Timesavers under PDGM

Is your agency watching the clock and waiting on outstanding physician orders? These tips can help with the new 30-day timeframe.

How many outstanding orders are waiting to be signed for your home health agency right now? If your agency operates like most, you have numerous physician orders waiting for signatures for every single patient.

New 30-day timeframes under Medicare's new Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) have many home care providers feeling overwhelmed about the need to collect all those signatures in a timely manner – and in some cases from physician offices where the office staff may not seem motivated to speed up processes.

Here’s some good news. You may not actually need to hold up the billing process to wait on some of those physician signatures.

"Many agencies believe they have to have physician orders for certain things when they really don't need those signatures for compliance as long as they have the adequate documentation in place," said Kim Wilkerson, who helps agencies shore up their PDGM compliance as a member of the Home Health Solutions consulting team.

"The key is making certain your documentation is in order," Kim said.

Without adequate documentation, agencies may place themselves at risk of Survey citations for failing to communicate important information to the physician overseeing the patient's Plan of Care, Kim said.

But some things simply don’t require an actual order with physician signature. Those are the things most agencies are doing out of habit, because they don’t realize that an order is not really needed or because their electronic medical record software asks for one, Kim said. "One example is when the patient expires," Kim said. "But there are additional times a physician order will not be necessary for discharge. Sometimes agencies are so caught up in the habit of needing signatures at every step in the process that it can be difficult to break that cycle." Eliminating those unnecessary orders may significantly speed up an agency’s billing timetable under PDGM, Kim said, by requiring fewer signatures and fewer waits for the physician to return those signed orders.

List of 12 Timesaving Tips Home Health Solutions outlines 12 times a physician order will not be necessary (as long as the agency has proper documentation in place) in a new digital download available in PDF format from The Solutions Shop, the online store on the HHS website. The PDGM Timesavers list comes with a link to Kim's recent 60-minute webinar on "Orders Management Under PDGM."

Available now as a digital download in the Home Health Solutions online store. The webinar and digital download are currently on sale for $34.99.