Covid19, the deadly and highly contagious disease caused by the novel coronavirus that was first reported late last year, has already tested our country’s healthcare delivery system, and it is almost certainly not even close to peaking yet. Here at Fast Layne Solutions, we are, as always, focused on how to help small- to medium-sized independent medical practices, so today’s blog post is about how technology can assist these vital players (and the patients who rely on them) in this crisis in their tireless efforts to serve patients, while also helping them keep their offices operationally and financially viable. We will conclude with some specific additional measures that Fast Layne Solutions will be taking to help out.
Let’s start with social distancing. It is absolutely vital that we minimize human-to-human contact to stem the spread of the virus. For any medical procedure that does not require in-person consultation, we strongly recommend e-visits, aka telehealth. If your office is not already equipped to do telehealth visits, please contact us. For the duration of the Covid19 pandemic, we are waiving much of the implementation cost for our clients and, for qualifying practices, will amortize the rest over one year. We will work to get you set up on telehealth extremely quickly, as it is embedded into the patient portal that we provide with our EMRx and Revenue Cycle Management offering (see iClaim below). With just a few clicks, you can be seeing a patient anywhere in the world in a secure, HIPAA-compliant environment. (Because Apple will not sign a BAA, FaceTime, for example, is not compliant. Do not make that risky and potentially expensive mistake.) In the same portal, your patients can make appointments and even pay for their visits, as well as message your office, review their records, and check lab results.
Another way your office can facilitate social distancing is to get rid of the old practice of having patients arrive early to fill out paperwork. Using our portal, patients fill in their paperwork online in advance, and your office staff see it as highlighted entries ready for them to check and confirm before making them permanent entries into the patients’ records. As noted above, that same portal can also minimize face-to-face interactions by facilitating online payments, scheduling, records and results retrievals, and messaging.
Now we need to discuss an unpleasant topic, doctors and practice administrators. The insurance companies have waived certain co-pays related directly to testing, but this will not impact any other costs to patients, including actual treatment. Independent doctors already struggle with denials, claim rejections, and outstanding patient debt even at the best of times. During this crisis, those problems will only grow. So let’s look at how we can use technology to help minimize the impact on your practice so that you can continue serving your patients:
By ensuring that every single one of your patients who is covered by insurance has their claims properly submitted and paid by the insurance companies, you can not only survive but thrive in this challenging time.
Technology has an important role to play in this crisis, and we are ready to help you implement it quickly and efficiently to minimize negative outcomes for both you and your patients.
To further assist doctors and their patients at this difficult time, Fast Layne Solutions is also offering a monthly 5% rebate to any of our clients who are in a position to offer medical care to uninsured patients, in order to help them defer those costs. This offer remains in effect until the pandemic is declared over by the WHO.
For the duration of the crisis, we will also be donating 5% of our clients’ monthly invoices to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Covid19 Response Fund.
We want to close by thanking our tireless and brave healthcare workers who will be on the front line in the battle against Covid19. You are our heroes and America’s best hope.
Last week, we talked about the challenges facing a fictional doctor, Dr. Janelle Smith, a young endocrinologist trying to serve the South Side of Chicago as an independent practitioner. When we left off, she was facing an impossible choice: stay in her private practice but barely scrape by, or join a large hospital and let go of her dream to serve her community. But it's a false choice, because all those problems we described actually have solutions.
Let’s take her EHR. Her total annual costs, including maintenance, updates, and training, for her current system exceed $25,000 for the practice. And that’s just what she pays to her provider. What she’s not capturing in that figure is the value of the time wasted by her and her PA due to how complicated and user-unfriendly her system is. So she sits down and runs the numbers: she and her PA are averaging 10 minutes per patient encounter and they see 40 patients a day. To her horror, she realizes that almost an entire headcount is dedicated just to charting. But a tablet-optimized, Cloud-based EHR like NextGen’s EMRx costs a fraction of that, and because it was designed by doctors, it’s intended to get doctors through the charting process as quickly as possible, in an average of just two minutes per encounter. Her first year savings alone are going to be almost $10,000 just for the software, and it leads to productivity gains equating to getting ⅔ of a new headcount for free. She almost has enough to add a second PA and expand her practice. And she’s just getting started.
Now let’s look at her overhead. She has a staff of five, including herself. Of those, three produce no revenue whatsoever and are not involved in providing care to her patients. They spend their days in purely administrative tasks, as noted above. But how much of that work is even necessary? Very little of it. With a full-feature practice and revenue cycle management suite, claims are generated automatically based on the integrated EHR, and reviewed by experts who handle claims for many offices, getting her practice out of the billing and claims business. (Any self-pay bills can be printed with a push of a button.) And because those claims are scrubbed by the advanced iClaim claims management system, the rejection rate is under 2%, and the payments hit Dr. Smith’s account within just a few days, thanks to the separate clearinghouse the system uses.
Patients can now fill out their paperwork in advance through the patient portal. They can also submit their medical records requests there, make appointments, and even pay their bills. And all benefits verifications are now automated and executed with the push of a single button when the patient checks in. And denials? A thing of the past thanks to a rigorous and automated verification system.
So the work of three staff who had been working 45-50 hours a week can now be done by two staff members working 40 hours a week. Now Dr. Smith has a receptionist/admin working no overtime and a far less stressed-out office manager working a normal schedule. Including overhead, salaries, and overtime, she is saving over $50,000 a year. That’s the rest of the money she needs to add that second PA or a nurse practitioner!
She also implements ChoicePay, cutting her credit card transaction fees to 1.79%, saving her money, allowing her to take payments online, and giving her a fully HIPAA-compliant merchant services solution that is seamlessly integrated with her billing system.
Her overall financial situation starts to improve dramatically as her AR days fall and she all but eliminates write-offs and bad patient debt caused by denials. Cash flow is excellent, with payments coming in within days of service provision. She’s no longer worried about making payroll. Her staff of five is now three healthcare providers, all of whom are caring for patients and generating revenue. She’s thriving. She’s able to dedicate more hours to her free clinic. She’s no longer living month to month; on the contrary, she’s making bold plans to expand to a second location.
As you look back through this scenario and consider the impact on the South Side, you can see the obvious benefits in terms of keeping quality care in the area and helping a local practice thrive. But you might have one concern. What about that biller? Yes, the practice still employs five people, but that biller is out of a job, and that isn’t good for the community. That’s why Fast Layne Solutions is proud to announce an initiative to create jobs in the communities we serve by training and equipping claims handlers in those neighborhoods. For example, we are committed to adding one new job for every five providers we serve on the South Side of Chicago. Note we’re saying providers, not clients, here. So a single office with, say, three doctors, one physician’s assistant, and one nurse practitioner would lead to a new job on the South Side. We will provide the training and the equipment, and the claims handlers can not only work from home, but also set their own hours, since we require only that a certain number of claims be processed within a given week. Think about what that means for, say, a single mother. Single mothers in economically vulnerable neighborhoods often struggle to find sustainable employment because working outside the home simply doesn’t pay once you account for childcare. But if you have a job that can be done from anywhere and at any time of day, you have the flexibility to earn a good living while still caring for your children.
The term “win/win” is thrown around a lot, but that’s truly what this is. We are giving practices the tools they need not just to survive but thrive in a challenging environment, while also creating new jobs in the community, jobs that involve highly valued, transferable skills.
Want to learn more? Email us today and let’s set up a free, no-obligation practice analysis. If we can’t prove that we’ll save you more than we will charge you, we just won’t ask for your business. It really is that simple.
Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility, is undeniably important, and is also largely industry-agnostic. What we mean by that is this: doing good is good for business, any business. We believe this deeply, and as a company that combines a subscription-giving platform, volunteer concierge, and personalized impact reports to serve as a "CSR-in-a-Box" for 50-500 person companies, we are incentivized to believe it. Additionally, though, we have identified that some companies can move beyond the baseline notion above that doing good is simply good for business. What we mean by that is this: Some companies are set up to be better at the "doing good" part, as well as receive higher returns from the "good for business" part. HealthTech companies are one such example.
We initially identified this super-CSR mutation from a few of our early, successful clients in Visibly & Candid Co. We then looked across the HealthTech industry to confirm if it was widespread, and confirm we did. Here's why all companies prioritize CSR, and why HealthTech companies carry super-CSR mutations:
Why all companies prioritize CSR programs:
Why HealthTech companies carry super-CSR mutations:
So, to the thousands (ok, hundreds) of HealthTech companies who've read this far, how are you going to do better by doing good?