Covid-19, 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 as of this writing. Here at Fast Layne Solutions, we are, as always, focused on how to help small- to medium-sized independent medical practices, so this blog post outlines our response, including our advice and the steps we intend to take to help our clients and our country. It will be updated as events unfold and as we add more measures.
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 Covid-19 pandemic, we are waiving much of the implementation cost for our clients and, for qualifying practices, will amortize the rest over one year. We can get practices set up on telehealth extremely quickly and we have two versions: one is embedded into the patient portal that we provide with our EMRx and Revenue Cycle Management offering (see iClaim below), while the other is a standalone app that is Bluetooth-enabled and vendor/platform-agnostic and can be rolled out in a matter of days. In either case, with just a few clicks, you can be seeing a patient anywhere 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. Please see our statement on the HIPAA telehealth enforcement waivers for more information.) In the embedded version, in the same portal where you hold the telehealth session, 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 minimize the impact on your practice so that you can continue serving your patients:
- iClaim. Claim-scrubbing technology is now more important than ever. Even in good times, the insurance companies look for any and every excuse they can find to reject your claims. That’s why on average a third have to be resubmitted at least once. As the insurance companies seek to cut costs and minimize their losses during this crisis, we project that figure will rise in 2020. It is therefore now more vital than ever that you have a system like iClaim in place to avoid giving them any excuse to reject your claims. Using our claim-scrubbing technology, our users have an average rejection rate of just 1.87%.
- Denial Defender. Aside from the standard claim-scrubbing technology included in iClaim, we also offer the Denial Defender feature in our software. This allows us to check claims against a massive claim edit engine based on Medicare claim payment rules (which most private insurers follow). This reduces the chance of rejection even further.
- Auto-Eligibility (automated eligibility verification) and Automated Prescription Prior Authorizations. Your office staff will be hard pressed to find the time to do manual eligibility verifications and medication prior auths by phone, fax, or insurance portals during this crisis, which means they will be pressured to cut corners in these these important areas. That is going to lead to more claims being denied and fewer authorizations. We can completely automate these tasks for you to ensure that every patient’s eligibility is verified every single time, using our Auto-Eligibility feature, and that all prior authorizations are completed automatically, with minimal impact on staff.
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. And to help even more, we will be offering all the standard features of our standalone telehealth app free of charge until the pandemic is over or until September 13 2020, whichever comes first.
We want to close by thanking our tireless and brave healthcare workers who will be on the front line in the battle against Covid-19. You are our heroes and America’s best hope.