A hospital’s chargemaster is a finely tuned system that must be maintained to ensure it is being used to the best of its abilities. This means that a chargemaster that has been properly maintained can be the difference in whether a hospital remains in compliance with the price transparency mandate and receives full reimbursement for its procedures or not. Without best practices being put into place to optimize a chargemaster, systems can remain chaotic messes that won’t correctly reflect a hospital’s true integrity.
Chargemaster Management Misconceptions
Many think that major chargemaster issues were solved with the recent price transparency mandate. What they don’t realize is that since most chargemasters are managed through automated software, they have to continually be reworked and updated with new best practices to ensure that a hospital is operating at full efficiency.
Integrating automation in chargemasters has allowed healthcare organizations to make the right changes for their future goals, but some have continued to have problems because there is the misconception that the software will take care of everything. Ultimately, a chargemaster will only work if the people using it are updated on the basics (codes, changes, etc.) and program them into the chargemaster properly so they can let the system know what they need and how the information needs to look. Without people managing behind the scenes, these systems will never be utilized to their fullest extent and could leave hospitals vulnerable.
Chargemaster Optimization Best Practices
Assign a Dedicated Person(s) for Chargemaster Management
There is such a thing as having too many people trying to control a chargemaster at once. Since you’ll want to ensure best practices internally, limiting chargemaster access to a small number of staff members – or even one person – can significantly help with the accuracy of the information that is entered into a system.
This dedicated person can be considered a “superuser,” as they not only have extensive knowledge of the chargemaster’s automated system but also experience within a hospital’s major departments, such as Finances or IT. By having one main user (or multiple superusers if a department approves it), hospital employees have a reference point to turn to for the latest updates and best practices.
Invest in an Electronic Workflow
A thorough electronic workflow can make a hospital’s chargemaster management more efficient and secure. The hospitals that are bringing in the most revenue and success have been found to have utilized this type of technology long before most others have. While others were still chasing paper trails, these hospitals were able to reduce backlog, lose fewer invoices, and maintain approval control early on, saving copious amounts of time and money.
Using technology for chargemaster management has not only eliminated the need for human labor but has allowed organizations to monitor and process large amounts of data at once. This creates an accurate system that will identify discrepancies and revenue issues, allowing hospitals to fix any errors immediately. With this, the days of worrying about missing any critical information are over.
Consistently Train Staff
Even if most of the staff within a specific department in a hospital won’t be using a chargemaster as extensively as a superuser, they still need to be proficient in the basics to avoid system mismanagement. One of the more prevalent problems with chargemaster technology is staff not fully understanding and executing certain systematic approaches, which exist to prevent mistaken charges and billing errors.
Superusers will want to start training staff early on and continue to train before changes are implemented, to make sure that everyone is familiar with how the technology works and to answer any questions as needed.
Maintain an Audit Trail
Having an audit trail means that an organization is keeping track of any updates made within a chargemaster. Even with the best-automated software, errors can happen. Documentation must be made that notes reasonings for additions, deletions, and modifications. Creating this record trail will also give hospitals the capability of tracking changes within departments and seeing who created approvals, which can make fixing major problems much easier if they know who to go back to. By maintaining this practice, hospitals can gain back control of their systems and see where they can make their next business moves for the future.
What Results from GREAT Chargemaster Optimization?
It’s important to remember that chargemaster management is more important than ever, especially with the healthcare price transparency laws that have gone into effect that can emphasize where a hospital is lacking and losing money. Maintaining great chargemaster care will allow you to stay in compliance with state and national laws, giving you efficiency to focus on working towards your goals instead of fixing constant problems. It will also allow others to see that you are fully aware of how your revenue cycle runs so patients can have the best experiences possible.