When a new patient arrives at your therapy clinic, there are several bases to cover before he or she can be treated. Along with standard intake forms and insurance verification, we recommend checking benefits and requesting an authorization. Following these best practices will protect you from the dreaded scenario in which you perform treatment and do not get paid. Although therapy clinic owners and admins are generally most familiar with the process of obtaining an authorization from an insurance company, it’s wise for therapists to understand the process and act as another set of eyes. Let’s go over the basics: What is an authorization? Insurance authorizations are determinations by a patient’s health insurance carrier that treatments are medically necessary. Since commercial insurance plans consider therapy a specialty, authorizations are required in many cases. Florida Medicaid requires authorization for all therapy disciplines. While an authorization is not a guarantee that the insurance will pay, it is much more likely that benefits will be honored when the authorization is on file. Why should I worry about authorizations as a therapist? You may feel that your responsibilities follow the paperwork process that your admin team normally takes care of. However, if you unknowingly treat a patient without an authorization on file, you could risk spending valuable time treating a patient and not getting paid, or experiencing a lengthy delay in payment time. In addition to the risk of lost revenue for you and your clinic owner, lack of an authorization can throw off your plan of care. Since the details in your plan of care depend upon your expectation of when a patient will meet certain goals, the amount of benefits and number of pre-approved treatments can impact whether you will be able to follow the plan. Keeping an open line of communication with your owner and admins can help you avoid any miscommunication about the type and quantity of treatment you provide your patients. Though you may not be responsible for requesting authorizations or attaching them to a patient’s file, TheraPlan advises that you check to see if there is an authorization assigned to every patient case, especially for new patients. A few moments of due diligence go a long way towards making your treatment plan and payment process as smooth as possible! Want to learn more about insurance authorizations? Check out how TheraPlan eases the job of a therapist by tracking authorizations
Insurance audits are a reality for therapy clinic owners. Getting audited can be one of the most stressful things to happen to you as a business owner. After all, if you don’t pass an audit, it could mean returning large sums of money to the insurance company. So, what will you need to guarantee compliance? That can vary. Some audits cover your entire practice, while others are specific to a few patients or providers. Here are a few examples of documents you could be expected to provide:
- Financial records
- Daily progress notes
- Plans of care
- Billing logs
- Appointment calendars
- Provider documentation
In short, the more detailed history you keep, the better. Be ready to produce any records that pertain to your practice at any moment. But don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to prepare and, in turn, ease your worries about an insurance audit. First, keep your admin team organized. It is of utmost importance that you and your administrative staff know where to find everything in the event of an audit. This way, you can easily identify if any records are missing or incomplete right away, rather than spending the days allotted trying to locate the pertinent files. This is especially important if your clinic uses paper records. Get those filing cabinets in order! It’s also wise to spend the extra time it takes to set your therapists up for success. This may mean training them on a better way to complete notes or hiring extra admin help to answer their questions and keep an eye out for holes in the system. Review your billing logs in detail to identify areas in which your team of providers could improve. By far the best way to be ready for the dreaded audit is to use electronic medical records (EMR) software. However, just having an EMR is not enough. It should be an EMR that will house everything you need when an audit notice arrives. This way, you’re not referring to the EMR for some details and searching around for others. Unlike generic EMRs, TheraPlan has your back during an audit. Using our 25 years of experience consulting with and billing for therapy clinics of all sizes, we designed TheraPlan according to the audit requirements of Florida Medicaid, Medicare, and Early Steps. If your therapists completely fill out our audit-guided documentation, you’ll have less reason to worry! Want to know more? Read about our audit-guided note templates
and other features of our efficient documentation system.
In a world dominated by mobile apps, in which few daily tasks require more than a series of clicks, we feel EMRs should be no exception. Medical professionals may need to keep accurate and insurance-approved records, but that doesn’t mean the interface for doing so has to look dry and boring! A modern, aesthetically pleasing dashboard makes the most common functions of an EMR feel less cumbersome, and at the same time provides one-click accessibility. We designed TheraPlan
around these principles, ensuring that our dashboard-centric EMR and landing page would provide numerous advantages to our users, including:
- Quick access to patients’ charts and contact info: Upon logging in to TheraPlan, the first thing you’ll notice on the dashboard is a Patient List. Search for a particular patient, or review your entire caseload at any given time, without having to navigate to the Patient Information section of the application. If you’re a therapist on wheels, accessing the dashboard from your mobile device allows you to call the patient’s main contact phone number in just a couple clicks!
- Scheduling at your fingertips: If you’re using TheraPlan for scheduling appointments, our dashboard brings those to your attention right away. See your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule at a glance, and even check in patients straight from the scheduler tile. No outside apps or calendars necessary!
- Inter-company messaging: We all know that emails get lost in inboxes, and text messages sometimes get overlooked. When you need to communicate with your team of therapists or admin staff, simply log in to TheraPlan and send an instant message straight from our message center.
- An at-a-glance summary of unsigned documents: Forgot which notes you left unfinished? See them all in one place every time you log in. With this addition to the TheraPlan dashboard serving as your ongoing task list, it’s impossible to end up with incomplete documentation!
A dashboard-centric EMR provides immeasurable advantages. TheraPlan’s
unique brand of dashboard technology allows therapists to complete daily responsibilities with minimal effort: to work smart, not hard! If you’re interested in seeing our dashboard for yourself, schedule a demo
. We’re happy to show you how TheraPlan
can simplify your work life.
When it comes to therapy treatment documentation and medical records, we know how complicated things can feel. Not only do you have insurance and HIPAA regulations to follow, but you must consider the standards and procedures determined by your supervisor or clinic owner. This can become a heavy burden if you’re trying to manage without technology on your side. Paper records are time-consuming and cumbersome. Whether you are a speech, physical, occupational, behavioral, or Early Intervention provider, there are concrete benefits to adopting an EMR. Read on to find out what we see as the most compelling reasons to consider the big switch.
- Tracking everything is easier. If you’re accustomed to sifting through papers or scanned documents to review a patient’s visit history, electronic records will give you a fresh take on this process. A comprehensive EMR will show you previous daily progress notes, make goal creation easier, and incorporate scheduling features so that you can easily get a picture of any particular patient’s interaction with your practice. Imagine never having to flip through stacks of paper or call your admin team to unearth an authorization form or locate a patient’s contact info. This is possible when using an EMR!
- Efficiency will be your middle name. As with many parts of modern life, the medical world is moving towards automation. Transferring your patients’ records to a technological platform is the first step in adopting this forward-thinking mindset and, in turn, becoming the most effective therapist possible. Efficiently documenting therapy treatments and evaluations through a convenient online platform will save you time and ease your stress.
- Web-based medical records are with you wherever you go. Medical records software has advanced tremendously in recent years. Now, rather than being tethered to a desktop, therapists and clinic owners can be on the go and still get work done! A web-based EMR is the next generation of EMR software, and one of the best tools for making the administrative part of your job less of a burden.
If you’re ready to leave the binder behind, explore how TheraPlan was built just for therapists
and refer your clinic owner to our blog about the administrative advantages of using an EMR.
Have you been holding out with your office full of filing cabinets as many medical offices transition to EMR systems? If your therapists still have to complete documentation in their own way, and your office staff is overworked, adopting a therapy practice EMR may be the way to go. Below, we outline three reasons to consider the big transition from paper to electronic medical records.
- Your therapists will spend less time documenting. An overworked therapist is an inefficient, ineffective therapist! If you want your clinic to be known for providing the best quality care, it’s wise to do whatever you can to make sure therapists are fully dedicated when they are treating patients. One way to do this is to take away the burden of complicated documentation. Between assessments, plans of care, and SOAP notes, your therapists are required to do quite a bit of paperwork to get paid for an evaluation or treatment. With the right EMR, therapists can spend just a few minutes documenting each encounter with a patient because all necessary information is on hand, in one place. Instead of managing their own individual methods of writing daily progress notes and having to search for assessments, therapists simply refer to the EMR for all tasks and relevant information.
- There will be less room for inaccuracies. Having your schedule, patient charts, authorizations, and other facets of documentation readily available simplifies all administrative and therapist duties. Should your practice ever go through an insurance audit, paper-based records can be a nightmare. EMRs standardize processes and records, which allows you to focus on growing your practice and providing the best quality medical care possible.
- An EMR frees up your office staff. Your admins have so much on their plate already. Sifting through stacks of paper shouldn’t be one of their primary duties! Front office staff will thank you for saving them the hours of time they used to dedicate to searching for authorizations, finding CPT codes, and contacting community-based therapists. Get the most out of every dollar you pay your staff by transitioning to an EMR.
While it can be an intimidating move, deciding to use a therapy practice EMR can revolutionize the way you run your practice. To find out more about what an EMR can do for you, read about TheraPlan’s features