Among the greatest frustrations in Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) is the time it can take to deliver a wheelchair or seating system… plus the lengthy wait times to service equipment that’s already been approved as medically necessary.
In Mobility Management’s latest podcast, Required Documentation and Payer Policies: New Equipment and Repair Orders, National Seating & Mobility’s Gerry Dickerson and Charles Sargeant discuss current documentation requirements, as well as potential alternative policies that could benefit all stakeholders.
“Many physicians are completely unaware of the documentation burden required to either get a repair or to get a new system prescribed,” said Dickerson, an ATP/CRTS who is also the president of NRRTS. “Many times what we get in the documentation is one line in a four-page chart note that states, ‘Patient here for paperwork to be filled out for a new wheelchair.’”
Dickerson described the huge volume of “shadow work” — the non-reimbursed, behind-the-scenes tasks of the paper chase — and its toll. “All of it is adding up to clinician and ATP burnout,” he said.
Sargeant, NSM’s Chief Revenue Cycle Officer who leads the provider’s Funding, Billing & Collections, and Payer Administration departments, agreed.
“These inefficient processes create extra strain on a healthcare system that is already costly,” he pointed out in the podcast. “By making paperwork more extensive than necessary, we add non-value work to not only the supplier, but also the physicians that are trying to provide care, and the therapists that are trying to provide care. The payers themselves are adding work to their own business, creating unnecessary administrative costs.”
As for the enormous amount of documentation often required for a repair to take place, Sargeant added, “The cost of repair is next to nothing, and the cost not to repair something swiftly is extensive to the clients that we serve.
“They approve well over 99 percent of all repairs, yet we make the client wait, and we add the extra administrative cost of sending this paperwork back and forth.”