March 2021 Electronic Health And Medical Records Software Updates
Keeping up with constantly changing industry standards and innovations is no simple task for...
Amid growing demand for mental health services that placed Maryland behavioral health statistics well above the national average, Cedar Ridge Counseling Centers found itself busier than ever and needing streamlined processes to keep up with its growing base of high-quality clinicians and therapists to serve the state’s residents in Baltimore and Carroll counties as well as the surrounding areas.
Simply staying ahead of insurance verification, reporting and compliance took more than 40 hours per week, said Tina Fry, the practice’s Director.
What the practice desperately needed was the ability to capitalize on technology-enabled processes. The answer was a state-of-the-art EHR solution that could handle clinical documentation for more than 60 providers while easing claims processing, insurance verification, payroll, and reporting obligations.
The 2019 implementation of InSync Healthcare Solution’s EHR and patient portal proved a gamechanger, enabling administrative staff to dramatically cut down on time-draining tasks, and improve operations on the cusp of a tumultuous year.
Cedar Ridge Counseling Centers, LLC, (Cedar Ridge) opened in 1996 in Sykesville, Maryland, with the primary purpose of establishing a network for mental health providers in Carroll and Baltimore counties– while expanding the availability of mental healthcare.
The business model is centered on the clinician while continuing to provide the best care to clients: Every healthcare provider contracted with Cedar Ridge operates as a 1099 contractor, while billing and payments are processed through a central office. As of December 2020, Cedar Ridge boasted a roster of 67 clinicians and therapists who provide a wide range of behavioral health and wellness services, both in-person and via telehealth, for clients of all ages.
Over the years, the demand for mental health services has grown in Maryland and throughout the United States. Cedar Ridge began working with primary care and pediatric practices that want to offer integrated care — a range of medical and mental health services — under one roof. Today, 15% percent of Cedar Ridge staff work within this model of care, as contractors within a separate, designated location.
Cedar Ridge’s flexible, well-paying work environment made it a desirable organization for providers, and the practice attracted some of Maryland’s best therapists and practitioners.
But internally, the administrative department was overwhelmed with paperwork – from the ongoing need to certify and recertify insurance for 26,000-plus clients, to ensuring contractors were paid on time. Staying above water took maximum effort and keeping up with code changes to avoid denials amounted to a full-time job.
“Our previous EHR didn't have the advanced functionality that InSync has, which allows us to reprocess claims easily. With our old system, reprocessing claims was a manual process that required printing, mailing, and faxing. You couldn’t reprocess claims electronically.”
Tina Fry, Director at Cedar Ridge Counseling Centers, LLC
Cedar Ridge chose InSync Healthcare Solutions’ EHR and practice management system after narrowing down its search to three vendor candidates.
What stood out? InSync’s EHR is tailored to behavioral health workflows and loaded with configurable templates. Fry says the EHR’s interface was easy to navigate, which made documentation, e-prescribing and reporting — including claims processing — less onerous.
Implementation took 10 weeks, and InSync’s team of EHR experts was always available at a moment’s notice to troubleshoot issues as they arose. For example, the administrative team was particularly pleased that it only took a few days for clinicians and in-house administrative staff to get acclimated to the new system – far less time than anticipated.
Adopting InSync’s EHR led to several improvements – most noticeably, a massive reduction in the hours needed to handle documentation and claims processing. Having less paperwork enabled Cedar Ridge to focus more on business and marketing activities and growing its pool of talent: The practice added 7 providers since the implementation of the solutions and is poised to add 15 more in 2021.
Additionally, Cedar Ridge has seen improvements in several other areas:
In 2020, the Cedar Ridge clinicians were responsible for 4,400 visits per month;
The organization has increased caseload and expanded in-person centers across the state of Maryland;
Billing demonstrated improvements in accuracy with CPT codes and code mapping for telehealth sessions;
Cedar Ridge expanded its integrated care model with primary care doctors;
Zero denials were reported over the last eight months due to proactive reporting and analysis;
95% of practice claims are processed and paid on time without error.
"InSync built exactly what we needed, and we were able to tweak it and make adjustments that fit the specific needs of our growing organization.”
InSync’s platform is more than a dream machine for Cedar Ridge practice operations – it’s the crucial technology source that fuels tens of thousands of wellness visits, and their respective claims, with little interruption. The practice no longer feels stuck or mired, in manual labor, trying to keep up with its own growth and documentation needs.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey conducted in August 2020 reveals that as many as one in three people say the pandemic has raised their anxiety or depression, highlighting the continued need for high-quality mental health services.
As Cedar Ridge strives to meet some of those needs for Maryland residents, Fry is grateful she no longer has to worry about whether her EHR can handle changes in code mapping, claims processing, or clinical settings. She’s also grateful for the patient portal embedded within the system, which has made the 70% increase to a telehealth environment much easier.