So your organization has a contract management system, meaning your physician contracts are covered right? WRONG.
Contract management systems do a great job of managing the development of new physician contracts, executive approval, and any redline changes that are made on the various versions. Once signed, the contract management system is not the best place to manage the activity on these contracts. The day-to-day management falls to the operational and financial side of the house.
A physician contract logging software is needed in addition to a contract management system. Now what does that mean? Stated simply, software is needed to ensure the work the physician enters or logs on a time log, is part of the contract.
Software will help to keep the physician within the bounds of the contract by allowing them only to log time for duties that are part of the contract. Then this time log must be approved by the organization. It is important the software route the time log to all relevant parties, hold any edits, notes or conversations around the work being performed and be time stamped with the activity by person. Lastly, the time needs to be paid correctly. The mathematics of the contact need to be confirmed each time a payment is made. It is important that the software contain all 3 components: documentation, approvals and payments.
What should an organization expect to see for a financial return on this kind of investment? I’m glad you asked, there are real financial returns at stake:
- Improve reimbursement, across all DRGs. Because of very complex algorithms on prospective payment systems, it is important hospitals submit every dollar of wages paid on the Medicare Cost Report. Depending on the area wages, this can have various degrees of positive returns for the hospital. If you are using paper time logs, you are leaving money on the table. Paper time logs often are hard to compile for the cost report, can be illegible, and are sometimes just lost throughout the year.
- Improve reimbursement, teaching programs. The hours physicians perform in teaching functions also need to be carefully managed so they can be submitted on the cost report. If managed on paper, again, money is being left on the table.
- Cut expenses. There are three ways this investment will cut operating expenses. Two areas will likely pass your CFO with a nod, the third will drive a hearty discussion. First, when you use software to document, approve and pay physicians there is a halo effect. Moving to automation makes all involved move with purpose, and it is common to see expenses decline by 1 to 2% as a result. The second reason costs decline is because of the information gleaned from data. It is now possible to with one click see your total costs by organization, service line, type of contract or even by physician. It can be very eye opening and drive the organization to decrease expenditures in areas or even eliminate previously forgotten contracts. With all in one place, managing the costs is possible. Lastly, staff time is saved. Perhaps it will not lead to eliminating any one person’s job, but when this function is manual tremendous time is spent researching documentation, approvals and payments. In addition, filing the cost report with a stack of manual time logs requires days of work for finance that can be reduce to hours with automation.
Protect your organization with both a contract management system AND a physician time logging system. Make sure that system provides documentation, approval and payment workflow.
Don’t believe us? Contact us for a free analysis of your current cost report to identify any potential pickups!