This year, we’ve seen increased adoption of the ALIS integrated billing module, so we thought it would be a good time to share how customers and their residents are benefiting from the move to integrated EHR billing.
Integrated EHR Billing Saves Time
The most immediate benefit of transitioning to use the integrated billing features in ALIS is time savings. Alvaro Mengual, financial controller at AmeriCare Health & Retirement, says “Now, instead of spending 4 to 5 hours for each resident to get everything right, it’s down to less than 2 minutes with a simple import.”
Sara Childs, corporate solutions specialist at Traditions Management describes her experience transitioning from a manual billing process to using ALIS’ integrated billing features: “There’s less human error, recurring charges are easier to handle, and we can spend time getting the monthly changes right (instead of generating bills manually for every resident each month.)”
Integrated EHR Billing Improves Accuracy
Childs went on to describe another benefit of using ALIS for billing: “I feel like we capture more of the cost in the month they occur. The incidental charges like salon, meal, laundry are now in the same month when before they were always coming after the fact because we had to close on the 23rd in order to get the bills out. Every month we basically had a week’s worth of charges that had to wait until the next month’s invoice. Now we can enter charges up until midnight the day before the first and the invoices are just there in the morning, waiting for me to review.”
Mengual says AmeriCare also sees improved accuracy. “ALIS has allowed us to improve our review process, so we’re catching mistakes early, before the invoice goes out. Sometimes we were finding and correcting mistakes months after the issue occurred. That can be very hard to explain to an older resident.”
Build Better Budgets with Historical Billing Data
Using ALIS for care plan management and billing gives you a more complete — and searchable — dataset describing the cost of care. The billing data can also be used to help make operational decisions more quickly.
At AmeriCare, Mengual says “We can make better budgets with real information and that’s very, very useful. Here’s an example: we were having a hard time hiring Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). We weren’t paying a competitive enough rate and realized we needed to increase our hourly pay rate. As we discussed this, we were concerned we’d have to make big price increases across the board in order to support the salary increase. I was able to pull up the information very quickly in a meeting to show the impact of the new pricing, using the real data from our system.”
“When we looked at the actual data from ALIS, the cost impact was an order of magnitude less than we had initially assumed. ALIS allows us to understand the true cost of care for our residents.”
Integrated EHR Billing’s Surprise Benefit: Stronger Teams
Childs says the biggest benefit, though, has been better team communication. “Using ALIS for billing has saved us time in our monthly processes, but the other thing I’d say it’s done is given our business office managers a better handle on cash flow, and more ownership over the process. We don’t have to keep an eye on it or remind them, they can see a report at any time. The gap between the home office and the field has been bridged. I’d say that’s the biggest benefit we’ve seen.”
Megual describes a similar “democratization of the process.” Their teams have better teamwork he says, “in part because the system requires it. Everyone is more conscious of how what they do affects others. And they pay more attention as a result.”
“Our communication has changed, too,” he says. “Now our business office managers and the team at corporate can call each other and review the same information and it allows them to cooperate and get on the same page more quickly.”
Successful transitions start with buy-in from the team members whose work processes are changing. Mengual recommends walking everyone through the process step-by-step. For his team, it helped to compare the current process and the new process with ALIS, describing where time would be saved and how much easier it would be to correct mistakes, for example.
“ALIS customer service also helped a lot with the transition,” said Mengual. “We are in a way better position than before. I wouldn’t go back!”
If you’re ready to get started with integrated billing and care management at your assisted living, behavioral health, or memory care community, we should talk!