Medicare payments to BHRC delayed: New electronic system blamed
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jul 23, 2014 | 2693 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dennis Burtnett
Dennis Burtnett
Bradley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has had a challenging two months, as moving to an electronic medical record system has delayed payments from Medicare.

An electronic medical system, PointClickCare, decreases the time it takes to fill out daily reports, increases accuracy of documenting the tasks nurses have completed and allows the nursing director to access the information from home. The system can also alert those viewing the record if it is incomplete.

“It’s been a challenge, but the nurses really like the new electronic health records,” BHRC administrator Dennis Burtnett said Tuesday during a monthly board session.

He said configuring the computers for the nurses and the business office has been complicated, but was worked out.

“Medicare has delayed our May and June payments,” Burtnett said.

All the claims were rejected at first, because a five-digit ZIP code was given for the facility instead of a nine-digit ZIP code. More specific issues kept some of the claims from being approved, even with the correct ZIP code.

“If it is not set up to where it is perfect, it will not accept it,” BHRC controller Sandy Brock said.

Medicare forms are submitted to the fiscal intermediary Cahaba Government Benefit Administrators, who makes the regional payments for Medicare.

Initial reports sent to BHRC explaining what needed to be changed were in a format that could not be opened on the computer screen. A specific PointClickCare viewer, which is included in the software packet, is the only way to read the files.

“We didn’t know where it was. No one had showed us in training,” Brock said.

After making the needed corrections to the electronic forms, the May claims have been accepted.

“Our May claims are going to be paid, we think, by Friday,” Burtnett said.

Brock said the July claims should be a smoother process since many of the issues have been worked out.

He said the switch has not affected Medicaid payments.

Board member Lonnie Setlich explained that when the paperwork is submitted as a batch, all of the forms will be rejected — even if only one has issues — because “they don’t want to break a batch.”

Brock said Cahaba has started flagging the specific claims, so BHRC will know what needs to be changed.

Because the claims cannot be paid out of order, June claims cannot be sent until the May claims are paid.

The delay in payments required the center to pull $230,000 from its escrow account in order to pay employees, Brock said.

“Payroll runs about $150,000 a week,” Brock said.

The plan is to put some of the funds in the account once the May and June payments are received. Brock said the Medicare payments should bring in $250,000. Setlich said the board should consider having all of the funds go into the operating budget.

The computers used for the PointClickCare system are wireless and on the emergency power generator. Additional research and training are needed on the clinical operations use of the software to make it a smoother process.

Burtnett said implementing the electronic system shows “the state we are proactive.” Electronic record keeping is expected to be a requirement in the near future.

Burtnett said the facility recently had 35 Medicare patients, a new record.

The board delayed a vote on the budget in order to have a work session on the topic on Aug. 5.