For hospice providers struggling to complete the claims documentation that is required to secure reimbursement, obtaining timely signatures from the family power of attorney (POA) and the attending physician continues to be a challenge.
Relying on outdated methodologies like email, paper or fax to obtain signatures from remote family members and POAs on a range of documents — such as the hospice Election of Benefit (EOB) statement or the Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) — can delay care or place unnecessary liability risk on the hospice organization. Meanwhile, securing timely physician signatures on the Certification of Terminal Illness form can be a challenge due to the physician’s sparse availability and lack of interest in completing yet another paper form.
“A delay in capturing the signatures required to start care and certify patients can really slow down everything for a hospice provider,” says Rob Stoltz, Vice President of Business Development at Citus Health. “It’s been a problem for decades, and despite the best efforts of the industry, it hasn’t gone away.”
Here is a look at the problems inherent in capturing POA and physician signatures, and how a new solution is creating outcomes that hospice providers need.
The problem: We make it too difficult
Today’s family caregiver / POA is the adult child who may not live in the same city as the hospice-eligible patient yet must have the same easy access to documentation as those who do. So when it comes to securing the necessary signatures, it can take multiple follow-ups to get the paperwork completed and signed, especially when the POA must print out and sign the form, then find a scanner or fax machine to return the paperwork.
Meanwhile the clock is ticking on care for their loved one.
The attending physician may also be in a remote location which means that traditional paper forms are inefficient regardless of whether the documents are received in person or via fax. The move to electronic workflows can speed up the process as providers use web-based forms in portals to capture signatures and manage documentation.
But that shift brings two new problems. The first is simple: People are reluctant to download an app or sign into a portal just to sign a document before care has started.
The second problem is: Physicians hate portals.
“Physicians provide a lot of referrals across the post-acute continuum, so the headache for them is that now they have to sign into many portals with multiple usernames and passwords,” Stoltz says. “Industry data shows that portals are not utilized effectively.”
The COVID-19 pandemic poses additional problems, as face-to-face physician encounters and in-person nurse, aide and social worker visits have become more challenging. And it has been difficult for many providers to track down physicians to obtain their signatures.
Fortunately, there is a better way: Magic Link technology.
The solution: Magic Link
At the end of the day, the responsibility for easing this process is on the party in need of the signatures, Stoltz says. In other words, the hospice agency.
“Our contention is that the objection (from POAs and physicians) is, ‘You just have to make it easier for me — so I don’t have to log into a portal and I don’t have to download an app,’” Stoltz says.
Magic Link technology checks both of those boxes. It is an app-less path to capturing signatures through a secure link in either a text or email, based on end-user preference. It requires no login, making it a “password-less authentication,” Stoltz says.
Here’s how it works:
- The sender — the hospice agency, in this case — sends material to the recipient through its software platform
- That recipient — the physician — receives a text or email from a known sender notifying them that they have a document awaiting signature
- The notification uses a hyperlink, which brings the recipient into a secure environment to read the document and take the action needed to complete and sign it
- All of this is done without the recipient requiring a password and login, or downloading an app
”This technology helps hospice providers overcome one of the biggest physician objections about portals and applications,” Stoltz says. “And for family POAs, a streamlined document signature process that makes their lives easier will result in higher satisfaction with the hospice provider.”
The outcome: quicker start of care and more time to care
Magic Link technology is a time-saving feature of the Citus Health platform solution, which offers home-based care providers the comprehensive platform for real-time collaboration and communication with care teams and family caregivers. Stoltz says Citus Health customers are raving about the speed at which they can capture signatures and how easy it is for physicians and family caregivers to use.
And as with advanced healthcare IT solutions, the secondary benefit is increased staff efficiency. When clinical staff can trim time spent on documentation and chasing signatures, they can increase time spent providing care.
“It’s new technology, and it’s exciting,” Stoltz says. “Hospice providers need to implement technologies that speed up their workflows, especially the critical documentation required to start care and secure reimbursement for that care.”
To learn more about how Citus Health can help your organization improve communication and collaboration with features like Magic Link, visit CitusHealth.com.