Reporter’s notebook: New year, three goals

Friday, December 27, 2013

YARMOUTH, Maine – What resolutions do industry consultants have for HME providers for the new year?

Eliminate re-work like it’s your job

Karen Moore thinks providers should be working smarter and harder in 2014, but mostly smarter. In the wake of competitive bidding, providers are feeling tremendous reimbursement pressure, and they no longer have the time nor resources for “re-work,” she says.

“If you look at the top denials for Medicare, it’s submitting duplicate claims,” said Moore, vice president of AnCor Healthcare Consulting. “When you have to go back and figure out which claims you need to work on and which you don’t, it impacts your resources.”

If providers put quality control measures in place, they can reduce the work they do, achieve better outcomes, accelerate reimbursement and reduce bad debt, Moore says. The key to making that happen: training, she says.

“You need to provide good training to your staff and you need to make sure they’re actually implementing that knowledge in their daily work,” Moore said. “They can’t triple check claims; it’s just too costly.”

Don’t get caught sleeping

They may not be as buzz-worthy as competitive bidding or audits, but John Allman says the forthcoming enforcement of the face-to-face rule and the implementation of new HIPAA requirements in 2014 could be just as problematic for providers.

“These could be potential landmines,” said Alllman, president of John Allman Consulting. “It’s the silence among providers on these major issues that concerns me.”

Allman says compliance with the face-to-face rule is a relationship-building game to make sure referral sources are on the same page with providers about what’s required.

“Providers will hear that they’re the only ones doing this, but everybody has to do it,” he said.

As for the new HIPAA requirements: Providers need to keep an eye out for possible breaches, large and small, Allman says.

“One of the first things I look at is: does their website have a privacy policy in a prominent position?” he said.

Dig into digital

Everyone knows the recent rollout of wasn’t without its bumps (maybe potholes is a better word?). But Anna McDevitt says it speaks volumes about the increasingly prominent role of the Web in 2014 and beyond.

“To think that this huge healthcare reform program is something that’s online is a good barometer of where we are in this digital world,” said McDevitt, president of Laboratory Marketing. “Saying your customers aren’t online isn’t a good enough argument anymore.”

When it comes to their digital footprint, McDevitt says providers need to do more than slap up a website, and create pages on Facebook and handles on Twitter.

“It’s one thing to understand the concept,” she said. “It’s another to put it into practice.”

A big picture ideal to keep in mind, McDevitt says: Think of your company as a person, not an institution.

“One of the things that the digital world has been doing is breaking down the barrier between products and companies,” she said.