For home health agencies struggling to complete claims documentation required to secure payments and provide much needed cash flow, obtaining physician signatures continues to hold them back.
Under the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), claims documentation must now be done in a 30-day window instead of a 60-day one, requiring a quicker turnaround time for the documentation required for reimbursement. That problem will be exacerbated in 2021 with the elimination of RAP payments, making timely physician signatures even more important for home health care agencies as they strive to get final claims submitted as soon as possible.
“Getting physicians to sign orders can be incredibly problematic and can slow down everything for a home health care agency,” says Rob Stoltz, Vice President of Business Development at Citus Health. “It’s been a problem for decades, and despite the best efforts of the industry, it hasn’t gone away.”
Here is a look at the problems inherent in capturing physician orders, and how a new solution is creating outcomes that agencies need.
The problem: We make it too difficult for physicians
In addition to getting a busy physician’s attention, technology has been a significant barrier. Traditional paper forms are inefficient regardless of whether the documents are received in person or via fax.
The move to electronic workflows can speed up the process as providers use web-based forms in portals or applications to capture signatures and manage documentation. But that shift brings two new problems. The first is simple: Physicians are reluctant to download yet another app to simply sign a document.
The second problem is: Physicians hate portals
“Physicians provide a lot of referrals across the post-acute continuum, so the headache for them is that now they have to sign into many portals with multiple usernames and passwords,” Stoltz says. “Industry data shows that portals are not utilized effectively.”
The COVID-19 pandemic poses another problem. With a remote workforce, it has been difficult for many agencies to track down physicians and their staff to obtain signatures.
“What worked in the past – physically tracking down a physician or staff member in the office — is much more difficult in today’s environment,” Stoltz says.
Fortunately, there is a better way: Magic Link technology.
The solution: Magic Link
At the end of the day, the responsibility for easing this process is on the party in need of the signatures, Stoltz says. In other words, the home health care agency.
“Our contention is that the objection (from physicians) is, ‘You just have to make it easier for me — so I don’t have to log into a portal and I don’t have to download an app,’” Stoltz says.
Magic Link technology checks both of those boxes. It is an app-less path to capturing signatures through a secure link in either a text or email, based on end-user preference. It requires no login, making it a “password-less authentication,” Stoltz says.
Here’s how it works:
— The sender — the home health care agency, in this case — sends material to the recipient through its software platform
— That recipient — the physician, in this example — receives a text or email from a known contact notifying them that they have a document awaiting signature
— The notification uses a hyperlink, which brings the recipient into a secure environment to read the document and take the action needed to complete and sign it
— All of this is done without the recipient requiring a password and login, or downloading an app
“This technology gives agencies a chance to create an easier way for physicians to move past the objections that they’ve stated for years about portals and applications,” Stoltz says. “Physicians appreciate a solution that makes their job easier and can save them time.”
The outcome: faster order processing and reimbursement
Magic Link technology is a time-saving feature of the Citus Health platform solution, which offers home-based care providers the comprehensive platform for real-time collaboration and communication between care teams, patients and family caregivers. Stoltz says Citus Health customers are raving about the speed at which they can capture signatures and how easy it is for physicians and family caregivers to use.
And as with any health care IT solution, the secondary benefit is increased efficiency. When agencies can trim time spent on documentation and chasing signatures, they can increase time spent providing care. For home health care agencies, expediting a physician signature can make a huge difference in cash flow, since they can submit reimbursement documentation more quickly.
“It’s new technology, and it’s exciting,” Stoltz says, “Today’s home health care agencies need to consider any technology that can speed up their workflows, especially the critical documentation required to start care and secure reimbursement for that care.”
To learn more about how Citus Health can help your agency improve communication and collaboration with features like Magic Link, visit CitusHealth.com.