The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (otherwise known as MACRA) was signed into law in April 2015. A few months ago, the CMS released its proposed rule for what MACRA entails. What does that mean for behavioral health providers who care for Medicare beneficiaries? Let’s break it down.
- The research and demo process can tell you almost everything you need to know about an EHR vendor. Do you have the time and the staff to traverse this rocky road on your own?
- If this isn’t your first rodeo with an EHR, work with vendors that have nothing to hide
- Avoid vendors that shout out in their marketing material how honest they are, would never hold your data hostage, etc. – professionals don’t need to make these claims in their material
- There’s a diagnosis code for this kind of behavior
Choosing the right behavioral health EHR is one of the most important decisions a mental health organization will make.
Before you dive into purchasing the software that will be running your practice make sure the vendor providing the demo is not really a magician. In our time spent only selling mental health EHRs, we have done demos exactly as trained by the creators of the products. We found out later this was horrendously misleading and when we started doing demonstrations of the products exactly as they worked, sales of these EHRs slowed down to a trickle. As they should.
everythingEHR has been reviewing behavioral health EHRs for the past few years. Many of our clients from mental health billers to behavioral health providers have come to rely on our EHR knowledge to help them during the often painful process of selecting a system that will ultimately run their practice. We have demoed more than forty behavioral health EHRs. Some are 100% mental health focused and others serve many sectors of health care and include a behavioral health component. We found that the process of vetting EHR vendors can and should be a time-consuming journey but often filled with missteps and some landmines. Our clients always report a serious reduction in anxiety by having one of our advisers join them on each and every demo.
HIPAA, HITECH, Omnibus, PCI regulations – these are words that can strike fear into the heart of any Behavioral Health organization. They don’t need to as we found after speaking with our guest today on Mental Health News Radio. We sat down with Marc Haskelson, the President and CEO of Compliancy Group, to find out how easy compliance can be.
Complimentary Webinars on Compliancy in Behavioral Health
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As a mental and behavioral healthcare practice ready to adopt or expand a paperless system, you might find yourself in new territory without a map.
While there is no one perfect catchall, forming a shortlist of vendors depends on understanding how important features of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology can meet the needs of your workplace. Assessing your needs, knowing what you are looking for, and being in the know about key features that systems offer saves you valuable time, energy – and in the long run – cost. The features listed below provide a good starting point in leading you in the right direction to find the EHR your practice needs. We are also a phone call or email away if you would like a guide through this process.
Credibility: Who are the founding members of the organization? Are they mental health providers that have created software that runs their own successful mental health agencies? Would the CEO or President be an invited speaker at a Behavioral Health conference to discuss something other than technology? What kind of contributions have the founding members created for Behavioral Health? Are they the face of the company? Can you find their staff on LinkedIn with a multitude of and varied experience in the field of Behavioral Health?
Billing System: A billing system that focuses on easy setup for direct billing to many payers within the application but also offers built-in integration with clearinghouses for payment and eligibility checking so you spend less time in clearinghouse portals to process your billing. EHRs that have direct links to databases that house every insurance payers address, phone numbers, etc. which reduces the amount of time your practice needs to spend setting up the system, as well as, human error. EHRs with tools that show you as a provider what your reimbursement rates should be across multiple insurance payers.
Every year the Samaritan Institute holds their annual conference. The talk tracks this year focused heavily on tele-behavioral health as well as EHR selection, implementation and clinical workflow. Our CEO, Kristin Walker, was asked to present with Dr. Carol Pitts on electronic health records. The sessions were full and they had a line of people waiting to talk to each of them at the conclusion of the presentations.
The importance of working with vendors that have the proper credentials in behavioral health was part of the discussion. They also discussed the travails but necessary journey of moving from a Behavioral Health EHR that ceases to meet the needs of a behavioral health agency to one that is designed as an enterprise-wide and browser-based EHR.
I remember the day I knew I would have a career in the helping field: It was a day like any other in first grade. As I stood in line with all my classmates, our janitor, Mr. Johnson, walked past. His familiar gimp accompanied him, as it always did, with one leg lagging behind him while the opposite arm swayed oddly.
To my dismay, the entire class snickered and called out insults, which—right or wrong—was the popular response by those around me. However, being the empath I am, I just sank inside. A pit the size of a kickball grew in my stomach and I just had to do something to ease his pain. Not having the tools then that I have now, I didn’t know what else to do. So I waved, smiled. A simple token of kindness that would foretell my future as a therapist. I knew then that I could not tolerate human suffering and that I had a gift within me to help ease it.
What is a Community Mental Health organization to do when it is time to make the switch from one Behavioral Health EHR to another?
They start planning.
They outline what isn’t working about their current system and plan out their goals for transitioning to a new EHR that can better handle their needs. Sometimes the first jump into an electronic health record system is successful only in that it transitions the agency off a paper-based system and educates the staff about what kinds of features they want in a new system.
Please join us in welcoming Melanie Vann to everythingEHR. Melanie is working with our Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers and Public Behavioral Health Centers on HIPAA compliance and training. She works onsite with practices taking a view of all departments from administrative staff to the clinical team to make sure all processes are being followed that are specific to a behavioral health environment.
Melanie joins us on Mental Health News Radio to discuss her love of animal-assisted therapy. She’s also our Creative Director, handling all of our marketing efforts for everythingEHR and our advocacy radio show. We could not do all that we do without her!