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MACRA Success Calls For Team Effort – MACRA Mondays

Posted on April 3, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

This post is part of the MACRA Monday series of blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

A new study suggests that the common-sense approach to handling MACRA issues – getting everyone on your team engaged with issues that arise – is popular among medical practices.

According to Stoltenberg Consulting’s Fifth Annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey, which polled a mix of IT professionals and executives at HIMSS17, the industry is still struggling to begin their MACRA process. In fact, 64 percent of respondents said that they were unprepared or very unprepared to handle MACRA.

On the other hand, many have a good idea of how they’ll proceed. The survey found that 68 percent of respondents said that practices should bring together clinical, financial and IT staffers when tackling MACRA challenges.

Even so, respondents had some significant concerns about their capabilities. Thirty-one percent of respondents said that revising data management and reporting processes to meet new reporting requirements was their biggest Quality Payment Program challenge. Almost tied was the need to motivate the entire organization to work together towards MACRA goals.

In its commentary, Stoltenberg expands on these themes. “Successful MACRA QPP reporting will take more than just passive submission of claim data,” the report states. “MACRA QPP success requires a defined, focused team which includes IT, clinical and operational departments all led by an executive representative. By combining their expertise, team members can better capture, maintain and analyze data that demonstrates program requirement achievement.”

But creating a team isn’t enough, the consulting firm notes. To move forward, the team must become thoroughly familiar with MACRA QPP and its subtleties. Then, the team will be equipped to evaluate the group’s existing reporting mechanism, decide which reporting gaps exist and figure out how to close them.

Then, the team should create a multi-year roadmap for meeting QPP requirements, including a look at alternative QPP paths they could take and what the impact on reimbursement might be, the report recommends. “A  roadmap will allow a healthcare organization to quickly adapt its MACRA program from year to year, preparing for more stringent requirements in future reporting years or transition from one reporting path to another.”

In addition to addressing MACRA issues, the researchers looked at issues in staffing healthcare IT departments. Fourty-four percent of respondents said that their department wasn’t fully staffed because they lacked the budget to do enough hiring.

Meanwhile, 43 percent said they hadn’t encountered enough qualified, experienced job candidates to fill their open positions. Also, 54 percent said that finding qualified health IT staff and support was difficult, and 28 percent said it was very difficult.

To close these hiring gaps, Stoltenberg recommended that healthcare organizations consider investing in training high-potential IT staffers with less experience, and pair them with advisors who can help them grow their skills.

Be sure to check out all of our MACRA Monday blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

Are Most EHR Consulting Companies Really Staffing Companies?

Posted on October 16, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

While at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum, I had the great opportunity to sit down with Sheri Stoltenberg, CEO of Stoltenberg Consulting and Shane Pilcher, VP of Stoltenberg Consulting. I say it was a great opportunity, because I had the chance to sit down with both of them at HIMSS as well and both times were a fantastically interesting opportunity. Considering they have over 50 years of experience in healthcare, they can offer some really deep perspectives on the industry.

Over time, I’m sure I’ll do many posts pulling out some of the topics we discussed. Many of them revolved around the idea of healthcare data analytics. Although, the conversation was unlike any other healthcare analytics discussion I’ve had (and I’ve had many). Instead, for this post I want to consider a realization I had during our conversation. Here’s the question that came to my mind:

Are Most EHR Consulting Companies Really Staffing Companies?

This came to mind when Sheri Stoltenberg was talking about their goal to provide more value to the organizations they work with beyond just extra hands on deck. When I think about the institutions I’ve talked to, they often treat EHR consulting companies more like a temp agency than they do a consulting company. Granted, it’s a temp agency with highly skilled workers, but in many respects it’s more about staffing than it is consulting.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a staffing company. In fact, the services these EHR consulting companies provide when it comes to staffing can be incredibly valuable to an organization who needs some temporary people with specific skills. That’s much better than having to hire and then fire a whole bunch of staff in your organization.

I just wonder how many organizations really hire an EHR consultant to consult their organization about how that organization should prepare for the future? I don’t think a consultant is required to help an organization better understand their readiness for the future, but it’s one method. My fear is that many organizations are so overwhelmed by the operations of their organization that they don’t take the time to strategically look to the future. Maybe there’s a space for a consultant who’s constantly considering the future to add value to an organization overwhelmed by operations and regulations.