Adopting a Certified EHR for a Rapidly Growing Behavioral Health Group Practice
January 6, 2016
Joanne Allison, Augusta Psychological Associates
With their rapid growth, problems emerged in the front office. Scheduling was a nightmare. The front office did the best they could running multiple Outlook accounts, and even a paper calendar for backup, but the schedules were difficult to reconcile; the front office was left with duplicate appointments, misspelled names, and unhappy clients. Facing the growing pains that many practices encounter, Augusta needed a way to scale and streamline the administrative side of their business, while still meeting the demands of a larger patient load.
Augusta was also looking for a system to better support their back office, including billing and reporting. Their practice management system was outdated and, while it worked, they grew tired of managing several different systems for different aspects the practice. Accounts receivable was a major concern: it was imperative they had accurate figures because their clinicians were paid based on a percentage of revenue they brought in.
Their clinicians needed to adopt an EHR to satisfy the requirements of Meaningful Use. Their paper charts led to disorganization, and meant that client records we not available to clinicians during travel or emergencies.
The Transition to Valant:
Augusta purchased and implemented Valant in late 2011 and was the largest private practice using Valant at the time. Admittedly, there was some push back from the clinicians about electronic documentation. However, when it became clear that the scheduling pains would be alleviated and that clinician payroll accuracy would be improved, they were willing to give it a try. Valant also built specialized note templates to ease some of the transitional documentation concerns.
After Augusta transitioned fully to Valant, aging balances in accounts receivable dropped dramatically. Initially, they had over 100 pages worth of accounts receivable when they printed off what was still outstanding–with Valant they are down to less than 10. Not only are they collecting more rapidly, they are collecting more, with time to look for mistakes and to deal with inconsistencies. Valant’s accurate reporting enabled better numbers for percentage payroll.
For 14 full-time providers, Augusta only needs 1 biller! The front office staff is a lean team of 4, with room to breathe. With Valant’s scheduler in place, they have eliminated the double booking problems and can pull up patient charts easily when a client calls. With Meaningful Use reporting, Augusta was able to track their progress towards satisfying the requirements and received the financial incentives. In the future, Augusta’s dream is to incorporate an integrated care model where they have recreational therapists and physical therapists and Valant will be an integral part of that growth.
Have questions? We’d love to answer them!