Clinical Documentation for Higher Reimbursements

In her insightful article for HealthLeaders Media on October 29, 2012.

Karen Minich-Pourshadi clearly portrays how electronic physician documentation can generate significant financial benefits and help generate a favorable ROI for your EHR.

As a healthcare organization moves from fee-for-service reimbursement to population health–based care, it must accurately define how sick its population is—not only to take good care of these individuals but also to be reimbursed correctly. If clinicians undervalue the population through the clinical documentation, then the government and payers will follow suit, and that can cost a hospital or health system millions.

Borgess Health, a health system based in Kalamazoo, Mich., was able to uncover more than $6 million in reimbursement by getting physicians to improve their documentation. Chances are that for your organization, it’s as simple—and complicated—as that.

Anthony Oliva, DO, CMO at Borgess Health, is no stranger to clinical documentation improvement. In 2004 he was vice president of medical affairs at Bayhealth Medical Center in Dover, Del., where the organization refocused its documentation process by taking a clinical perspective rather than concentrating on primary coding.

Bayhealth added a clinical documentation management program from J.A. Thomas to help get to the heart of assessing and reporting severity of illness (SOI) and expected versus observed mortality rates, to more accurately determine hospital and physician performance. So when Oliva arrived at Borgess Health, it was only natural that he looked at clinical documentation.

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