Feeling confident about compliance is rare among most healthcare professionals—and that includes rehab therapists. Of course, most PTs know the terms “therapy cap,” “functional limitation reporting,” “PQRS,” “the 8-minute rule,” and “MPPR,” but, in our experience, few can say with confidence that they are fully compliant—especially without the help of an EMR. Yet, compliance requirements remain in place, and payment denials, penalties, fines, audits, and a whole lot of complications await those practitioners who don’t take the requirements seriously. So, if an EMR can help you boost your compliance confidence, what are you waiting for? Here’s proof:
1. Complete Documentation
Each regulation has its own distinct and often complicated set of documentation requirements, but the right EMR can sort all of that out for you; you just follow the prompts and alerts. Take functional limitation reporting, for example: therapists must record a patient’s primary functional limitation, the severity of said limitation, and a goal for therapy at the patient’s initial evaluation, re-evaluation (if applicable), progress note (at minimum every ten visits), and at discharge. The right EMR will prompt you to select the appropriate G-codes and modifiers on the correct patient visit and will carry over all relevant patient information. In other words, the right EMR can make functional limitation reporting significantly less daunting (dare we say, easy?).
Want another example? Let’s talk PQRS. There are two PT-specific EMRs on the market right now that CMS has approved as PQRS Certified Registries. So if you choose one of these applications, you’ll need only to select your reporting measures and answer a few simple questions during normal documentation. The registry will collect, aggregate, and digitally submit all the appropriate data to CMS for you. You’ll satisfy the requirements, avoid the penalty, and even earn an incentive.
Still not convinced? EMRs also have you covered when it comes to Medicare Plan of Care tracking reports and alerts; certification and recertification reminders; and 8-minute rule alerts. Plus, a PT-specific EMR can streamline your documentation process and reduce double data-entry and human error that could cause all sorts of compliance issues. And storing all your documentation digitally means that it will always be neat, organized, legible, and easily accessible should you ever need to search your records or review past notes.
2. Automatic Updates
A cloud-based (a.k.a web-based) EMR is always up-to-date. If Medicare creates a new regulation or modifies an existing one, this type of application can adapt quickly, rolling out new features and upgrades to provide you with the latest and greatest technology. And the best part is that cloud-based EMRs update seamlessly and automatically, which means you don’t need to lift a finger to access to the newest version. For comparison, updates to server-based EMRs are significantly more labor and time-intensive. As a result, they’re often much less agile and flexible, which means they become outdated quickly—and that’s a big problem considering the pace at which Medicare introduces new (or makes changes to existing) regulations.
3. Expert Support
It’s not just the system that stays up to date on the latest in compliance regulations; a good EMR vendor’s staff does as well. And that means you, as a customer, automatically have access to your own personal team of experts, at your service and always ready to answer your most challenging compliance questions. These answers can come in the form of online educational content—like blogs, newsletters, and webinars—or one-on-one support calls.
Simply knowing that you’re not alone in this compliance jungle can be quite the confidence booster. And in this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to remain fully compliant without the help of an EMR. So don’t wait any longer. If you haven’t already, start seriously considering how an EMR can be your best friend when it comes to staying compliant—and staying in business. And with the weight of compliance off your shoulders, you can focus on doing what you really love—providing exceptional patient care.