Forget the Billing Blues, Sing a Song of Success with OneTouch<p>Providers and their teams have never been under so much pressure to produce quality outcomes and provide excellent care while managing the bottom line and maintaining census.</p><h3>The Team Can Help</h3><p>Billing is always a challenge, but never more so with staffing shortages and other issues contributing to delays, gaps, and errors. The answer is a team of dedicated, knowledgeable partners to take the weight off providers’ shoulders. They get that and more with PharMerica’s OneTouch Billing Support. <br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/1021/bs_Jennifer%20Yowler-2020.jpg" alt="Jennifer Yowler" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;170px;height&#58;213px;" />“Billing is complex. There are many different elements involved to ensure you have accurate statements going out to customers and that claims move through the system quickly and efficiently,” says Jennifer Yowler, chief financial officer of PharMerica. <br></p><p>“When the provider is working with different people or waiting days for call-backs, there are going to be areas where things are not done correctly. With OneTouch, by having a single person responsible for working with each customer and serving as their advocate, we develop a relationship that allows us to understand what the customer needs and work together to create more accurate billing that also lowers costs,” she says. <br></p><p>“We reduce our customers’ workloads, while cutting costs and eliminating claim rejections. At a time when they are watching every dollar, this is extremely important.”</p><h3>Customers Gain an Advocate</h3><p>This isn’t just dedicated customer service. This is white-glove customer experience. Clients don’t just get a personal contact, they get an advocate, a billing and census partner who knows their business and understands their specific needs, goals, concerns, and challenges.<br></p><p>“Their advocate knows the organization’s census and can recognize right away if something is off or doesn’t look quite right,” Yowler says. <br></p><p>“Our people learn all components of billing, and they can pull them all together and be true billing advocates. We also train them on customer service. We’ve invested significantly in training to ensure a full suite of services, all with the customer at the center.”<br></p><p>In the past, Yowler says, “Customers didn’t know who to call in the billing department if they had a question. By putting teams together that work with each customer, they now know who to call and can feel confident that they will get prompt attention from someone who knows them and their organization.” <br></p><p>In developing and refining OneTouch, PharMerica didn’t just guess or assume what their customers want and need. <br></p><p>“As we developed the program, we solicited feedback about how to make sure OneTouch would meet their needs and enhance the customer experience,” Yowler says “Their insights were very valuable in helping us launch a program that would improve their day-to-day functions and make things easier for them and better for their patients and their bottom line.”</p><h3>Driving Accuracy, Savings</h3><p>Working with the OneTouch program and their advocates, customers can feel confident that the appropriate payers are being billed promptly. As a result, payments come in more quickly and more accurately. At the same time, OneTouch team members proactively notify facilities of noncovered and high-dollar medications prior to dispensing. <br></p><p>In fact, OneTouch drives savings at all stages of the census and billing cycle. In addition to personalized customer care, seamless software and eMAR integration improve access to information, transparency, and accuracy. With centralized data, OneTouch also enables insights into recurring issues to help reduce high-cost drives and spend through recommended actions, such as engaging with prescribers and medications that are repeatedly denied. <br></p><p>In a study last year, 94 percent of long term care facilities identified billing efficiency and accuracy as important or very important. OneTouch checks all the boxes and adds the personal touch that not only enables peace of mind but creates partnerships with a common goal of quality care and business success. <br>If any billing concerns arise, they are speedily resolved—typically within 24 hours. Yowler notes, “To keep facilities informed of their efforts, advocates hold weekly calls about what’s in process and what’s been approved or rebilled.”</p><h3>Billing Excellence, Sweet Dreams</h3><p>Providers have a lot to deal with every day—COVID-19 and its aftermath, rebuilding census, connecting residents with their families, and addressing staffing shortages and hiring issues, among other tasks and responsibilities.<br></p><p>“Providers have more challenges than we can imagine,” Yowler says. “One thing we can do is reduce the time they need to manage billing and address problems that arise. If we can reduce their expenses and delays in payment and streamline processes that take burdens off their shoulders, they can focus on resident care and have fewer worries when they turn in at night.” ​</p><p><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/logos/PharMerica.jpg" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;51px;" /><br></p>2021-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/1021/JenniferYowler.jpg" width="592" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Caregiving;FinanceProviders and their teams have never been under so much pressure to produce quality outcomes and provide excellent care while managing the bottom line and maintaining census.
High-intensity Resistance Training in Post-Acute Care Produces Better Outcomes<p></p><p>Results of a study by researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus show that high-intensity rehabilitation training for older patients in skilled nursing facilities can safely and effectively accelerate improvements in their function, enabling them to return home sooner. The study was published in <em>Physical Therapy</em>, October 2020.<br></p><p>Skilled nursing facilities provide medical and rehabilitation services to individuals post-hospitalization to help facilitate the transition to home or the next level of care. However, research has shown the trajectory of functional recovery following hospitalization and skilled nursing stay care is generally poor, with fewer than 25 percent of patients returning to pre-hospitalization levels of function. </p><h2>How the Study Worked</h2><p>“Our study identified an impactful opportunity to improve the way we care for patients in skilled nursing facilities,” said lead author Allison Gustavson, PT, DPT, PhD, at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “Our findings demonstrate that high-intensity resistance training is safe, effective, and preferable in caring for medically complex older adults in skilled nursing facilities.”<br></p><p>The study split 103 participants into two nonrandomized independent groups—usual care and high-intensity care—within a single skilled nursing facility. For both groups, physical therapists administered the Short Physical Performance Battery and gait speed at evaluation and discharge.</p><h2>Results of the Study</h2><p>For the high-intensity training group, the physical therapists used the i-STRONGER program (Intensive Therapeutic Rehabilitation for Older Skilled Nursing Home Residents).<br></p><p>The patients participating in the high-intensity program benefited by increasing their functional independence, as evidenced by a significant and clinically meaningful increase in their walking speed from evaluation to discharge by&#160;0.13 meters/second&#160;more than the usual care group. This is a critical outcome for this patient population, as improvements in walking speed greater than 0.1 meters/second are associated with reduced mortality.<br></p><p>Also, the patients’ stay at the skilled nursing facility was reduced by 3.5 days.</p><h2>Implications for Future Rehab Approaches</h2><p>Based on their findings, the researchers advocate the need to increase the intensity of rehabilitation provided to patients with medically complex conditions to promote greater value and patient experience within post-acute care. <br></p><p>“Our study shows that the quality of rehabilitation compared to the quantity drives better outcomes,” said Principal Investigator Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley, MPT, PhD, FAPTA. “These findings provide a timely solution to address rehabilitation value in the context of recent post-acute care changes by policymakers who are looking to raise the bar on the quality and efficiency of post-acute care services,” she said.<br></p><p>“We are eager to support the transition to this safer and more effective high-intensity care approach,” said Stevens-Lapsley, a professor and director of the Rehabilitation Science PhD Program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.<br></p><p>“We are encouraged by the results that accelerated the improvement in patient function, created positive patient and clinician experience, and resulted in less time needed for care in the skilled nursing facility,” she said.<br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/1021/LaurenHinrichs.jpg" alt="Lauren Hinrichs" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;170px;height&#58;216px;" />The University of Colorado has partnered with the American Health Care Association to offer a CEU-credited High-intensity Resistance training program. For those interested in learning more about the research or training or for implementation support, contact Lauren Hinrichs or visit <a href="http&#58;//www.movement4everyone.org/" target="_blank">www.movement4everyone.org</a> for more information. <br><br><em>Lauren Hinrichs, PT, DPT, OCS, board-certified in orthopedics, is a Rehabilitation Science PhD student with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Colorado School of Medicine. She can be reached at </em><a href="mailto&#58;lauren.hinrichs@CUAnschutz.edu" target="_blank"><em>lauren.hinrichs@CUAnschutz.edu</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>2021-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/1021/SF_intensity.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Clinical;DietLauren HinrichsResearchers advocate the need to increase the intensity of rehabilitation provided to post-acute patients to promote greater value and patient satisfaction.
Former White House Coronavirus Coordinator Joins Real Time Medical Systems<p>​<a href="https&#58;//realtimemed.com/" target="_blank">Real Time Medical Systems,</a> a leading health care interventional analytics solution, is honored to announce that <a href="https&#58;//realtimemed.com/about/team/?team=board-of-advisors" target="_blank">Deborah Birx, MD,</a> has been appointed to its Board of Advisors. As an advisor, Dr. Birx will work with Real Time’s Executive Team to analyze current facility data for the earlier detection of infectious diseases to advance the company’s infection prevention and control solution offerings for health care organizations nationwide. Earlier detection with proactive solutions will ensure fewer transmissions and more rapid care with significantly improved outcomes.</p><h3>Credentials</h3><p>​A world-renowned medical expert specializing in HIV/AIDS immunology, infectious disease, pandemic preparedness, vaccine research, and global health, Deborah Birx, MD, served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and previously managed some of the most high-profile, influential programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of State.</p><p>In 2014, Dr. Birx became an Ambassador-at-Large when she assumed the role of the Coordinator of the U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. She has published more than 230 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and authored nearly a dozen chapters in scientific publications, as well as developed and patented vaccines.<br></p><h3>The Job at Hand</h3><p>“I am thrilled to be working with Real Time, an organization that is dedicated to utilizing technology and live data analysis to improve care for our senior population—and do it in a timely, meaningful, and cost-effective way,” Dr. Birx says.<br></p><p>“It is really quite remarkable how Real Time’s system is able to capture live post-acute EHR [electric health record] data and deliver clinical insights and alerts for specific patients when their symptoms change, so clinicians know immediately which patients require prompt attention.”<br></p><p>Real Time Executive Chairman <a href="https&#58;//www.linkedin.com/in/scott-rifkin-6a506a67/" target="_blank">Dr. Scott Rifkin</a> says he is excited to welcome Dr. Birx to the team at such a critical time. “We look forward to leveraging her significant expertise to enhance Real Time’s infection prevention and control capabilities and help the country’s nursing facilities and their health care partners detect communicable disease earlier to minimize outbreaks.”</p><h3>Taking On The Variants</h3><p>Dr. Birx sought to join Real Time to address vulnerabilities in the country’s nursing facilities regarding the pandemic response and emerging variants. She explains that many patients will not exhibit the same constellation of symptoms as the original strain, making it more difficult for clinicians to detect COVID-19 variants as the virus evolves.<br></p><p>“These variants develop quickly,” she says. “Accessing live patient data allows us to evaluate symptomatology now, not three months from now, thereby enabling facilities to make timely, well-informed decisions that make a difference in patients’ lives today.”</p><p>She also sees value in the company’s interventional analytics platform’s ability to allow nursing homes to share their EHR data beyond the walls of their facilities with partnering health systems and payers.</p><p>“Information sharing improves both acute and post-acute care and can help break the cycle of hospital readmissions and return-to-nursing home,” she says. “Sharing and analyzing live data allows clinicians to assess and improve patient status collaboratively before they require hospitalization.”</p><p>Ultimately, it’s not enough to simply collect information, Dr. Birx says. Rather, it's imperative to capture live data, analyze it, and use it. “The more knowledge nursing facilities, hospitals, and payers have, the more proactive and collaborative we can all be in improving patient outcomes,” she says.</p><p><em>Keri DeSalvo is vice president of marketing for Real Time Medical Systems. She can be reached at </em><a href="mailto&#58;kdesalvo@realtimemed.com" target="_blank">kdesalvo@realtimemed.com</a>. <br></p><h3>About Real Time Medical Systems</h3><p>Real Time Medical Systems is the industry-leading Interventional Analytics solution that turns EHR data into actionable insights. Serving health care organizations nationwide, Real Time improves clinical performance by reducing avoidable hospital admissions/readmissions, managing reimbursement, improving care coordination, and detecting early onsets of infectious disease.</p><h3>Additional Resources&#58;</h3><p>Visit Real Time Medical Systems <a href="https&#58;//realtimemed.com/" target="_blank">website</a>.<br><a href="https&#58;//realtimemed.com/get-started/" target="_blank">Get Started</a> with Real Time.<br>Follow Real Time Medical Systems on <a href="https&#58;//www.linkedin.com/company/myrealtimemed" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a>.<br></p>2021-09-28T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/DeborahBirx.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Management;CaregivingKeri DeSalvoWorld-renowned infectious disease expert joins company’s Board to help drive advancements of infection prevention and control solutions for nursing facility residents.
When the Chips Are Down, Partners Come Through<p>​<span><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/September/PublishingImages/0921_ChrisFerreri.jpg" alt="Chris Ferreri" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;200px;" /></span>During this past year, relationships and partnerships took on new significance. Local organizations with strong national connections were able to rise above the challenges and maintain a human touch when isolation was the norm.<br></p><p>Chris Ferreri, chief operating officer of The Osborn Group, a continuing care retirement community in Westchester, N.Y., experienced this firsthand. In the midst of the pandemic, access to personal protective equipment (PPE) was at a premium, and finding a laboratory that could get COVID testing results in short order was nearly impossible.<br></p><p>Yet, Ferreri and his team were able to get both, thanks to a strong relationship with a national partner.</p><h2>A Partner Can Help </h2><p>“We were doing 600 COVID tests a week, and PharMerica connected us with a reliable laboratory company that was able to get us results in 24 to 36 hours,” he says. “PharMerica also helped us find PPE suppliers that were able to get us what we needed for affordable prices.” <br></p><p>PharMerica’s national connections made a difference for Ferreri and his local community. “What they did during the pandemic was beyond the bounds of what a pharmacy provider does,” he says, adding, “They see themselves as a partner, and their efforts demonstrate this time and again.”</p><h2>Quick Access to Dwindling Supplies</h2><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/September/PublishingImages/0921_LenRuss.jpg" alt="Len Russ" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;200px;" />Len Russ, owner/administrator of Bayberry Care Center, a New Rochelle, N.Y.-based partnership specializing in skilled nursing, subacute, and in-patient short-term rehab care, agrees. His partners at PharMerica jumped right in to help ensure Russ and his team had adequate PPE, and they kept pharmacy services functioning without delays. This included ensuring drivers could drop off drugs safely and without personal contact.<br></p><p>Russ says, “Last year was trial by fire, and we came through it stronger.” Ferreri adds, “There were people who were looking to profit from the pandemic, but PharMerica’s focus was on helping our residents and enabling us to survive and thrive.”<br></p><p>“We knew what we were dealing with in early March,” Russ recalls. “We were scrambling to manage, and PharMerica helped us access their supply chains, which we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own.”</p><h2>Vaccine Access Assured</h2><p>The “crème de la crème” of PharMerica’s support during the pandemic, Ferreri says, involved COVID-19 vaccines. “Rochelle [Stern, RN, PharMerica director of client services] made sure we got enough vaccines for all of our residents, including those in independent living,” he says. Even after six vaccine clinics with Walgreens, PharMerica came in and did three more onsite.<br></p><p>“The clock was ticking, and PharMerica stepped up to ensure we had access to all the vaccines we needed. They understood our goals and made a commitment to get us shots in arms,” he says. <br></p><p>Russ adds, “After the initial free clinics, we had no way to get more vaccines for those who still hadn’t gotten vaccinated. PharMerica deployed vaccines to us on a weekly basis in the doses we needed. Ultimately, no one had to wait for a shot.”</p><h2>Survey Support and Beyond</h2><p>While survey activity was down during COVID, PharMerica continued to provide remote survey support. Surveys are stressful for even the best buildings. Having the experience of a national organization that understands the ins and outs of surveys and what surveyors are looking for at any given time can alleviate some of that anxiety and enable leaders like Russ and Ferreri and their teams to focus on what they do best—providing the best possible care for their residents. <br></p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/September/PublishingImages/0921_RochelleStern.jpg" alt="Rochelle Stern" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;200px;" />As a former director of nursing, PharMerica’s Rochelle Stern knows what happens on the skilled nursing side and how to prepare for surveys. <br></p><p>“This was one of the benefits PharMerica brought to the table,” says Ferreri. “While it’s great to deliver great pricing and helping our bottom line, it comes down to relationships and partners that can help in all aspects of our work, and survey support is part of that.”<br></p><p>While PharMerica goes above and beyond pharmacy services, its national footprint helps its local clients have quick access to the medications they need when they need them at the right price. How important is this? Russ stresses, “Pharmacy is the lifeblood of care.” It needs to function flawlessly, he says.<br></p><p>“We count on them every day for medications. Pre-COVID, we had 600 admissions a year and, with that, comes a tremendous amount of medication tracking, management, and monitoring,” says Ferreri. “That is the basis of our relationship.”</p><h2>Teamwork? Priceless</h2><p>In long term care, says Russ, “teamwork is everything. It’s key to successful relationships and the delivery of care. It’s an essential part of doing business in this industry. The value of having a pharmacy provider that threads the needle between the infrastructure of a large company and providing very personalized service is priceless.”<br></p><p>“These relationships are extremely close,” Stern says. “One thing that distinguishes us is that we put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and look at things from their experience. We’re more than just a pharmacy.”<br></p><p>Crises test relationships. As Ferreri says, “Things change so fast, your head spins. You need to be able to have knowledgeable people who are hooked into networks across the country. Having a team to help us weave through all of the obstacles is key.” </p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/logos/PharMerica.jpg" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;179px;height&#58;39px;" /><br></p>2021-09-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0220_News2.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Caregiving;COVID-19During this past year, relationships and partnerships took on new significance. Local organizations with strong national connections were able to rise above the challenges and maintain a human touch when isolation was the norm.