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Transformation toward value-based healthcare is reshaping the delivery of care, patient expectations, and payment structures.
Improve your revenue cycle performance through standard metrics, peer comparison, and successful practices.
By Betty Hintch
Arizona Connected Care?which brings together Tucson Medical Center, local physicians, and three federally qualified health centers?is leading the way in developing new provider models championed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law's intent is to offer hospitals and other providers a structural model, known as accountable care organizations (ACOs), to control costs while improving quality.
Savings that result from ACO arrangements in U.S. hospitals could be as high as $45 billion per year for all dual-eligible patients who qualify for Medicaid and Medicare benefits, said Elliott Fisher, MD, MPH, during a September Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) webcast, "Pioneering ACOs: What Do We Know So Far?" Fisher is director, Center for Population Health, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and a pioneer in the ACO concept.
Arizona Connected Care is one of approximately 250 healthcare groups in the United States to qualify as ACOs, said Fisher. About 150 of these are federally sponsored ACOs under the Medicare Shared Savings Program or the Advance Payment ACO Program. The rest are private ACOs, which have more flexibility in how they form and operate than their public counterparts.
During the IHI webcast, two executives from Arizona Connected Care shared tips for ACO development:
Include public and private payers. Arizona Connected Care is in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and has taken on commercial contracts from United Healthcare and is entertaining contract proposals from several other payers. The ACO is committed to providing the same high-quality care to all patients, whether they are covered by Medicare or a commercial payer.
"We are trying to force change in the culture and in the provision of care," said John Friend, executive director, Arizona Connected Care. "ACOs represent systemic transformation. For that reason, you can't make deep improvements in care quality and efficiency if you are excluding certain payers and patients from the ACO model," Friend explains.
Promote provider participation. To date, more than 200 physicians are partnering with Arizona Connected Care. The ACO asks physician practices and other providers that want to join the organization to complete a series of evaluations and questionnaires that determine the health and sustainability of the organization. For instance, physicians must provide information on their resources and systems, such as electronic health records and adequacy of administrative and clinical staff, to enable care improvement initiatives and reporting. They must also demonstrate their commitment to adopt and administer best practices and to improve based on comparative data.
"We sit down with those potential ACO partners to assess the quality of their services and the potential for improvement," said Pal Evans, MD, former senior vice president and chief medical officer, Tucson Medical Center. In many cases, these providers don't always have reliable data on patient outcomes and the delivery of quality care, which presents a challenge. At the same time, Evans notes that those providers are some of the most rewarding to work with because they tend to realize the most savings and improvements in quality and efficiency when they join the ACO.
Establish patient engagement initiatives. Tucson Medical Center's patient engagement committee developed Volunteer U, a program that trains healthy older adults within the local Medicare beneficiary pool to serve as patient advocates and offer support and education to peers who are transitioning from a hospital stay. "We recruited local seniors who were retiring from successful careers but weren't ready to stop contributing to the community. They run support groups and identify discharged patients who may need additional help managing their illnesses," says Friend.
Tucson Medical Center has taken its peer advocate program further by training about 10 seniors to be care coaches. By early 2013, those coaches will have the knowledge to evaluate whether a patient is transitioning smoothly after discharge and to recommend additional care resources when necessary," Friend explains.
In addition to contributing to lower readmission rates and improving the quality of life for senior patients, these senior volunteers act as community ambassadors for Arizona Connected Care. They demonstrate the ACO's concern for the well being of its patients.
Through its ACO, Arizona Connected Care is hoping to redefine the healthcare marketplace and encourage more collaboration among providers to improve patient care. "It was a breakthrough moment when we came to conclude as a group that we could really improve patient care," says Friend in a recent interview in Leadership magazine. "Many initially said, 'This sounds like something I heard before, and none of this ever works.' But we are to the point now where there is a high degree of excitement around how we can use data and information and collaborate to actually improve outcomes for patients."
Betty Hintch is editor, newsletters and forums, at HFMA.
Quoted in this article (in order of appearance):
Elliott Fisher, MD, MPH, is director, Center for Population Health, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Hanover, N.H. (Elliott.S.Fisher@Dartmouth.edu)
John Friend is vice president business development and associate general counsel, Tucson Medical Center Healthcare, and executive director, Arizona Connected Care LLC, Tucson, Ariz. (email@example.com).
Palmer Evans, MD, is former senior vice president and chief medical officer, Tucson Medical Center, Tucson, Ariz.
Portions of this article are based on information provided during "Pioneering ACOs: What Do We Know So Far?" a WIHI webcast presented in September 2012 by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
For more information on Arizona Connected Care, read "An Arizona Collaborative Shares in the Savings," published in the Fall-Winter 2012 issue of Leadership magazine.
Publication Date: Friday, December 14, 2012
In this Business Profile, Shawn Yates, director of healthcare product management at Ontario Systems, discusses the growing challenge of managing self-pay accounts and provides insight on how providers can successfully collect patient payments.
In this business profile, Cathy Smith, leader of the revenue transformation consulting practice at The Claro Group discusses how the organization helps hospitals and medical groups reimagine their revenue cycle.
In this business profile, Deloitte & Touche LLP executives Anne Phelps, principal and U.S. healthcare regulatory leader, and Daniel Esquibel, senior manager, explain ways health systems, health plans, and physician practices can prepare for MACRA.
In this Business Profile, Bruce Haupt, president and CEO of ClearBalance, discusses how a patient loan program can increase patient collections, reduce bad debt, and speed cash flow.
In this Business Profile, Jerry Bruno, principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, discusses the importance of choosing revenue cycle solutions that help an organization meet the challenges of a quickly evolving healthcare environment.
In this business profile, Lane Jackson, a partner in the Grant Thornton LLP Health Care Advisory Services practice, with extensive experience in overseeing system implementations and revenue cycle reorganizations, discusses best practices for elevating revenue cycle performance during an EMR implementation. Grant Thornton LLP is a sponsor of the Large System Controllers Council Affinity Group.
Patient financial engagement is more challenging than ever – and more critical. With patient responsibility as a percentage of revenue on the rise, providers have seen their billing-related costs and accounts receivable levels increase. If increasing collection yield and reducing costs are a priority for your organization, the metrics outlined in this presentation will provide the framework you need to understand what’s working and what’s not, in order to guide your overall patient financial engagement initiatives and optimize results.
No two patients are the same. Each has a very personal healthcare experience, and each has distinct financial needs and preferences that have an impact on how, when and if they chose to pay their healthcare bill. It’s no longer effective to apply static billing techniques to solve the complex challenge of collecting balances from patients. The need to tailor financial conversations and payment options to individual needs and preferences is critical. This presentation provides 10 recommendations that will not only help you improve payment performance through a more tailored approach, but take control of rising collection costs.
This white paper, written by Apex Vice President of Solutions and Services, Carrie Romandine, discusses the importance of patient segmentation and messaging specifically related to the patient revenue cycle. Applying strategic messaging that is tailored to each patient type will not only better educate consumers on payment options specific to their billing needs, but it will maximize the amount collected before sending to collections. Further, targeted messaging should be applied across all points of patient interaction (i.e. point of service, customer service, patient statements) and analyzed regularly for maximized results.
This white paper, written by Apex President Patrick Maurer, discusses methods to increase patient adoption of online payments. Providers are now seeking ways to incrementally collect more payments due from patients as well as speeding up the rate of collections. This white paper shows why patient-centric approaches to online payment portals are important complements to traditional provider-centric approaches.
Increased electronic engagement between healthcare providers and patients provides significant opportunities for improving revenue cycle metrics and encouraging patients to access EHRs. This article, written by Apex Founder and CEO Brian Kueppers, explores a number of strategies to create synergy between patient billing, online payment portals and electronic health record (EHR) software to realize a high ROI in speed to payment, patient satisfaction and portal adoption for meaningful use.
Faced with a rising tide of bad debt, a large Southeastern healthcare system was seeing a sharp decline in net patient revenues. The need to improve collections was dire. By integrating critical tools and processes, the health system was able to increase online payments and improve its financial position. Taking a holistic approach increased overall collection yield by 10% while costs came down because the number of statements sent to patients fell by 10%, which equated to a $1.3M annualized improvement in patient cash over a six-month period. This case study explains how.
With the ICD10 deadline quickly approaching and daily responsibilities not slowing down, final preparations for October 1 require strategic prioritization and laser focus.
Read how Gwinnett Medical Center provides clear connections to financial information, offers multiple payment options for patients, and gives onsite staff the ability to collect payments at multiple points throughout the care process.
Read how Orlando Health was able to perform deeper dives into claims data to help the health system see claim rejections more quickly–even on the front end–and reduce A/R days.
To maintain fiscal fitness and boost patient satisfaction and loyalty, healthcare providers need visibility into when and how much they will be paid–by whom–and the ability to better navigate obstacles to payment. They need payment clarity. This whitepaper illuminates this concept that is winning fans at forward-thinking hospitals.
Financial services staff are always looking for ways to improve the verification, billing and collections processes, and Munson Healthcare is no different. Read about how they streamlined the billing process to produce cleaner bills on the front end and helped financial services staff collect more than $1 million in additional upfront annual revenue in one year.
Effective revenue cycle management can be a challenge for any hospital, but for smaller providers it is even tougher. Read how Wallace Thomson identified unreimbursed procedures, streamlined claims management, and improved its ability to determine charity eligibility.
Before launching an energy-efficiency initiative, it’s important to build a solid business case and understand the funding options and potential incentives that are available. Healthcare leaders should consider taking the steps outlined in the whitepaper to ease the process of gaining approval, piloting, implementing, and supporting sustainability projects. You will find that investing in sustainability and energy efficiency helps hospitals add cash to their bottom line. Discover how hospitals and health systems have various options for funding energy-efficient and renewable-energy initiatives, depending on their current financial structure and strategy.
Health care is a dynamic mergers and acquisitions market with numerous hospitals and health systems contemplating or pursuing formal arrangements with other entities. These relationships often pose a strategic benefit, such as enhancing competencies across the continuum, facilitating economies of scale, or giving the participants a competitive advantage in a crowded market. Underpinning any profitable acquisition is a robust capital planning strategy that ensures an organization reserves sufficient funds and efficiently onboards partners that advance the enterprise mission and values.
The success of healthcare mergers, acquisitions, and other affiliations is predicated in part on available capital, and the need for and sources of funding are considerations present throughout the partnering process, from choosing a partner to evaluating an arrangement’s capital needs to selecting an integration model to finding the right money source to finance the deal. This whitepaper offers several strategies that health system leaders have used to assess and manage capital needs for their growing networks.
Announcements from several commercial payers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) early in 2015 around increased efforts to form value-based contracts with providers seemed to point to an impending rise in risk-based contracting. Rather than wait for disruption from the outside in, health care providers are now making inroads on collaborating with payers on various risk-based contracting models to increase the value of health care from within.
Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is a not-for-profit hospital serving a population of roughly 200,000 in Yuma and the surrounding communities.
Before becoming a ZirMed client, Yuma was attempting to manually monitor hundreds of thousands of charges which led to significant charge capture leakage. Learn how Yuma & ZirMed worked together to address underlying collections issues at the front end, thus increasing Yuma’s overall bottom line.
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services works with partners to audit the market and the facility’s role in that market to identify opportunities for improvement. This approach leads to successes; Kindred’s clinical rehab and management expertise complements our partners’ strengths. Every facility and challenge is unique, and requires a full objective analysis.
As the critical link between patient care and reimbursement, health information enables more complete and accurate revenue capture. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing shares how to achieve cost-effective revenue integrity by your optimizing HIM systems.
Speedier cash flow starts with better CDI and coding. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing explains how providers can improve vital measures of technical and business performance to accelerate cash flow.
Qualified coders are getting harder to come by, and even the most seasoned professional can struggle with the complexity of ICD-10. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing explains how partnerships can help improve coding and other key RCM operations potentially at a cost savings.
The point of managing your revenue cycle isn’t just to improve revenue and cash flow. It’s to do those things effectively by consistently following best practices— while spending as little time, money, and energy on them as possible.
How Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford increased payments received within 45 days by 20% and reduced paper submission claims by 70% by using ZirMed solutions.
The reasons claims are denied are so varied that managing denials can feel like chasing a thousand different tails. This situation is not surprising given that a hypothetical denial rate of just 5 percent translates to tens of thousands of denied claims per year for large hospitals—where real‐world denial rates often range from 12 to 22 percent. Read about how predictive modeling can detect meaningful correlations across claims denials data.
Emergency Mobile Health Care (EMHC) was founded to be and remains an exclusively locally owned and operated emergency medical service organization; today EMHC serves a population of more than a million people in and around Memphis, answering 75,000 calls each year.
Since the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) introduction, CMS has paid more than $100 million in bonus payments to participants. However, these bonuses ended in 2015; providers who successfully meet the reporting requirements in 2016 will avoid the 2% negative payment adjustment in 2018, so now is the time to act! Included in this whitepaper are implications of increasing patient responsibility, collections best practices, and collections and internal control solutions.
Getting paid what your physician deserves—that’s the goal of every biller. Yet even for the best billers, achieving that success can be elusive when denials stand in the way of success, presenting challenges at every turn. Denials aren’t going away, but you can learn techniques to manage and even prevent them.Join practice management expert Elizabeth W. Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, to: Discover methods to translate denial data into business intelligence to improve your bottom line, determine staff productivity benchmarks for billers, and recognize common mistakes in denial management.
Physician practices must improve organizational efficiency to compete in this era of reduced reimbursement and escalating administrative costs.
Many healthcare organizations are pursuing next-generation health information systems solutions. Learn more about Navigant's work with University of Michigan Health System.
The proper implementation of healthcare information technology systems is crucial to an organization’s financial health.
Drive down costs while improving quality in a reform environment.
Receive expert insights and how-to action to achieve and maintain peak revenue cycle performance.
Access expert insights on financial forecasting/planning, strategic partnerships, capital allocation, and more.
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