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.
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.
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.
Oh the travails of Behavioral Health EHR vendors! Sometimes they are cringe worthy from what is appropriate marketing material to how slow and outdated a product actually is and how that impacts a mental health agency.
We do love technology and so appreciate the vendors that service behavioral health with integrity, innovation, maturity, and best-in-class products and services.
Today we interview our CEO, Kristin Walker. She has a lot to say about electronic health record vendors and revenue cycle management companies that service Behavioral Health. It’s no-holds-barred as usual and we’ll discuss just who has access to patient mental health records from Revenue Cycle Management organizations to Electronic Health Record vendors. We’ll shine a spotlight on why this is important to agencies and providers.
She also answers questions from our listeners about what she does, why she does it, and why her radio show and Behavioral Health are her passions.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. This is what it is like for many behavioral health practices. They continue using an EHR that cannot help them and could be hurting their practice. Change is difficult especially when you have invested time, money, and energy into one of the biggest financial decisions your practice will make. I know this from personal experience and so do my providers.
“When you’re the only sane person, you look like the only insane person.” ―Criss Jami
It is fast becoming imperative for all mental health providers to use electronic health records. Our clients have been with us for years. We handle their back office. We make sure they get paid and their practice grows. Of course they came to us with that all important question: Which EHR should we choose? We did what so many behavioral health organizations have done and jumped in headfirst with an EHR without properly testing the product or the company behind it. Ouch.