Friday, May 16, 2008

Cost Reductions: Use Information Technology

Because of the massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, long term healthcare facilities must learn to work smart. One step is to use information technology to improve management of staff, inventory, quality and reimbursement. Such attention can create considerable cost reduction helping to address all the impending reduction in revenue. Following are some of the areas that need to be reviewed in light of these necessary changes:

* Improved employee satisfaction and retention and reduction of temporary help
* Reduced cost through improved efficiency in staffing
* Elimination of unnecessary overtime
* Stronger staff education at the workplace
* Improved purchasing practices
* Movement from paper full to paper free electronic medical records

Here is how:

Human Resources

* Improved employee satisfaction and retention and reduction of temporary help through a web-based staff scheduling program that allows employees to select the various shifts that they are going to work or bid on. It also would determine the exact cost of employees, both FTEs and temporary.

* Reduced cost through improved efficiency in staffing utilizing staffing tools that enable prospective management and real time communication between staffing clerks and management with regard to ppd staffing, overtime and agency use.

* Elimination of unnecessary overtime generated by early and late time clock punches by linking nursing home specific scheduling to time clock management.

* In addition, this also ties into distance learning training for CNAs, LPNs and RNs. The cost reduction in this area is approximately ¾ less than the facilities are doing now.

Inventory Control

* Inventory control in a nursing home environment is massive in nature. Considering all the items and material needed to maintain an operation, the cost must go into the thousands of dollars.

* Many vendors will supply you with the complete inventory of their product lines so there is nothing that you would have to re-key. Tying this into purchasing makes this an automated process and has a great deal to do with reducing costs.

Resident (Reimbursement) Acuities Levels.

Because the reimbursement is based in the skilled facility on the acuity levels of the resident, there are more cases where these figures can be undercoded, therefore leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

With an analytical program, this area can be completely resolved and reimbursement can be improved dramatically.

Ancillary Areas

Ancillary areas, which would include forms and paper reporting, could realize substantial savings by adopting a document retrieval solution.

Application, server and desktop virtualization can significantly reduce IT costs.
It’s been our experience over the past ten years to be able to say that costs can be controlled internally primarily because of the fixed costs of the Medicare and Medicaid systems.

Edward Koscic & Associates
21887 Jonathan Drive, Suite 333
Strongsville STATE: Ohio ZIP: 44149
440-846-1120 FAX: 440-846-0959 E-mail:

Our firm has conducted hundreds of needs investigations for computer hardware and software acquisitions, a large percent in the healthcare field. We have had experience with some of the top specialists in the computer industry. We have associates in fifty states dealing with pen computing to main frames and databases to wide area networks. We have researched the ASP new wave of software distribution for the twenty-first century and have developed an intuitive database of all software vendors that sell software to the LTHC industry.

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