March 1, 2019 

One of the keys for healthcare providers in improving patient collections is better communication. As healthcare costs continue to increase and patients are paying more for their coverage, they are also paying closer attention to the quality and cost of the care they are receiving. Because of this, the ways in which the details of treatment options, suggested procedures, and billing and collection activities have become more necessary and wide-ranging. This enhanced patient/provider communication can come in many different forms, and is most commonly referred to as patient engagement. Texts, emails, videos, webinars and mobile devices are all ways this communication can take place, and typically leads to greater patient satisfaction and improved financial results for the practice. 

According to a 2018 survey* of nearly 900 healthcare workers and 1,000 patients conducted by HIMSS, three major findings were discovered:

  1. Providing estimates ahead of time to patients for costs of services rendered had a positive net effect on how quickly patients pay their bills.
    • 46% of respondents stated that they would be more likely to pay more of their charges ahead of time or during the time of service if they received an estimate.
    • 87% of providers indicated they have the ability to provide cost estimates to patients, but only 18% currently do so unless asked to.
  2. Increasing the use of technology for billing and collection activities simplifies the process for both patients and providers.
    • 75% of patient respondents stated that they currently experience difficulty in understanding and/or paying for their healthcare expenses. 
    • 45% of respondents preferred electronic billing and payment options, yet 96% of providers still send patients paper statements through the mail.
  3. Patients would prefer to pay for their healthcare expenses by using their debit or credit cards.
    • 83% of patients stated that they would prefer to use debit or credit cards to pay for balances of $200 or less.
    • Only 49% of providers offer patient payment plans, 42% online bill pay, and 22% lines of credit.

Because of factors like these, nearly 48% of providers reported that it takes patients more than three months to pay off their balances, with only 19% of patients doing so within the first thirty days of services rendered. A little more than 13% of patients took longer than six months to pay their balances, and nearly 6% never paid anything they owed.

A strategic, automated process that addresses both patient billings and collections can go a long way to alleviate these problems.  Revenue Cycle Management/Medical Billing (RCM) does just that.  For more information on the RCM services GBS has to offer, please click here or contact one of our product experts today and let us help you start collecting what you’ve already earned!

*Waystar/HIMSS Analytics: “Patient Payment Check-Up 2018 Survey Report.” https://public.zirmed.com/wp-content/ uploads/2018/05/ Waystar_HIMSS_Analytics_PPCU_Report_2018_05.15.18.pdf; accessed August 2018. 

February 22, 2019

In the dynamically changing world of healthcare, providers are continuously challenged with maximizing their revenues in order to provide better patient care and remain solvent. As industry regulations continue to evolve and vary from year to year, providers must continue to ask themselves two very important questions:

  1. How is your practice managing billings and collections activities?
  2. What effect is that process having on your bottom line?

If the answer to either question or both is “I don’t know,” then chances are that practice is not maximizing all potential revenues. A 2018 study by Dimensional Insight and HIMSS Analytics* added some interesting insights to these questions. With respect to the current process(es) being used to manage billings and collections, the findings included:

  • Only 13% of respondents stated that their Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) processes are completely automated
  • 37% indicated that their RCM processes are less than 25% automated
  • 71% use their EMR as their primary means of managing RCM activities
  • 69% use more than 1 solution to manage RCM activities
  • 76% said that claim denials were the biggest RCM challenge they face
  • 98% of the respondents reported that data collection from varying sources was either a “moderate” or “big” problem for them
  • 96% stated that the ways data is collected was either a “moderate” or “big” problem

Gold dollar signs set against a green background

So what do all of these findings mean for healthcare providers and what can be done about them? Some general conclusions that can be drawn are that providers are struggling to stay current with technology and industry regulations, are complicating processes by using more than one solution to manage their activities, and that collecting and providing accurate patient data is a great challenge. Undoubtedly, these types of inefficiencies are leading to lost revenues and negatively impacting the bottom line of providers throughout the industry.

Don’t allow your practice and patients to get caught up in the confusion! GBS has an all-in-one RCM solution that will help to decrease insurance denials, increase patient collections, and simplify office processes. We’d be glad to discuss how our proven business model can benefit your practice, and how we’ve already helped other organizations improve their bottom lines by improving their billings and collections. Contact GBS today and get started!

*Dimensional Insight/HIMSS RCM Survey: “Understanding Health Systems’ Revenue Cycle Management and Challenges.” www.dimins.com; accessed June 2018.

February 15, 2019

IT security problems come in many shapes and sizes and have a tremendous impact every day on how effectively and efficiently a business operates. Data breaches. Network outages. Productivity losses. These are all daily occurrences in the IT world, and dramatically impact the activities of businesses and consumers around the globe.

Some of the most common technology issues faced by companies today includes the following:

Noncompliance and Security Risks. Ask yourself: are you complying with regulations mandating data security and network integrity? Are you managing security risks and safeguarding data from fraud, theft and misuse?
Downtime Impact. Are IT disruptions distracting your staff from their core focus, or prohibiting them from working efficiently?
Distracted Employees. Does your staff turn to and interrupt non-IT employees to deal with recurring IT problems?
Neglected Network. Is your network perceived by employees as just a “necessary evil” and not as an integral part of improving business performance?
Time-Consuming Server/Backup Checks. Is it necessary for your staff to routinely check network servers and backup systems on a daily basis?

Circular illustration of GBS IT Solutions

One of the major challenges in maintaining a computer network today is trying to predict what will fail and when. Because of this, it is imperative that work be done to prevent networks from failing in the first place. Through the combination of regular and comprehensive preventative maintenance and robust, real-time monitoring of critical network and desktop devices, the reliability and stability of IT assets can be sustained. Building a program that relies on 24x7x365 automated network monitoring, coupled with an aggressive preventative maintenance component, ensures optimum uptime for a business. GBS’ ProActive solution does all of these things and more!

Our ProActive solution is so effective that customers see almost immediate results. A regularly maintained network means fewer failures, yielding higher productivity and savings on support costs for businesses. At the same time, exposure to security risks is dramatically lessened and frustration from unstable IT resources almost vanishes. ProActive allows businesses the time and freedom to focus on their core business functions by taking the worry out of owning a computer network.

To learn more about ProActive and the options and benefits available, contact one of our product experts at 1.800.860.4427 or marketing@gbscorp.com or click here.

February 13, 2019

Why is it incorrect to feel that outsourcing RCM and your billings/collections will lead to a loss of control?

Healthcare organizations know they need to improve their billings and collections processes, but often lack the expertise, resources and guidance to successfully do so internally. The continually growing complexity in the revenue/billing cycle process has increased the cost of collections. Changes in charging, coding, and billing have made it more and more difficult to get timely, accurate payments and compliant billing.

Outsourcing RCM statistics

Outsourcing RCM and your billings/collections services helps to provide the necessary expertise, resources, and guidance. So many organizations lack these assets, which hampers their efforts to achieve their business goals and control cash flows. The point of managing your revenue/billing cycle isn’t just to improve revenue and cash flow, but to do them effectively by consistently following the best industry practices.

Other benefits realized by providers that utilize billing services include the following:

  • Reduce staff turnover and costs of hiring and training new employees
  • Save time and eliminate errors through the use of technology
  • Standardize operating expenses

Learn how GBS has been a trusted partner, improved cash collections, reduced staff turnover and improved the overall billing/collections process for our clients. Read more here.

January 31, 2019

With continued growth in manufacturing of products in industries such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, experts expect the counterfeiting market to follow. According to Markets and Markets, Anti-Counterfeiting are experiencing high demand from these industries. In industries such as these, it is crucial for the manufacturers to ensure that their product is not compromised. All industries have a certain level of accountability to maintain the quality of their product and brand, however, the health concerns in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals give them a higher level of accountability. The safety risk involved in the tampering of healthcare and pharmaceutical packaging is much higher than other industries have much more severe consequences.

Security

The risk involved in healthcare packaging leaves healthcare product manufactures to ensure that their distribution channel is without flaw. This includes knowing where your product is manufactured, where and how it is distributed, and everyone who may touch it along the way. Having a strong understanding of how your product moves along the supply chain will help prevent the product from gray market diversion.

Pharmacy Pills

Gray market diversion refers to “legal goods” which are sold outside normal distribution channels by companies which may have no relationship with the producer of the goods, according to Cyber Investigation Services. The reason that gray market diversion is such a high-level risk in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is that the end user of the product could be at a major health risk if they receive a tampered product. It is the responsibility of healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure that their product is delivered through a safe and secure supply chain. The potential risks of negligence include loss of reputation of your brand, loss of profit to the gray market, and health concerns of the end-user.

To learn more about Brand Protection Labels and the options and benefits available, contact one of our product experts at 1.800.552.2427 or at marketing@gbscorp.com.

January 21, 2019

Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption has not been an easy undertaking in the Healthcare industry. Over the last decade, adoption has been tumultuous and highly variable when you analyze the entire spectrum. Physicians on one end of the spectrum argue the inefficiencies while others are quick to adopt. New graduates are well equipped and complete rigorous training in Medical School to prepare for a career mandating electronic documentation. In fact, by year end 2017, 67% of all providers reported utilizing an EHR. It is important to note that effective EHR systems minimize impact on providers.

Effective EHR Systems

Pediatrics leads the charge with 76% utilization rates. Specialties in the shadow of Pediatrics include: Nephrology (75%), Family Practice (75%), and Urology (74%). Adoption across states has been highly variable as well. Wyoming leads the charge with utilization rates as high as 79%. States in Wyoming’s shadow include: South Dakota (77%), Utah (75%), Iowa (75%), and North Dakota (74%). It is important to note, over the past five years, EHR adoption increased from 40% (2012) to just over 67% (2017).

EHR software companies (e.g. NextGen) are working vigorously to provide end-users with tools that will minimize impact on end-users (e.g. Providers). Minimizing impact on your Providers will allow them to focus more on the overall quality of care that is being provided. With that being said, I want you to ask yourself if your organization is maximizing utilization of your EHR Solution. At the end of the day, the more responsibility you can shift to the patient, the less impact on ancillary staffers and Providers alike. Automation can help shift these burdens from your medical staff to the patients in an effort to expand access by increasing overall throughput.

Knowing underutilization is a major issue, it’s important for your practice to ask some additional questions. Are you utilizing patient check-in kiosks? Do you promote Patient Portal utilization? If so, what components of your Patient Portal are currently configured and actively being utilized? Have end-user preferences been configured by job duty? Have medication preferences been configured to allow for seamless transmission of electronic prescriptions? What percent of your staff setup favorites and defaults?

To learn more about how EHR systems minimize impact on providers and the options and benefits available, contact one of our product experts at 1.800.860.4427 or at marketing@gbscorp.com.

www.gbshealthcare.com

EHR Adoption Rates: 20 Must-See Stats. (2017, March 1). Retrieved February 24, 2018 from https://www.practicefusion.com/blog/ehr-adoption-rates/

January 16, 2019

The idea of embellished print strategies in the consumer products industry has become increasingly popular in recent years. As marketers continue to look for new and exciting ways to differentiate their products from the competition, the idea of adding special effects, coatings and finishes to product labels and printed materials has proven to be quite an effective strategy.

In contrast to traditional printing methods, embellished print strategies are done digitally and are easily adaptable to changes, variations and production preferences. Sample finishes used to embellish products include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Glossy and Raised UV coatings
    • Grit and Sandpaper coatings
    • Embossing and Debossing
    • Varnishes
    • Foils (including Hot, Metallic, Holographic and Clear)

 

Embellished Print Strategies

According to consumer studies and experts in the printing industry, embellished printing can benefit a product by: increasing its perceived value and prestige in the marketplace, increasing the amount of consideration and attention given to it, and playing an important part in the overall selling process to consumers.

    1. Embellished print strategies enhance a brand’s image. Regardless of where a product is sold (either in-store or online), attractive packaging and product labeling positively impacts a consumer’s perception of the product and adds value to its image. Tactile packaging effects add a richness and excitement to products not normally achieved through traditional merchandising and display methods.
    2. Consumers give greater consideration to items utilizing embellished print. According to a study conducted by the Foil & Specialty Effects Association in 2016, products utilizing embellished print held the attention of consumers 18% longer and were recognized 45% quicker than products not using the effects.
    3. Embellished print positively impacts sales. Dr. Andrew Hurley, and associate professor at the University of Clemson and co-founder of Package InSight, a retail packaging research company, states that companies utilizing embellished print typically show gains in market share and sales, especially in the premium and luxury item markets.

 

To learn more about the Embellished Print options offered by GBS and how they can benefit your company and brands, contact one of our product experts at 1.800.552.2427 or at marketing@gbscorp.com.

www.gbscorp.com/print-management/

December 27, 2018

Medical claim denials by insurance companies continue to be a major problem for healthcare providers throughout the industry. Reasons for the denials remain numerous and ever-changing. New industry processes, best practices, and increasing government regulations keep denials in the forefront of effective and profitable practice management on a daily basis.

According to Elizabeth Woodcock, healthcare consultant and author with Woodcock & Associates, this is an ongoing struggle that practices must be fully engaged in to ultimately be financially successful, “Even though it’s frustrating, we’re in a battle (with insurers), and this battle is fought every single day. If we give up, we’re going to give up money as well.” And forfeiting money that’s already been earned for patient services rendered is not a viable option for most providers in today’s ultra-competitive healthcare market. Woodcock adds that, “That’s the way it is. No matter how hard you try to make everything perfect, denials still happen. But you have to recognize that the insurance companies have an economic incentive to deny claims, so you’re never going to get it down to zero.”

According to Medical Economics magazine, the twelve most common causes for medical claim denials providers continue to face are as follows:

  1. Data entry and/or typographic errors on patient data. This can occur during the patient data intake process or the claim entry process.
  2. Duplicate claims submitted for the same service. This can happen when a practice has not yet been reimbursed for a previously submitted claim.medical claim denials
  3. Missing or misapplied procedure code modifiers.
  4. Inaccurate site of service (inpatient or outpatient) designation marked on the claim form.
  5. Patient’s insurance plan deductible has not been met for the year.
  6. Outdated or deleted diagnosis codes used on the claim.
  7. Mutually exclusive or mismatched diagnosis codes used on the claim.
  8. Patient has exceeded his/her plan’s benefit amount for the year.
  9. Lack of prior authorization approval by the patient’s plan for the services provided.
  10. Services rendered are not covered under the patient’s insurance plan.
  11. Services rendered are deemed medically unnecessary by the patient’s plan.
  12. Providing physician is outside of the patient’s insurance network.


However, there is some good news. With increased focus on and attention to the causes for denials, successful strategies can be implemented to effectively manage and overcome them. These strategies must contain both preventative and follow-up measures, but can significantly improve the overall denial process. 
“Denials are your treasure chest for performance improvement,” Woodcock states. “This is your guide to really make a difference.” When acted upon appropriately and responded to accordingly, she states that at least 80 percent of all denials do eventually get paid.

Don’t make these mistakes in your practices! GBS’ Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) services can help reduce your denial rates to less than 1% – adding dollars directly to your bottom line. Contact us at 1.800.860.4427 or at marketing@gbscorp.com and let us help you start collecting what you’ve already earned!

www.gbscorp.com/healthcare-solutions/

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