Archive for January, 2008

PRN Funding Discusses Factoring with Medical Coding Community

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

PRN Funding, LLC and exclusive medical coding web site, MedicalCodingAndBilling.com joined forces when the medical coding web site published the first in a three-part series of articles: How Medical Coding Services can Improve Their Cash Flow by Choosing a Factor.


The three-part series was written with the medical coding service business owner in mind–going over the key components to think about when narrowing down which accounts receivable factoring firm is the best fit for the owner’s medical coding company.


Q: When shopping accounts receivable factoring firms, what kinds of questions do you ask?

Click here to read some frequently asked questions about invoice factoring.

2008 NNBA Conference Changes Location

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak with Pat Bemis, president of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA), and she gave us the inside scoop on the new location for the 2008 19th Annual Education Conference.

 

Previously set for Orlando, FL, the conference has been moved to Daytona Beach, FL.  Contrary to previous years, the NNBA has negotiated discounted room rates in two side-by-side hotels, The Plaza Resort and Spa and The Plaza Ocean Club Hotel.  (The conference will take place in the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel.)  Although the conference is scheduled for November 8-9, 2008, group rates apply from November 5-10.

 

If you are a nurse entrepreneur or if you have ever thought about starting your own nurse staffing agency, we encourage you to attend the NNBA meeting in November.  Not only will PRN Funding be in attendance, our company’s president, Phil Cohen has been asked to speak to attendees about the financing options available to nurse staffing startup businesses.

 

Locum Tenens Continues Double-Digit Growth in Third Quarter

Friday, January 25th, 2008

The cat is out of the bag, as it seems that more staffing professionals are getting interested in locum tenens staffing.

In a briefing issued by Robin Hessinger of Staffing Industry Analysts reports “In the third quarter, two public healthcare staffing firms’ locum tenens businesses saw growth of 15.5% and 21.2%, respectively…Locum tenens has been the best performing sub-segment of healthcare staffing, with unbroken double-digit growth from 2003 through 2006.  This compares with overall growth in healthcare staffing in the range of -8.5% to 7%.”

Q: It used to be that temp nurse staffing was the next big thing, then travel nurse staffing, followed by allied health.  What do you think lies ahead for locum tenens staffing?

Can You Increase Cash Flow with New Way to Sell Receivables

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Imagine a world where the owner of a nurse staffing agency could offer his/her receivables to a dozen different invoice factoring companies at one time and then he/she gets to sit back and watch a bidding war unravel as factors compete to win the nurse staffing firm’s receivables.  In the end, the business owner walks away with the advance rate and factoring fees that meet his/her expectations.

That is precisely the scenario that could be played out on The Receivables Exchange (TRE), a new accounts receiveable marketplace set to launch in the first quarter of 2008.  Founded by Justin Brownhill and Nic Perkin, TRE’s goal is to increase competition among factoring companies to make it easier and cheaper for growing companies to raise working capital.

“It’s almost like Ebay–post you invoice and let everyone bid on it,” Larry Cheng, a partner with Fidelity Ventures, who has invested heavily in TRE’s operations, said in an article that ran in the January edition of Inc. Magazine.

In theory, TRE would work best for companies looking to “spot factor” receivables.  TRE proposes that business owners stop wasting time and energy shopping factoring firms when it only has one aged receivable and instead turn to the bidding marketplace to receive cash fast.

Of course not all of the kinks are worked out so early in the game, and business owners and factors alike have their reservations about TRE.  Check out the entire article: Short on cash? There’s a new way to sell receivables: on an exchange, and let us know what you think about it!

American Academy of Professional Coders Invites Medical Coders to Participate in Survey

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

After reading the headlines in this week’s BC Advantage e-Newsletter, it appears that the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is conducting a “Work of a coder” survey. Calling on both certified and non-certified coders, the survey results will be used to examine the daily tasks and responsibilities of a coder and will provide guidance to employers on optimizing their coding staffs.

Click here to complete the Work of Coder Survey.

AHIMA Offers Webinar on HIPAA Security

Monday, January 14th, 2008

On Thursday, January 17 at 1:00pm ET, 12:00pm CT, 11:00am MT, AHIMA is giving a webinar entitled, “HIPAA Security: What Everyone Should Know.”

 

Intended for privacy officers, security officers, HIM directors, IT personnel and compliance officers, the 90-minute presentation will cover the following topics:

 

 

Structure of HIPAA rule

 

Overview of HIPAA security standards

 

Required vs. addressable specification

 

Organizational and documentation requirements

 

Administrative, physical and technical safegaurds

 

Policies and procedures

 

Compliance program elements

 

Auditing

 

The cost is $179 for AHIMA members ($229 for non-members), and each attendee receives two AHIMA CEUs.

 

Leading the webinar are Angela Dihn, MHA, RHIA, manager of professional practice resource at AHIMA, and Tom Walsh, CISSP, president of Tom Walsh Consulting, LLC.

 

Click here to register for the webinar conference, HIPAA Security:What Everyone Should Know.

 

Major VMS Provider Declares Bankruptcy

Monday, January 14th, 2008

This was an interesting article that appeared in the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Week e-Newsletter concerning a prominent VMS filing for bankruptcy:

Ensemble Chimes Group (Chimes), a major provider of vendor management services, has ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy. This leaves staffing firms in doubt as to their ability to collect payment for services provided under their VMS agreements.

VMS firms contract with staffing clients to manage the clients’ use of staffing services. VMS firms typically use proprietary software systems to manage timekeeping, payroll, and billing functions of participating staffing firms. Clients pay the VMS firm for the staffing services provided, and the VMS firm in turn pays the staffing firms. Some VMS relationships pose higher risks for staffing firms than others. If VMS firm funds are commingled with client monies, as apparently was the case with Chimes, staffing firms will likely be treated as general creditors—and in some cases, payments made to staffing firms prior to the bankruptcy may have to be returned. Some VMS agreements offer greater protection to staffing firms by placing client funds in secured escrow accounts.

Chimes filed for bankruptcy Jan. 9 under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy law, which means the company is seeking to liquidate its assets rather than reorganize. Chimes’s parent company Axium International Inc., a major supplier of payroll services to the entertainment industry, filed a similar petition Jan. 8.

Chimes’s bankruptcy means its staffing firms must stand in line with other creditors for any outstanding amounts owed under their VMS agreements. Collection may be problematic, because the bankruptcy petition indicates that Chimes has no assets available to pay unsecured creditors.

Another issue is whether clients can now deal with their staffing firms directly to avoid disruption of the clients’ operations and to ensure that temporary employees can continue to work and be paid. This may depend on the terms of the clients’ VMS agreements. Because Chimes has ceased operations and therefore effectively breached its agreement, the bankruptcy trustee may determine that clients are free to deal directly with their staffing firms. Affected staffing firms are urged to consult with their lawyers regarding their rights and obligations.

ASA has retained counsel to provide guidance on the legal issues involved and the steps the staffing industry can take to ensure that the bankruptcy court understands the unique issues relating to VMS agreements and their impact on staffing clients and temporary employees.

Ed Lenz

NOTE from PRN Funding: As VMS’s continue to grow in popularity in the healthcare realm, it’s important to keep this in mind. You could be staffing in hospitals and nursing homes with impeccable credit, but if those facilities are using a VMS, it’s the VMS who will pay you. So if you are considering doing business with a facility who uses a vendor management system, be sure to look into the creditworthiness of the VMS.

We invite you to read a fellow blogger’s post on the subject here: For Whom the Chimes Toll. In his post, Barry Asin mentions writes, “In the short term, there are over 40 large Chimes client organizations that are now in crisis mode as they attempt to sort out who is working on their site, how to get them paid this week and how to make sure they come back next week. Chimes had an estimated $1.6 billion in staffing spend rolling through its system each year, and that suggests somewhere north of 20,000 temps and contractors each week wondering if their next paycheck will be good.”

Atlanta Hospital Falls into Financial Crisis

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Another more pressing article appeared in The New York Times (1/8/08) concerning Grady Memorial Hospital’s declining financial status. A multimillion dollar shortfall of the 675-bed hospital is due to providing charity and emergency care that no entity (not the sourrounding counties, nor the state or federal government) has been willing to cover.

 

The lengthy article cites Medicaid and underinsured and uninsured patients as the culprit for Grady’s cash flow problem. To date, Grady Memorial estimates it would take a whopping $366 million to meet the long-ignored capital needs, which include outdated and broken equipment and nurse staffing shortages.

 

Although we mentioned before that Grady Memorial Hospital was paying it’s vendors in about 30 days, it’s currently taking PRN Funding’s clients at least 60 days to be paid by the facility.

 

Click here to read the entire article, A Safety-Net Hospital Falls Into Financial Crisis. Please note, that you might have to create an account to view the article.

 

KLAS Study Reveals MTSO Ratings

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Advance for Health Information Professionals gave some details about the recent KLAS study last week.  The study reported on the current trends in the world of medical transcription outsourcing.  I’ve listed a few of the study’s findings in bullet points below:

 

For providers using MTSO, the overall satisfaction scores rose 4.5 points in 2007 from 77.2 to 81.7 out of a possible 100 points.

 

Although many are still not comfortable with the idea of sending medical transcription offshore, the overall perception is improving. Some of the benefits of using medical transcription service organizations were faster turnaround times (TAT), reduced costs and improved quality.

 

Even though the idea of offshore medical transcription is slowly increasing in popularity, the number of provider organizations who reported using them has decreased from 55 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in 2007.

 

The need for medical transcription is increasing due to a) Electronic medical records and the need to populate them quickly, and b) speech recognition services needing editing on the back end, so many MTSOs are increasing their capacity.

 

Pricing is also changing.  The most popular method continues to be charging per line (67 percent of respondents use this method), down from 81 percent in 2006.  Those charging by the Visual Black Character (VBC) has grown from 12 percent in 2006 to 23 percent in 2007.  Overall, the average medical transcription price ranges from 11.9 cents to 13.2 cents per line.

 

Study respondents also listed multiple tips for their fellow providers who are considering outsourced medical transcription, so I condensed those answers as well into a bullet point list:

 

Look into the whole medical transcription package when choosing a vendor.  For example, some MTSOs may charge less to transcribe, but they might require you to do more quality checks upfront.

 

If you are thinking of sending work offshore, be sure to look closely at where the work is being performed and the employment policies and practices that mitigate your risk.

 

Find out how MTs are assigned.

 

Ask the vendor about their support structure and customer service practices.

 

Do some investigative work and see how a medical transcription service communicated with providers in the past to get an idea of how communication with your company will be.

 

Look closely at the types of tools that are available to distribute, track and capture inbounc dictation, work in progress and outbound reports.

 

Understand how charges will be handled.

 

Know how quality standards will be measured and ensured.

 

Click here to read the entire article, Study Reveals Medical Transcription Services Organization Ratings, by Michael K. Smith