Top CEOs: Rein in administrative spending

‘We need to be talking about … getting off the damn fax machine’
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Friday, September 25, 2020

YARMOUTH, Maine – The best way to improve margins in an industry that suffers from constant pricing pressure is by reducing administrative burdens, said panelists during a recent discussion on “Post-pandemic: The rise of post-acute care.” 

“Everybody has way too many people involved in paper processing and billing and collections, rather than helping patients,” said Dan Starck, CEO of Apria Healthcare, during the virtual HME News Business Summit, Sept. 15-17. “And I’m hoping that what comes out of the pandemic is that CMS also realizes that it doesn’t have to be the way it used to be.”  

Starck was joined by Luke McGee, CEO and director of AdaptHealth; Stephen Griggs, founder, president, CEO of AeroCare; and Crispin Teufel, CEO of Lincare. 

How can providers reduce administrative costs? One way is by using e-prescribing platforms like DMEhub, GoScripts and Parachute Health, says McGee.  

“We need to be talking to referrals about getting off the damn fax machine,” he said. “We shouldn’t be competing on paperwork: ‘OK, I take paper; therefore, they’re happy.’ When payers come to us, they come looking for reimbursement cuts because that’s the easiest thing. If we can show them administrative cuts, we may be able to keep some of that margin for ourselves.” 

Less people, more tech 

Panelists agree that in order to grow, providers also need to fully embrace, expand and create technology, rather than “throwing more people at things,” a sentiment that was echoed in other sessions at the Summit. 

“There is no solution to any problem we have that you can answer with human capital,” said Griggs. “Technology has to answer that problem.” 

For stakeholders who say patients aren’t ready or willing to use the technology, the industry needs to stop lying to itself, McGee says. 

“That’s proving so farcical in this crisis,” he said. “We have Medicare patients and 80-year-old plus patients using telehealth, talking to their doctor on their iPhone or their android or their iPad. Patients want this, so I think we just need to deliver it.” 

It’s so important, providers may want to incentivize employees to educate patients on and get them to use digital tools. 

“After that, they’re absolutely happy and willing to deal with technology and apps,” said Teufel.