October NCMGMA Roadshows Early Registration Extended to 10/2

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Roadshow Early Registration Extended to October 2nd
Administrator and Front Office Tracks Offered!

NCMGMA is hitting the road and coming your way! Join us in Hickory on October 6th with Rich Schlentz and V2V Management Solutions or in Greenville on October 13th with Novant Health’s Sean Keyser and V2V Management Solutions. Both Roadshows will also offer great networking opportunities with other members and NCMGMA Alliance Exhibitors.

Registration includes continental breakfast and lunch. Register additional employees with the same company for just $75.00 each!

Pick the Roadshow that’s Best for You!

We are holding two Roadshow’s this October: one on October 6th in Hickory and one on October 13th in Greenville.  Follow the links below for complete details on each event, including schedule of events, speakers, costs, registration, and hotel accommodations.

Questions

If you have any questions about our October Roadshow, please contact the NCMGMA offices at info@ncmgm.org or by phone at 800-753-MGMA (6462).

MIPS 90-day reporting period deadline: Oct. 2

Group practices and eligible clinicians (ECs) seeking to earn a bonus in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2019 have until Oct. 2 to begin reporting one or more quality measures, improvement activities, or Advancing Care Information measures for the minimum 90 consecutive days. Conversely, group practices and ECs have through the end of the calendar year to avoid a 4% MIPS penalty in 2019 by reporting at least one quality measure on one patient. MGMA encourages practice executives to protect their practice from a Medicare payment cut by reporting more than one measure as an insurance policy in case the group encounters any data submission issues or inaccuracies. For resources to help your practice successfully participate in MIPS, visit MGMA.org/MACRA.

Healthcare reform on hold

Originally published in the September 27, 2017 issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

The latest Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement proposal will not be brought to a vote in the Senate, after Susan Collins, R-ME, became the third Republican to publicly come out against it. MGMA expressed concerns over this latest proposed Senate bill based on our healthcare reform principles. The Senate appears willing to resume its own bipartisan efforts to stabilize the exchanges for next year.

CMS Reveals New Medicare Card Design

Removing Social Security numbers strengthens fraud protections
for about 58 million Americans

Thursday, September 14th — Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave the public its first look at the newly designed Medicare card. The new Medicare card contains a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number.

CMS will begin mailing the new cards to people with Medicare benefits in April 2018 to meet the statutory deadline for replacing all existing Medicare cards by April 2019. In addition to today’s announcement, people with Medicare will also be able to see the design of the new Medicare card in the 2018 Medicare & You Handbook. The handbooks are being mailed and will arrive throughout September.

“The goal of the initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is to help prevent fraud, combat identify theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We’re very excited to share the new design.”

CMS has assigned all people with Medicare benefits a new, unique Medicare number, which contains a combination of numbers and uppercase letters. People with Medicare will receive a new Medicare card in the mail, and will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential. Issuance of the new number will not change benefits that people with Medicare receive.

Healthcare providers and people with Medicare will be able to use secure look-up tools that will allow quick access to the new Medicare numbers when needed. There will also be a 21-month transition period where doctors, healthcare providers, and suppliers will be able to use either their current SSN-based Medicare Number or their new, unique Medicare number, to ease the transition.

This initiative takes important steps towards protecting the identities of people with Medicare. CMS is also working with healthcare providers to answer their questions and ensure that they have the information they need to make a successful transition to the new Medicare number. For more information, please visit: www.cms.gov/newcard

Merging Medicine & Management (M3) Conference Post Event Wrap Up

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Last week, NCMGMA, along with our friends at the NC Medical Society, wrapped up our 2017 Merging Medicine & Management Conference (M3) with over 290 attendees and 59 exhibitors over the course of three days. There were many great educational sessions that integrated the nuts-and-bolts of practice management with the clinical aspect for physicians, important networking sessions with other like-minded practice managers, and exhibitor time with vendors offering the best in innovative products and services for our North Carolina practices.

The goal of the M3 conference is for the two organizations to collaborate and host a conference where administrators, managers, physicians, PAs, and students can come together, learn from one another, and attend sessions that put the focus on the practice and those leading it.

A few things we wanted to highlight from last week’s event include:

North Carolina Medical Group Management Association Names
Matt Johnson 2017 Administrator of the Year

m317-aoy320bMatt Johnson, Chief Administrative Officer of Wake Internal Medicine Consultants (WIMC), was named the 2017 NCMGMA/Medical Mutual Administrator of the Year during the Merging Medicine and Management (M3) Conference on Friday, September 15th.

The Administrator of the Year award honors a medical practice administrator who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and management proficiency, and who has helped enhance the effectiveness of health care delivery in North Carolina. Sponsored by Medical Mutual Insurance Company, the Administrator of the Year Award also provides the recipient with a stipend for continuing education at a state or national Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) meeting.

Matt Johnson has been in health care since 1994 and spearheaded the joint venture between a physician-owned corporation and a not-for-profit hospital before joining WIMC in 2014. With an unwavering dedication to the betterment of each physician, manager, and staff member, Matt has created the Employee Activity Council, has organized multiple food and school drives, and has implemented Loyalty Grades throughout the 170-employee practice.

“When the committee looks at the nomination forms, we look for an individual who has strong leadership qualities, and who is an advocate for patients, staff, and community” says Fran Sembert, NCMGMA’s Governance Chair and past president. “Since Wake was awarded the Practice of the Year in 2015, we already knew it was being led by someone who is passionate about what he does, the providers he works for, and the staff he works with. Matt Johnson truly embodies what we look for when choosing the winner of this award.”

Kim Harrah Becker Volunteer Award

Kim Harrah, a beloved NCMGMA member and board member, lost her battle with cancer in 2016. To honor Kim’s vibrant personality and true dedication to anything she put her energy toward, we created the Kim Harrah Volunteer Award.

Steve Parker of Medical Mutual helped us recognize this year’s recipient, Todd Pittman, CMPE, during the M3 Conference dinner on Friday night. The Kim Harrah Volunteer Award highlights the true meaning of volunteerism for NCMGMA and we are proud to present it to Todd, a member whose continuous service and commitment to our organization truly embodies the spirit of this award.

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NCMGMA Business Meeting:
New Slate of Officers

During the NCMGMA Business Meeting, Melissa White (President) gave her President’s Report and thanked the NCMGMA Leadership Council, chapter presidents, and leaders who have given their time to our organization.

Additionally, those present voted in our new board members (these are three-year terms beginning November 1, 2017):

Western Region At-Large Director
Amanda McKinney, MBA
A Woman’s View
Hickory, NC

Piedmont Region At-Large Director
Leah Paraschiv, CMPE
MSOC Health
Chapel Hill, NC

And the 2017-18 NCMGMA Officers:

President
Sandra Jarrett, CMPE
Salisbury Orthopaedic Associates, PA
Salisbury, NC

President-Elect
Jane Lutz
Charlotte Radiology, PA
Charlotte, NC

Treasurer
Tessa Wolfarth
Coastal Carolina Surgical Associates, PA
Wilmington, NC

Secretary
Donna Garvey, CMA, CMPE
Sports Medicine & Joint Replacement of Greensboro
Greensboro, NC

Thank again to all those who were able to make the 2017 M3 event!

Healthcare IT News: Hackers Targeting Healthcare Records

2017 Alliance sponsor article provided courtesy of IT Practice

Healthcare records can easily be considered some of the most sensitive data that is being stored by business and healthcare centers. It contains patient’s personal information such as birth dates, medical histories and other identifying information. If this information is breached not only are patients’ identities at risk, healthcare businesses and their reputations are as well! Identify theft of patient data can lead to healthcare fraud and yearly medical price increases, costing both the patients and providers more money each time they need a healthcare visit.

Cyberattacks cost hospitals and the healthcare field millions of dollars in data retrieval and business recovery. According to an Accenture news article, cyber breaches will cost the healthcare industry $305 billion over the next five years. In 2014 alone, nearly 1.6 million patients had their medical information stolen from medical providers. These hacks cost the patient money as well as the business. When valuable money resources are being used to deal with cyber breaches, other areas of the healthcare industry suffer. Less money is spent on medical equipment, hiring more medical providers, and other medical resources. Instead this money is being spent on disaster relief and recovering patient data.

When a breach happens, a healthcare business will then ask itself several questions:

  • How did this breach happen?
  • What can we do to prevent further security threats?
  • What is the most secure system for healthcare data?

Healthcare centers are required by law to keep records electronically. This means secure electronic storage is vital to the healthcare industry. Patients and providers need to be assured that the data is kept secure and is being monitored for any potential threats.

Secure ways of storing data include:

  • Cloud based services: storing data in off-premise centers
  • Business Continuity: Having a plan for business to continue as usual in the event of a breach or disruption.
  • Data Backup and Recovery: Having data backed up and secure and being able to quickly recover this data is vital to healthcare to identify what data was hacked and to secure any additional data from being stolen.

When data is compromised in many other industries, it quickly becomes useless. Passwords and encryptions are changed and any new data becomes inaccessible to the hackers. This is not the case with healthcare data! Healthcare data is some of the most sensitive data that needs to be protected. HIPAA and privacy laws can shut down a practice if there is a data breach and patient information is compromised. Luckily, there are multiple options to secure data and protect the healthcare industries. By using several data security plans, the chances of healthcare data breaches will be reduced.

IT Practice, a HIPAA Certified Company based in Raleigh, NC, provides a wide range of IT solutions for Dental, Medical and Small Business Professionals across North Carolina and Virginia. Contact IT Practice today for a free consultation to determine your exact IT needs.

Recommended Resources:

Patient Portal: The thread that connects patient and provider to enable deeper mutual engagement for managing healthcare

2017 Alliance feature article provided courtesy of TriMed Technologies

What do patient engagement, Electronic Health Records, appointment scheduling, bill payment and reconciliation, prescription refill requests, retail experience, Value Based Payments, HIPAA, and physician office best practices all have in common?

While they seems to be a varied cornucopia placed in a single basket, they all can be connected with technology called Patient Portal.

Like three major highways merging together into a single expressway, and moving at higher and higher speeds, healthcare is experiencing the convergence of government mandates, disruptive payor models, and the general population’s changing expectations and seeming culture shift to consumer driven, retail experiences.

Healthcare providers, from hospital systems to primary and specialty care providers, are increasingly connecting with their patients through their respective Patient Portals. At least they are attempting to do so. In a report published by the American Hospital Association in July 20161 between 2013 and 2015 online medical views more than doubled, download of medical records nearly tripled, and requests to change medical records more than doubled in that period. While this news sounds promising, the reality is that on a broad scale, patients/consumers reported very low use of the tools that patient portals primarily provide.

A survey in 2015 prepared by Nielsen’s Strategic Health Perspectives2 and presented by The Council of Accountable Physician Practices points to the gap between government mandates and payor and provider desires over against the unmet needs of consumers when it comes to not only basic online access, but to deeper interaction with their healthcare provider. This is broken down to HAVE vs. WANT in the following chart:

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Moreover low-income consumers, those with a combined household annual income of less than $35,000 and Medicaid consumers said that they WANTED Text Appointment Reminders at a rate of 22% and 32%, respectively. That’s nearly one in three Medicaid recipients, for just one potential online engagement service. When it comes to Text Reminders about taking medications or other health reminders, nearly one in four respondents receiving Medicaid benefits said that they WANTED this engagement.

But there are additional health care related tasks that are available to consumers that the Patient Portal can provide. According to general population benchmark data published by ACI Worldwide and Aite Group in January 20173, more than 56% of bills are paid online by way of a biller, bank or third party web site. Of note for the revenue cycle management side of physician practices, nearly three out of four of online bill payments are made on the biller’s (ie, practice) websites. Healthcare providers who fail to implement this ‘low hanging fruit’ of patient engagement do so at the cost of efficiency and best practice workflow.

Portals provide the ability for patients to schedule, cancel and reschedule appointments online. This technology is analogously utilized by the airline industry across carriers and has been in use for some time – whereby a consumer can prepay their flight and choose a seat at the same time. The healthcare industry, such as it is, lags behind in the implementation of this kind of service to it’s own consumers, due to either practice financial or cultural barriers – maybe both.

Other value drivers of a Portal include the ability for patients and guarantors to request prescription refills, view and respond to lab results, and view and print immunization schedules for parents and guardians. Online demographic registration and the completing of online forms, including consent forms, are additional workflow efficiencies that effective practices are beginning to utilize to minimize cost and enhance the patient experience.

One dictionary has the definition of a portal as: a door, gate, or entrance, especially one of imposing appearance, as to a palace. And technically, that’s what an online Patient Portal should provide – a doorway that connects a patient or family to his or her healthcare provider – a doorway that opens both ways. The foundation of the Portal, if all of these good things are derived, is the Electronic Health Record. The EHR provides the infrastructure that connects the patient and provider and allows them to intelligently manage health care efficiently and securely.

Aside from the fact that government mandates require the use of a Portal (among many other things) in order to maximize reimbursement and avoid future penalties under new MACRA value payments, a Portal – or doorway- between patient and provider only makes sense. Of course any technology that provides online access to the patient must meet the stringent demands of HIPAA privacy and security. This requires both technological and practical standards within a practice in order to comply.

In summary, the big picture is that the Patient Portal connects a lot of dots in the constellation of patient-provider healthcare. It opens the door of opportunity to engage more deeply with their healthcare provider and it balances the power between provider and patient whereby the patient has online access to their Protected Health Information 24/7. But not all patients are engaged, and a significant percentage of the population wants to engage in more ways than physicians, due to either financial or cultural reasons, are able and willing to provide. Over time however, it seems inevitable that physicians and patients will come closer together in the management of individual care. It’s just a question of how much time that will take.

Footnotes

  1. Data from the 2015 AHA Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement
  2. Prepared by Nielsen’s Strategic Health Perspectives for CAPP & Bipartisan Policy Center 2015
  3. © Copyright ACI Worldwide, Inc. 2017