What are the top challenges facing small- to medium-sized, independent physicians as they fight to maintain their independence and compete with the large, corporate providers? Over coming weeks, we are going to look at the top 10 challenges, so please join us for this informative series and tune back in every Tuesday!
First of all, why should independent physicians even try to maintain their freedom? Isn’t the corporate takeover of our healthcare system inevitable? In 2018, employed physicians outnumbered independent physicians for the first time ever, according to Medical Economics. Many independent physicians are despairing that selling out is just a question of when, not if. That’s especially true in the era of Obamacare and MACRA, when the increased rules and regulations are making it more and more challenging for physicians to operate confidently and profitably while complying with all the Byzantine rules.
But it’s a fight worth fighting! Studies show patients of small- to medium-sized independent physicians fare better. Medscape recently highlighted several studies that bear this out. Smaller practices have “ambulatory care-sensitive admission rates fully 33% lower” and lower overall costs for care for diabetes, for example.
So we need to win this battle for our patients. But how? Let’s look at the biggest issues the independent doctors face.
1) High insurance claim rejection rates. On average, 34% of all insurance claims submitted to the insurance companies are initially rejected. Many are eventually paid out, but only after resubmitting, often multiple times. When you consider that each reworked claim adds an average of $25 in cost to the practice, you can see how this is one of the biggest burdens for small providers. But isn’t that just how the game is played? You submit, they reject, you resubmit? Many practices, even smaller ones, have entire headcounts dedicated to nothing but fighting this battle. But they don’t have to! In fact, it makes no sense to. Doing your own claims, especially if you are doing them manually, makes zero financial sense for providers with under 25 staff. The math simply doesn’t add up. Using a resource like Fast Layne Solutions solves this in two ways: it brings advanced Revenue Cycle Management technology to bear on the problem (thus slashing that rejection rate to under 2%) and brings economies of scale to bear to cut your claims management costs by on average 60%.
2) Slow reimbursements. Even when you do get paid, it is often taking far too long. The solution: use a provider that has an independent clearinghouse connected to all insurance companies and that gets your claims paid the first time. That’s why our doctors get paid in days, not months.
3) Clunky, user-unfriendly, slow, overpriced EMR/EHR systems. It is the shame of our industry. Talk to any doctor pretty much anywhere in the United States and they will tell you the same story: I HATE MY EMR! There is even a popular parody account on Twitter dedicated entirely to how awful the leading EHR system in the US is perceived to be by the doctors and other healthcare professionals forced to use it. And to add insult to injury, these systems are incredibly expensive. And on top of all that, most are PC- or laptop-based, which interferes with the doctor-patient interaction. And many are so complicated that even a smaller practice often has to have a full-time IT headcount to maintain their systems. The solution: EMRx, a Cloud-based (read “zero maintenance and no IT staff needed”), software-as-a-service EMR designed by doctors, for doctors, and currently used by thousands of doctors nationwide. EMRx is tablet-optimized, meaning you can maintain eye contact with the patient. It is so user-friendly that our average documentation time per patient encounter is just two minutes for general practitioners, somewhat greater for certain specialists. (And yes, everyone always thinks that’s a lie….right until they see the demo.) And because it is software-as-a-service, the start-up costs are far more reasonable, there is zero maintenance for you, you have access to award-winning support, and the ongoing costs are reasonable. Also, you aren’t stuck in multi-year contracts.
Tune in next week for challenges 4 to 7!
Welcome to the new Fast Layne Solutions blog! Tune in here for regular updates on a variety of topics, from updates about the company and valuable promotions to topics of interest to professionals in the field of healthcare. We'll also be welcoming some wonderful guest bloggers, so stay tuned! To make sure you don’t miss any updates, please sign up for our newsletter and also follow us on Twitter. (We use safe unsubscribe, so you can unsubscribe from our newsletter at any time.)
To kick off our blog, we’d like to tell you about Fast Layne’s missions and history. Fast Layne Solutions started as an idea in our CEO’s head back in 2016: bring together all the best industry solutions under one roof to create an affordable, one-stop shopping experience for small- to medium-sized, independent physicians’ practices who need cutting-edge tools and services to maintain their independence, stay profitable, and compete with the large corporate providers and hospital systems. And we accomplished that mission! From the industry’s best revenue cycle management solution (iClaim) to a user-friendly, MD-designed EMR (EMRx) to affordable merchant services that enable online payments (ChoicePay) to a patient debt management system (QuickCollect) to HIPAA and coding compliance services to practice marketing to credentialing assistance, we have all your needs covered! And best of all, it’s all 100% à la carte: we customize our solutions specifically to your needs.
But we have more than just a business mission here at Fast Layne. We also have a mission to give back to the communities we serve. That started with a commitment to earmark 5% of our net, post-tax profits to St. Jude Children’s Hospital for pediatric oncology research. We also work with local non-profits to help create new revenue streams by tying successful referrals to ongoing revenue-sharing with them. We’re even kicking off a project to create great jobs in economically distressed areas. (If you run or do fundraising for a non-profit, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to see if we can work with you to help your organization.)
We also work with individuals in the healthcare sector to identify doctors’ practices that need our services, and in exchange we pay referral fees up to $3000. So if you know a doctor with any of these issues (see below), send an email to email@example.com, and if we sign that doctor’s office, we will pay you a referral fee! Ask for the details and “fine print” when you provide the referral and we will give you all the terms and conditions in our response. (Don’t worry! We keep the fine print to a minimum!)
Problems we solve:
-High insurance claim rejection rates. If over 2% of a practice’s claims are being initially rejected by commercial insurers (e.g. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, etc.), Medicaid, and/or Medicare, we can help transform their bottom line! Even if those claims are eventually getting paid after resubmissions, it’s hurting the practice: consider that each reworked claim adds an average of $25 in cost to the practice.
-Slow reimbursements. Do you know a practice that is taking weeks or even months on average to get paid by the insurance companies? We can help! We get our doctors paid in days, not months.
-Clunky, user-unfriendly, slow, overpriced EMR/EHR systems. Do you know a doctor who spends too many nights and weekends catching up on charting? Or who is just paying way too much for such a system? (Many systems average tens of thousands of dollars PER DOCTOR PER YEAR!) Then talk to us! Our MD-designed, cloud-based, tablet-optimized subscription EMR is so efficient that doctors spend an average of only two minutes per patient encounter to finish charting. And it’s actually affordable!
-High merchant services costs. Many doctors pay well over 3% on credit card transactions and can’t even take online payments. We change all that! By leveraging the buying power of thousands of doctors, we get rates as low as 1.79% on merchant services for Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. And we can help doctors accept payments online and even offer a free, full-service patient portal!
-Scheduling nightmares? We offer a system that not only allows for online scheduling, but even helps doctors optimize their patients’ waiting room experience and reduces patient dissatisfaction by minimizing waiting room times.
-Struggling with HIPAA and coding compliance? We can help doctors get and stay HIPAA compliant and we also do coding audits to ensure they aren’t overcoding (dangerous!) or undercoding (costly!).
-Trouble with patient outreach? We offer AutoCard, a mailer marketing service to help doctors stay in touch with their patient base and even market to prospective patients. In an age when it seems that most emails are ignored and/or go to the spam folder, physical mailers are the new email!
So if you know a doctor who is struggling with any of these issues, drop us a line!
Thanks for tuning in to our first blog. Come back and visit us often and follow us on our mission to help independent doctors stay independent and to help them be doctors again, paper-pushers.