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Posted By Amanda Guerrero
June 28, 2012

Many businesses have started going green over the years by implementing new technologies, automating medical accounts receivable solutions, and moving other operations online. With the introduction of electronic medical record systems, the healthcare industry has also started looking for ways to “go green” and decrease their carbon footprint. Following are a few easy steps that healthcare professionals can take to reduce their environmental impact and cut costs.

Move away from paper-based processes. EMR systems are helping hospitals and medical practices eliminate paper charts and prescription pads. Instead of wasting paper on visit notes, printing faxed lab results, and handing out patient education flyers, EMR software makes it possible for doctors to do everything on the computer, including receiving test results electronically, sending e-prescriptions to a patient’s pharmacy, and making educational resources available online through an EMR-integrated patient portal.

Automate billing tasks. Aside from implementing EMR software, providers should consider moving their accounts receivable to electronic-based systems as well. Billing software usually integrates easily with EMR systems, making it easier for staff members to access procedure codes for billing purposes, without that data having to be printed out. In addition, making it easy for patients to view their statements online and opt-out of paper statements can also help reduce your practice’s environmental impact.

Offer remote care for follow-up appointments. While insurance companies don’t generally cover remote appointments, visit times are typically shorter and take up less of the doctor’s time. Because of this, many physicians charge patients less for these services and some even offer the services at no cost, as it gives doctors the opportunity to schedule more visits.

To learn more about medical accounts receivable solutions that can help your practice ‘go green,’ click here.

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Marie
 
Posted By Marie
May 30, 2012

Medical debt collection in Minnesota have become somewhat of a heated issue.

In April 2012, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson published a six-volume “compliance review” bringing a questionable practice by state hospital/clinic chain Fairview Health Services.  The report alleges that Fairview – a non-profit consisting of seven hospitals and over forty clinics statewide – misused a relationship with Illinois revenue Fairviewcycle management company Accretive Health to increase its potential to cash in on up-front payments from patients.

The two companies had a contractual agreement whereby Accretive handled medical collections for the hospital chain, eliminating Fairview’s need to train existing office staff on patient collections and employing a number of other procedures designed to increase hospital/clinic revenue.  Medical collections and revenue cycle management companies can save practices an enormous amount of money by taking collections tasks – including handling insurance claims, calling patients, sorting and managing unpaid bills, skiptracing accounts, and more – out of the hands of medical office staff.  These tasks are instead performed by a team of collections experts with revenue cycle management training who can dedicate their entire workday to just medical billing.

While outsourcing medical debt collection is one of the best ways for clinics and hospitals to maximize revenue during an economic downturn (when patients are less likely to pay their bills), Swanson’s report alleges that Fairview Health Services integrated these outsourced, third-party medical billers into the hospital staff, but allowed them to perform “first-party” collections tasks.  First-party collections are typically performed by the staff at the medical facility, and include early follow-up with patients and contacting them to arrange payment before handing the account off to a third-party debt collector.

The problem Swanson saw lies in the way Accretive staff members who had been integrated into the Fairview staff (plus Fairview staff trained by Accretive) changed the facilities’ collections practices.  For example, the new procedures incorporated a number of scripts into the patient sign-in procedure that implied that patients would not receive care until the hospital could be assured of payment.  The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) prohibits the discussion of payment before stabilizing the patient and providing an emergency medical screening, but Accretive has denied that their scripts violate this act.  (The report also alleges that Accretive’s third-party collectors actually misrepresented themselves as “financial counselors” to patients.)

It’s not the first time that Accretive and Fairview have been in trouble with the Attorney General’s office, as their billing practices for uninsured patients and charity care administration was found to be “deficient” in 2005.  Fairview ended its contract with Accretive in January of 2012, and Accretive’s stock has since seen fairly dramatic losses.

The lesson here is an obvious one – be careful who you go into business with, and don’t let a company offering extremely lucrative deals run wild within your own organization without checking up on their business practices.  But hospitals and medical practices certainly shouldn’t write off medical accounts receivable solutions over the Accretive fiasco.  Outsourcing revenue cycle management, when done right, can offer a company an excellent way to manage its books and collect on more unpaid bills than ever could be done in-office.

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ABOUT US
The mission of New Wave Enterprises has and will always be very simple: deliver a quality custom solution to every client within budget. Founded in 2003 by John Deutsch the company was originally known as New Wave Marketing.
 
We then incorporated under New Wave Enterprises LLC. Around this same time we founded Medical Web Experts and Legal Web Experts as subsidiaries. We pride ourselves on staying true to our ethics by being honest and fair to our clients.
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