4 Ways Technology Can Improve Reimbursements
By Paul Liistro | May 15, 2018
It’s an understatement to say long-term care has changed. In 1982, Medicaid paid for 48.3 percent, Medicare for 1.8 percent, and other public programs for 4.8 percent of the total nursing home costs.¹ Today 57 percent is paid by Medicaid, with 14 percent paid by Medicare. Numbers don’t lie.
That’s the beauty of technology. It keeps us accountable too. In skilled nursing facilities, I would say in the last 5-10 years, I’ve really started seeing technology provide productivity and benefits we couldn’t achieve before. We need all this data to share with our hospital referral partners who rely on us to keep their patients healthy and quite frankly out of the hospital.
To show our referral partners the ability to limit infections, we’ve turned to a technology that actually kills airborne infections. Instead of just relying on the same old practices clinicians have used for decades, Vernon Manor looked for innovation that dissolves volatile organic compounds and even smells. This provides a healthier environment for our residents.
I believe everybody and certainly every department should have a sharp tool in their shack. We have been using technology at the nursing level to interact with our pharmacy. We also made the investment to provide technology to our CNAs so they can do electronic charting. Their electronic charting allows us to provide a better care plan.
Our business office has been using technology to help us understand how many Medicare days a patient has accrued, but we’re also tracking whether those have been full pay and how the spent those days in the hospital and in the nursing home. We can more accurately bill with this technology so we limit the amount of rejections for reimbursement. With this investment in technology, we know we’ll get paid. Can you feel just as confident in your facility?
It’s no secret the last few years for long-term care have been a rocky road we’ve had to prepare for and we did. We were able to get ahead of all the CMS changes with technology. Our facilities have had the good fortune of being a five star facility, but to maintain that designation you must look at tools to help make it easier and stay one step ahead of issues. For instance, abaqis mimics the survey and tracks our work at quarterly intervals. This is reassuring because when surveyors arrive, we’re one step ahead of what they’re planning to do. Why wouldn’t you invest in technology that helps you catch everything before the surveyors do?
We’re no longer in an era of “taking chances.” Owners, administrators and clinicians should feel confident with where they stand in hospital readmissions, quality and so much more because the technology is available and it continues to be developed. So work with your supplier, find a partner and identify the tools that will help you and your patients succeed.
A quality management system is available to help you drive success in providing quality care, focus on your annual survey performance and address federal regulations. Watch providers share ways they’re achieving quality in their facilities at the AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit.
1. National Health Expenditures 2016 Highlights. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/highlights.pdf. Accessed May 14, 2018.
Managing Partner of Vernon Manor & Arbors of Hop Brook
Paul T. Liistro is Managing Partner of Vernon Manor Health Center and Arbors of Hop Brook Continuing Care Retirement Community in Connecticut. As a senior business executive with extensive long-term care and senior care services experience, Mr. Liistro serves in leadership roles within several leading health care industry organizations. Mr. Liistro is on the board of directors for Qualidigm, Quality Improvement Organization for Connecticut; a representative at-large on the Board of Governors for the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and is a member of the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Board of Directors for HealthCap Liability Insurance Company. He is also immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities (CAHCF; 2010-2014) as well as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Health Care and Insurance departments of UCONN. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Administrators (ACHCA), the Association of Long-Term Care Financial Managers (ALTCFM) and a past board member of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC). Prior to his role at Arbors, Mr. Liistro held marketing and product manager positions at General Mills and General Foods (now Kraft Foods). His early career also included a position within the accounting and audit department at Price Waterhouse and Co. Mr. Liistro earned his B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME and obtained his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.