Future Career Transitions for Medical Transcriptionists

Susan Lucci (AHDI’s President) recently appointed a National Board subcommittee to research future roles for MTs within the EHR. According to a Plexus article, entitled: MT Career Transitions, the goals of the committee were to “define roles, describe the necessary skills sets required for each role, define the educational requirements, visualize a career lattice for MTs, and publicize and market our findings.”

Here are some of the more common threads the committee has detected thus far:

  1. Becoming credentialed as a CMT is more critical than ever to demonstrate medical language knowledge.
  2. Coding knowledge is also expected to be much more critical to future roles in the EHR.
  3. MTs will need more education of SNOMED (Systematized Nomenclature for Medicine), ICD-10 and CPT (current procedural terminology) codes.
  4. Transcriptionists will need additional technical skills, including familiarity with database management, basic Health Level Seven interface language and how to maneuver within the EHR.
  5. Most new roles will require an associate’s degree, with many roles requiring a bachelor’s degree and beyond.
  6. The location of where MTs perform transcription is also expected to change, as many MTs will transition back into the hospital setting.
  7. Hospitals will need trainers to ensure quality control with medical documents, which opens up another job opportunity for MTs.
  8. Roles for credentialed CMTs will be needed to transcribe, edit and review documentation from a variety of resources utilizing front-end speech, back-end speech and traditional audio-to-text conversion.
  9. MTs could also have roles in an ambulatory setting, in which they will perform traditional audio-text narratives and may utilize speech recognition editing.

How Will Health Care Reform Affect Medical Staffing Agencies?

President Obama signed the landmark health care reform bill yesterday, which will require the majority of employers (including medical staffing agencies) to pay a penalty to the government if they do not provide health insurance to their employees.

Temporary staffing firms are invited to attend the second national American Staffing Association (ASA) staffing law conference to learn how today’s laws will affect their businesses.

In fact, from April 20-21 in Washington, DC, ASA will offer attendees a full 90-minute briefing on the final health care reform legislation, and go into detail about what medical staffing firms will have to do to comply.

Other topics on the agenda include the following:

  • Client indemnity clauses and other risks
  • Background checks and negligent hiring
  • Immigration developments
  • Restrictive covenants and trade secret protection
  • Union issues

A brochure, which includes full descriptions of all the conference sessions, is available online at http://www.americanstaffing.net/lawconference.

Small Businesses Sign Up for Payroll Services – Sign of Improving Economy?

Automatic Data Processing’s (ADP) Chief Executive Officer, Gary Butler, told Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently that “sales of services to companies with 50 employees or fewer have increased since September.

Butler was quoted: “It’s a clear indication that small business is coming back…You don’t put in a new HR system or payroll system if your business isn’t going to grow.”

Butler also said that the increase in business is similar to the one he saw in 2002 and 2003 after the last recession.

PRN Note:
Companies oftentimes experience cash flow problems when they expand their payroll and hire additional personnel quickly. Small business owners who are experiencing a rapid growth phase should consider PRN Funding’s factoring services to help even out their cash flow.

Click here to read the entire story: ADP – Small Employers May Be Signaling Recovery.

2010 Health Care Bill to be Signed into Law

President Obama will sign the landmark healthcare bill into law on Tuesday, March 23. The House approved the Senate bill by a 219-212 vote yesterday evening. There was also a vote for a reconciliation bill, which was 220-211. No Republican voted for either measure.

The Healthcare Reform Bill will likely affect every man, woman and child in the United States. Here are just a few of the changes to come:

  1. An estimated 24 million people who currently lack access to affordable health insurance through their workplace will be eligible for tax credits to buy their own insurance.
  2. Nearly everyone who earns less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level  (estimated 16 million people) will become eligible for Medicaid.
  3. Medicare will also see some changes that should deliver care more efficiently and come at a lower price. Whereas Medicare Advantage will likely lose $120 billion over the next 10 years.
  4. In 6 months time, new insurance policies will have to allow children to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26.
  5. Within 6 months, small businesses with fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages up to $50,000 will receive tax credits to offset the cost of buying insurance for their workers.
  6. Within 6 months, all new insurance plans will have to cover the full price of preventative care, including annual physicals and children’s  immunizations. In addition, prior-approval will no longer be a requirement.
  7. Children with medical conditions will no longer be denied coverage, and insurers will no longer be able to impose lifetime limits on benefits, nor will they be able to drop a person when they file a claim.

For more information on the healthcare bill’s changes, click on The Washington Post’s article: Obama to sign health-care bill into law Tuesday.

2010 NPDA Conference Wrap-Up

PRN Fundings Booth at 2010 NPDA
PRN Funding's Booth at 2010 NPDA

Last week, PRN Funding traveled to Philadelphia, PA for the 2010 National Private Duty Association’s (NPDA) Conference.

It was the first time that PRN Funding was invited to exhibit at the Conference, and overall, it was a huge success for the private duty factoring agency.

Members of the PRN Funding team had the opportunity to speak with a number of home care agency owners, and explain the benefits of factoring Medicaid and other state agency receivables.

In addition, the private duty invoice funding experts donated a Flip Camcorder as a door prize, and the lucky winner was Antonio Del Valle of
Focus Home Healthcare. PRN Funding also held an in-booth drawing for a iPod Shuffle. The winner was Steve Rakoczy of Liberty In Home Care.

PRN Funding looks forward to exhibiting at the 2011 NPDA show next March in Las Vegas, NV.

Ethical Best Practices Manual for Healthcare Documentation Sector Now Available

According to its web site, AHDI and MTIA recently announced that the first set of documents for its compliance and ethical best practices program is now available for sale. This  first set of documents includes  sample HIPAA policies and procedures and a sample business associate agreement,pursuant to the new HIPAA regulations, which will be customizable for your business.

The entire manual (with a list price of $4000) will include the following:

* Best Practices Checklist
* Statement of Ethical Best Practices
* AHDI Code of Ethics
* MTIA Code of Ethics
* Best Practices in Operations
* Best Practices in Billing
* Best Practices in Compensation
* Best Practices in Marketing and Solicitation
* Employee vs. Independent Contractor Guidelines
* Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Guidelines
* Production Location Transparency Guidelines
* Sample Non-Solicitation & Non-Compete Agreement
* Best Practices in Legal and Regulatory Compliance
* Sample HIPAA Policies and Procedures
* Sample Business Associate Agreement
* Guidelines for Establishing a HIPAA-Compliant Home-Based Office
* U.S. 50-State Data Privacy Survey

Click here to learn more about the Healthcare Documentation Ethical Best Practices Manual.

Uses for SRT Go Beyond Medical Transcription

Advance for Health Information Professionals recently published an online article entitled: Beyond Transcription – Speech Recognition Holds Promise for Patient Care that discussed other ways the medical industry can use SRT (Speech Recognition Technology).

Although most MTs fear SRT will put them out of a job,this article delved into the voice-to-text technology, and its uses for patient follow-up, medication adherence and health screenings.

Specifically, some physicians are using speech recognition to “schedule calls to patients with customized questions and let the system do the data gathering.” The web-based calling systems listen for a human response and then communicate those responses to the physicians involved as well as record it on an Electronic Health Record (EHR).

Of course, some problems can arise when collecting the automatized data. Namely, the patient has to cooperate. Many patients don’t answer the phone or can’t complete the analysis because they are using their cell phones and cannot hear or are distracted. Also, the entire system relies on patients to tell the truth.

2010 Health Forum Stats from AHA

Caroline Rossi Sternberg, VP of Trends Analysis for the American Hospital Association, recently published a paper detailing the results of AHA’s annual hospital survey with some startling statistics. For the convenience of our healthcare factoring blog readers, we’ve summarized some of the survey’s findings below:

The housing market collapse in 2008 shook up capital markets for hospitals in late 2008, when 9 out of 10 hospitals reported that their ability to access tax-exempt bonds was nearly non-existent, and their short-term borrowing options had nearly dried up completely.

With less access to capital between 2008-2009, 71 percent of hospitals reduced capital spending, 40 percent scaled back on projects already in-the-works and nearly half decided not to go through with future projects (including renovations and updating aging facilities).

In addition, the drop in the stock markets also affected hospitals, as they saw an equal decline in their charitable donations.

Moreover, as more people lost their jobs, hospitals reported a moderate increase in the number of patients entering their doors without insurance or covered by Medicaid (which routinely underpays for procedures).

During this troublesome time, most hospitals were forced to make cutbacks by reducing staff and other administrative expenses in addition to reducing services that are traditionally poorly reimbursed (i.e. behavioral health, post-acute care, clinics and patient education).

For more information on American hospitals, visit the American Hospital Association’s Reports and Studies page.

Medical Coding Networker of the Year

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) chose Lori Hendrix, CPC, CPC-H, CIRCC, CPC-I as the 2009 Networker of the Year.

According to the February 15th edition of For the Record Magazine, AAPC’s Networker of the Year Award recognizes an AAPC member “who represents the higher standards of coding set by the organization and who shares the benefits of being a member with fellow coders.”

Hendrix responded to AAPC’s recent membership drive, Drive to 100K, and started referring colleagues to become active AAPC members. As a result of her hard work, she was named Networker of the Year for the second time (her first was in 2003).

SAP Insight – Managing Cash Flow

The world leading software provider, SAP, recently published an Executive Insight entitled: Managing Cash Flow in Times of Crisis – Solutions for Improving Cash and Liquidity Management. The factoring specialists at PRN Funding wanted to share some of the more pertinent parts of the paper with The Factoring Blog’s readership. For your convenience, we’ve included a summary below:

In all, the article stressed three main points in order to maintain a healthy bottom line during difficult credit times:

  1. Ensure healthy cash flows.
    SAC advised business owners to check their customers’ credit prior to doing business, and then to continually monitor the credit throughout the relationship. Moreover, SAC also explained how important it is for business owners to stay on top of outstanding invoices, making it a priority to follow-up on disputes and general collections.

    The healthcare factoring specialists at PRN Funding provide extensive debtor credit reviews as part of our services. In addition, each of our clients is assigned to one account manager who handles the collections process and follows-up on aging invoices.

  2. Gain greater viability into the sources and uses of your cash.
    SAP recommended that business owners wrap their arms around the “entire financial value chain.” In a nutshell, SAP recommended that owners have a firm grasp on the inflows and outflows of their company’s cash. Make note of certain times when receivables start to age  a little more or when business orders jump. The preparation will help you forecast for the future.

    The account managers at PRN Funding actively monitor the strength of their clients’ business operations, holding upper-level management meetings monthly to discuss trends. Any information that is uncovered during those meetings is also brought to the client’s attention.

  3. Increase control over cash on hand.
    SAP’s advice at this level is for business owners to gain real-time visibility. SAP stressed how important it is to be able to monitor cash flow levels on a daily basis.

    PRN Funding’s factoring specialists helps in this area as well, providing secure access to real-time reporting system via our company’s web site. PRN Funding’s healthcare factoring clients have the ability to log-in and run reports 24/7/365.