CHS Board Maintains Focus on Patient Billing Improvements
(July 28, 2016) While Coffey Health System finances continue to improve, focus remains on improving the patient billing system.
At the July 25 monthly meeting, Trustee Rosemary Rich inquired about a new monthly report that monitors patient billing errors. The report was discussed at the executive finance committee meeting on July 20, with copies sent to all trustees. It tracks sources of billing errors to specific departments: registration, coding, internal billing, or the hospital’s third-party billing contractor. The new perspective allows executive leadership to address the source of errors to a far greater degree than in the past. Identified trends can be diagnosed and addressed.
Discussion turned to various scenarios where errors occur. Staff and trustees discussed that human error can never be fully eliminated because, for example, the same patient might have workers’ compensation, multiple insurance/payers, or arrive without their insurance cards. All of this information must be logged into the electronic medical record; however, staff cannot readily see everything in a patient’s file, leaving room for discrepancies.
“This (report provides) new information,” Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hernandez explained. “We just got the first report on Wednesday…I would say that next month we will have better answers.”
Hernandez will bring an update to the next board meeting. He will also request that the contractor, HRG, provide documentation of their corrective action.
June financials saw total revenue at $2.19 million. Expenses came in at $1.9 million, for a positive bottom line at $205,241.
Hernandez updated the board on progress toward potentially transitioning to a Critical Access Hospital payment model. While the auditors have not completed their full analysis of the first half of 2016, it appears that the hospital’s recent cost-saving measures have also lessened the potential savings by roughly a third.
“All the hard work that we’ve done over the last year to reduce our costs has subsequently reduced the benefit of potentially changing to Critical Access; however, the study isn’t complete yet,” Hernandez later explained. “When we have a better picture, we will take a close look at the pros and cons. If there is still a substantial benefit to changing, I don’t want to let that opportunity get away from us. We don’t want to get to a point where it becomes too late and we realize that we should have done it.”
Hernandez also reviewed educational options for the board at the Kansas Hospital Association Annual Conference in September. The board voted unanimously to pay for registration for trustees who would like to attend the conference in Overland Park with funds coming from the board education account.
He also announced that CHS will actively participate in KHA’s “We CARE We VOTE” campaign. The initiative encourages the state’s 84,000 healthcare workers to know where their candidates stand on healthcare-related issues and advocate the benefits of expanding KanCare. In Coffey County alone, KanCare expansion would bring in an additional $800,000 to $1 million per year.
Chief Medical Officer John Shell, M.D., announced that the monthly medical staff meeting has changed to the third Monday to better coincide with board meetings. Medical staff appointments were granted for Joseph Couey, A.P.R.N., temporary staffing; and Patricia Macfarlane, M.D. and Earl Maes, M.D., both from Emergence Teleradiology. Indira Vadlamani, M.D., pathology; and Anesthetist Josh Luce, C.R.N.A. were both reappointed. Privileges were extended for Beverly Clark, M.D. and Jon Sides, M.D.
Following a 30-minute executive session, the board unanimously approved the settlement agreement and release of the Lori Rand case with prejudice.
Six trustees were present: Steve Hopkins, Peter Allegre, Judy Reese, Cameron Roth, Rosemary Rich, and Dennis Young. Jeff Clark, Levi Saueressig, and Craig Stukey were absent. The meeting adjourned at 8:26 p.m.
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