Without a doubt, one of the most talked about topics in the homecare and hospice has been the Face-To-Face encounter. After becoming a required document effective January 1, 2011 it has put a significant amount of pressure on organizations to attain these documents timely and correctly. Without any change in other documentation requirements (i.e. 485s and Orders) additional stress is being placed on the team members who are responsible for curating, delivering, and ultimately receiving these documents. As resources continue to be stretched, many agencies are looking for methods to improve processes around these tasks. Below are 5 actions you can take to improve your results today.
- Simplify the Document: Try not to over complicate the form and be sure the physician knows exactly what areas of the form they need to complete. Highlighting those areas with an asterisks (*) or bolding the text of the areas needing completion is an excellent way to draw attention. Ensure your form has a professional, clean look that includes your agency’s logo.
- Define Processes & Training: Taking time to detail out processes and documenting training are critical to identifying potential areas for improvement.
- Determine KRAs (Key Results Areas): KRAs measure the results which team members are held accountable for. Metrics will allow team members know how well they are performing and also are a great tool for upper management to measure the performance of the business.
- Gather Feedback: What are your team members saying? Why are your documents being rejected? What is the feedback you’re receiving from your doctors? This information can be extremely valuable to better understand what it takes to have these documents completed timely and accurately.
- Utilize Technology: Systems that offer automation of the processing of these documents are valuable tools. They often include reporting of KRAs, tracking of documents, and enable organizations to unify processes easily across multiple locations.
Despite no standard form for the Face-to-Face encounter or explicit guidelines as to how these should be completed from CMS, taking steps to improve your processes around these documents can have a drastic impact on your rejections and bottom line. What tools or processes do you have in place to help ensure timeliness and accuracy of your Face-to-Face encounters?
One of the biggest challenges faced by home health and hospice agencies is getting signed orders returned in a timely manner. Any delay results in a postponement of payment that can harm your organization. With average turnaround times ranging from 14 days to over 90 days a large amount unpaid care can be trapped in your current processes.
Here are a few ways to reduce document turnaround time and receive them back faster:
1. Improve Your Tracking Process
Review how your facility is keeping up with outstanding documents. Is it a completely manual procedure? Entering data into a spreadsheet takes time and accuracy is dependent solely on the employee handling this process. If the procedure is neglected, the turnaround time can extend and be much more difficult to review outstanding documentation. Investing in a program that automatically tracks what is faxed without any additional information having to be manually entered can greatly benefit an organization. Automatic systems, like Forcura, eliminate the possibility of human error while providing a comprehensive overview of documentation.
2. Package Your Documents Professionally
Whether your documents are clean and easy to read is another contributing factor to how timely the document is returned. Because of their busy schedules, physicians cannot and will not devote a large amount of time to documents that are hard to understand or read. The less complicated and more professionally presented document, the quicker it will be returned. Users of Forcura have reported quicker turnaround time in conjunction with the barcode that is placed on the top of the form. The barcode contributes to an overall professional appearance and shows the physician that the document is being tracked and expected back quickly.
3. Consider Your Delivery System
It is also important to consider how the documents are traveling to your sources. Is it by fax, mail, portal or hand delivery? Many sources have their preferred method of receiving orders, and it is important to abide by their preference within reason. Find a system that can offer the sources options on how the document is sent. With Forcura, documents can be tracked and sent through our system and will arrive on the physician’s fax machine. When they fax back, it will be automatically routed into our system. A single-login portal is also available to physicians who are technologically forward thinkers and wish for all of their post-acute providers to be on one network.
You’ve completed the leg work by receiving the referral from the source, do not lose the source’s business by not being flexible in communication. At the same time don’t allow your business to suffer the costly delay of dropping the bill to the insurance companies when it can easily be avoided.