s CareCert e-CMN solution and works the same way: An HME company sends an e-mail notification, informing a doctor that his signature is needed on an electronic document. The doctor follows the e-mail link to a TracMed server and signs off on the order.

Today, HME providers typically follow up on verbal orders with a paper form dispatched to physicians by regular mail. According to unconfirmed data retrieved by Trac, the DMERCs processed about 50 million claims that did not require an attendant CMN during the 12- month period from October 2001 to September 2002. Some say that number is low.

The DMERCs processed about 7 million CMNs in the same time frame.

Although HME providers generally like the idea of eliminating more paper, the challenge with this new electronic solution is the same that dogs the adoption of eCMNs by physician offices: Doctors are not as speedy as you’d like them to be when it comes to adopting new technologies.

“I’ve had doctors even refuse to discuss [e-CMNs] with me because they don’t want to go on the Internet,” said Alan Kirk, vice president of Total Home Care in Elgin, Ill., who is now rolling out Trac’s CareCert e-CMN solution in his business. “I expected an overwhelming response, and it hasn’t been.” HME