Document 271266

president’s message
the future through people by training new individuals to
become the leaders of tomorrow.
ime sure passes quickly.
It seems like just yesterday I
was attending my first
Georgia HFMA Institute in
Hilton Head and now I have
become Chapter President.
Connecting through Process—Connecting people with
information will enable us to work more efficiently and
to develop new processes and modify existing ones.
Connecting through Technology—People and processes
connect through technology. Disseminating information, testing, and recording are vital to healthcare
finance. We need to continue to learn and embrace new
technology to move us into the future.
As I am writing this, I keep thinking of the words to a
song by Trace Adkins:
You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this
back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by
so fast. These are some good times, so take a good
look around. You may not know it now. But you’re
gonna miss this. 1
Through People, Processes, and Technology we can
“Connect the Future” of Healthcare Finance and the
Georgia Chapter of HFMA.
As members, I challenge you to continue to learn and to
train those who are coming after you. I challenge you if
you are not already involved in TEAMS to get involved.
The connections that you make will be useful not only
in your jobs but also can lead to lasting friendships.
Don’t miss the opportunity!
Make sure that you do not miss an opportunity this
year. The National Chairman’s theme for 2008-09 is
“Making Connections”. I challenge you to “Make
Connections” during the next year and Connect through
People, Processes, and Technology.
Susan Clark
Connecting through People—Healthcare is a business of
people—patients, doctors, administrators, nurses,
finance personnel. Learning from those who have come
before us will help prepare us for the future. Connect
Trace Adkins - You’re Gonna Miss This Lyrics, Accessed 6/23/08.
mission statement
scroll deadlines
Fall 2008
Winter 2009
Spring 2009
To provide informative articles that promote
the well-being and educational enhancement
of the healthcare professional and the
GA Chapter HFMA •
September 5, 2008
November 17, 2008
March 6, 2009
Summer 2008
2008 - 2009
officers and board
President • Susan Clark, CPA, FHFMA
President-Elect • Carmen V. Sessoms, FHFMA
Program Chairperson • Bill Eikost
Treasurer • Karen Newton
Secretary • Cynamin Kinard
Immediate Past
President • Teresa Singley
GHA Designee • Robert Bolden, FHFMA
2nd Year Board Members
Frank Powell
Kay Stanley
Roxann Arnold
1st Year Board Members
Jerry Mahrenholz
Pat Tewalt
Donna Casey
Scroll Committee
Kimberly Farmer, Editor
Alan Cobb, Co-editor
Editorial Policy: Opinions expressed in articles or features are those of
the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Georgia
Chapter, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, or the
Scroll Committee. Questions regarding articles or features should be
addressed to the author(s). The Healthcare Financial Management
Association and the Scroll Committee assume no responsibility for the
accuracy or content of any articles or features published in The
Georgia Scroll. We also reserve the right to edit all submitted articles.
The Scroll Committee reserves the right to accept or reject contributions
whether solicited or not. All correspondence is assumed to be a release
for publication unless otherwise indicated. All article submissions
should be forwarded via e-mail (MS Word Document) to Jane Gray at:
[email protected]
HFMA Webpage:
Jane Gray
Greg Smith
Tracey Frederick
Eric Bergeon
Maria Hallman
Kimberly Hackler
Kimberly Farmer
Alan Cobb
Steve Rothchild
Lynnette Lytle
Sam Thrower
Julie Kraemer
Julianne Dreon
Russell Moore
Paul Kearns
Mark Kopplemann
Bill Eikost
Janelle Padgett
Lisa Kimberly
Lisa Williams
Marianne Wilkie
Fred Amtower
Thom Kisner
Karla Goodson
Joshua Livingston
Dave Blankenship
Amy Harrison
Alice Childs
John Iodice
Jamie Barwick
Matt Wallace
Chuck Martin
Robb Robinson
GA Chapter HFMA •
Bridget Sykes
Laurence Harris
Greg Smith
Sharon House
Ricky Morris
Dominique Bennett
Roxann Arnold
Tara Jeffers
Paul Kearns
Allison Wilson
Rick Sherrin
Susan Waits
Susan Singleton
Jacki Meade
Karla Goodson
Mike Schaefer
table of contents
President’s Message
From the Desk of the Editor
RAC’s Coming to a Provider near YOU!
Larry Bradley: Forty-one Years of Revenue Cycle
Chapter Chatter
Welcome New Members
Mailing Costs Go Straight to Your Bottom Line
3rd Annual GA Healthcare Trade Faire
Certification Is All About You!
Point of Service Collections is Critical to the
Revenue Cycle
The Downside of Credit Scoring
Corporate Sponsor Benefits
Corporate Sponsors
13 Ways to Have Fun at Work
UnitedHealthcare Admin. Advisory Committee
Outreach: Bridging the Gap
Photo Gallery
Attn: Revenue Cycle Managers
GA Spring Institute Agenda
Alabama Chapter - Region V Dixie Institiute
Steven Ross
Linda Fausett
Jennifer York
David Payne
Sharon House
Linda Corley
Lillian Kloock
Ann Chandler
David Torrento
Glenda Massee
Elaine Dixon
Darrell Lawson
Ellen Silva
Diana Lindsey
Pat Tewalt
Laura Hosford
Michelle Meador
Laura Outler
James Ellington
Jamie Lloyd
Nate Dondanville
Linda Chailland
David Torrento
Steve Gunter
Henry Ostaszewski
Bob Sortino
Karen Lloyd
Donna Casey
Meghan Lynch
Angela Bowers
Patty Maddox
Donna Fincher
Frank Powell
Elizabeth Richards
Todd Cox
Janice Qualls-Harris
Cal Calhoun
Kay Stanley
Tom Morris
Jessica Carter
Sean Alavi
Becky Black
Pete Hogan
Summer 2008
from the desk of the editor....
are handling the rise in uninsured patients at their facilities, or asking a fellow HFMA member if they know of any job opportunities, or
even just trying to find a good summer camp for your children. It is
all about making connections with those around you.
s the Georgia Chapter moves into
a new year under the leadership of our
new president, Susan Clark, I find myself
in a role that is very unfamiliar to me:
editor of the Georgia Scroll. Last Fall,
when I found myself being coerced, yes I
said coerced, by Carmen Sessoms (thank
you Carmen), to serve as Scroll Editor, my
first thought “are you crazy”, but then I
soon realized that I needed a new challenge in my life. I am sure every one of
K I M B E R LY FA R M E R you, have personal and professional challenges everyday, but this one made me
feel excited and a little uncomfortable, which isn’t always a bad thing.
Georgia HFMA is the perfect opportunity to make those connections
in your professional life. I encourage anyone that is not involved to
get involved, join TEAMS (Together Everyone Achieves More
Success), and start making your own connections. Of course, you
may make connections that help in your job, but more importantly,
do not be surprised if you make friendships that last a lifetime.
As I finish writing my first letter to you, Past President, Tim Betty’s
2000-01 theme keeps popping into my head, “Enjoy the Ride”. So
that is what I am going to do, fasten my seatbelt, hold on tight, and
“Enjoy the Ride,” some things in life are meant to be frightening, but
with all my “connections” in Georgia HFMA, I know I will be ok
when the ride ends.
This Spring, I began my new responsibilities, which includes gathering all the necessary pieces that the Scroll comprises of, but putting
all those things aside, I have found the hardest component has been
writing the letter from the editor. I sat down to write my first letter
and a strange thing happened, I realized I was at a loss for words. I
did not even know where to begin. Who would have ever thought I
would be at a loss for words, but after several agonizing days, I finally
realized I had plenty to say.
There are too many of you to thank, but you all know who you are.
Thank you for making me the person I am and continuing to help
me grow into the person I still want to be!
With warm regards,
Kimberly Farmer
All I had to do was look at the National Chairman’s theme for 200809, “Making Connections.” That two word statement can apply to
almost everything in our lives; whether it is asking a peer how they
GA Chapter HFMA •
Kimberly Farmer, Editor
[email protected]
Summer 2008
lead story
RACs Coming to a
Provider near YOU!
By Laura Pait, RHIA, CCS,
Senior Manager
The RAC program’s mission is to reduce Medicare improper payments through efficient detection and collection of overpayment, the
identification of underpayments, and the implementation of actions
that will prevent future improper payments.
CMS initiated a pilot Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) program in
2005. The initial states that were selected for this pilot were
California, New York and Florida. These states were selected primarily because they are the largest states in terms of Medicare utilization. Approximately 25% of Medicare payments made each year is
to providers in these states. The mission of the RACs is “To reduce
Medicare improper payments through the efficient detection and collection of overpayments, the identification of underpayments, and
the implementation of actions that will prevent future improper payments.”
Dangers Ahead
Section 302 of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 makes the
RAC Program permanent and requires the Secretary to expand the
program to all 50 states by no later than 2010. By 2010, CMS plans
to have 4 RACs in place. The new RAC jurisdictions match the DME
MAC jurisdictions. On March 16, 2007, CMS drafted a “statement
of work” that provides details about the program, but more importantly outlines the suggested expansion of the program. Recent
expansion of the program brought participation to South Carolina,
Massachusetts, and Arizona. States targeted for program expansion
in 2008 include Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. States targeted for expansion in CY 2009 include West Virginia, Virginia, North
Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.
Section 306 of the Medicare Modernization Act directed CMS to
investigate Medicare claims payment using RACs to identify underpayments and overpayments and to collect the overpayments so that
they may be returned to the Medicare Trust Fund. For Fiscal Year
2006 RACs identified $289.1 million in overpayments but only
$10.4 million in underpayments. Recently published RAC summary
documents have revealed overpayments collected for medically
unnecessary services in an Inpatient Hospital or Skilled Nursing
Facility in FY 2007 at $106.5 million. Congress gave CMS the
authority under the RAC demonstration legislation to pay the RACs
differently. CMS pays each RAC on a contingency fee basis. It has
been identified that RACs get to keep 20-30% of the dollar amount.
This demonstration is the first time the Medicare program has ever
paid a contractor on a contingency fee basis for a claim review and
overpayment collection work.
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
What is this talk about “Medical Necessity”
for Inpatient Services?
Speaking with board members, senior leadership and Hospital staff
this spring resulted in a common question What is this talk about
medical necessity for inpatient services?
Areas that pose a danger for most providers include:
■ Request for Medical Records
The RAC may obtain records by on-site visit and mail/fax.
Providers today have not established procedures for handling these
requests. Depending on the amount of records the RAC has
requested to review, this could be a huge operational issue. To
date, most providers are receiving requests for medical records and
not an on-site visit. Depending on the size of the facility, some
report lists of 100 patients while some report lists of just 15. The
key is to be able to locate and send the copies within 45 days from
the date the letter was issued, not from the date you received the
request. If the RAC does not receive the records within the time
frame specified it is an automatic denial. Providers today do not
demonstrate a process that can track the request upon entry into
their organization, if the request was complied with, and if the RAC
received the records. It has been reported that the RACs are reporting they never received records and the provider can not prove they
were sent. Homework that each provider can do is to verify with
their FI/Carrier what address and contact person they have on file.
Addresses change and we do have turn-over from time to time.
Financial case management has become a necessary part of every
healthcare organization. What will the payer cover for an admission
under 30 days? Was a procedure included that the payer will only
cover as an outpatient? These are all questions that case managers
address every day to help Hospitals ensure that they can bill for the
services provided and they will be paid by the payer. So, how can we
fit a “clinical” review of medical necessity in all of this?
Facilities that have elected to participate in the Medicare program
have agreed to follow the “Conditions of Participation.” Specifically
42 CFR Section 482.30 which details the required elements for a
Utilization Review (UR) plan. This section notes that the Hospital’s
UR plan must review medical necessity of admissions, length of stay
and services rendered. This review process is NOT THE SAME as
the quality assessment and performance improvement reviews
required under 42 CFR Section 482.21.
■ Appeal Process
Providers are overwhelmed with the detail required in the appeal
process. CMS suspects that there are simply more overpayments
made by the Medicare program due to lack of medical necessity
and incorrect coding of claims than there are overpayments due to
Medicare being the secondary payer. Lack of medical necessity
and incorrect coding for Hospital and Physician outpatient claims
is not new and although this remains part of the “automated”
claim review, the inpatient complex review process has significantly challenged providers.
Providers are experiencing a great deal of confusion and lack of
expertise when dealing with appeals related to Hospital inpatient
services denied for lack of medical necessity relate to the inpatient
admission. Providers are reporting the need to establish new positions within their organization just to address these concerns.
Providers must establish a clear appeals process. Ownership and
accountability must be defined for the internal RAC program.
Unfortunately, the RAC provides time restraints on the appeals
process as well. If the appeal is not received within the defined
time restraints, the denial will stand. Providers must not accept
the denial on face value, but research and be sure you are in agreement with the interpretation of the LCDs, NCDs, coding guidelines and InterQual criteria. A 30% overturn rate has been reported on physician
claim denials due
to effective appeal
These RAC results demonstrate the application of review criteria in
the judgment of medical need for the initial admission in particular
for one-day stays during the “complex” review process that does
include review of the medical record. To date we have not seen outcomes reflecting continued stay reviews.
When we reflect on the current UR process
in Hospitals today, what do we see?
■ UR absorbed into case management responsibilities
■ Overwhelmed with the steps required to get approval of days for
commercial payers
■ No pre-admission reviews
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
■ Enormous work around or meetings to ensure physician satisfaction
The new statement of work notes the new four permanent RACs will
be announced the first of 2008 and in early 2008, they will begin
issuing letters to providers for medical records.
Over time hospitals have seen this function fall to the side.
Hospitals are continually challenged with the time involved in
review of each medical record and the frequent need to speak with
physicians. The other major influencing factor has been the apprehension and reluctance from Hospital leadership when questioning
medical staff on the appropriateness of the care plan for this particular level of care.
Get Prepared NOW!
■ Start an internal/external assessment plan
• The revised statement of work limit claims that RAC contractors may review to those with dates of service from October 1,
2007 and forward.
• Identify and correct deficiencies
• Educate physicians on documentation requirements
• Educate coding and billing staff as needed
• Engage case managers/documentation specialists on the medical necessity related issues
• Educate stakeholders and board members
• Establish Best Practices
■ Familiarize yourself on Medical Necessity issues for both
It is now time to buckle down and address ALL the issues that need
to be covered. What can you do?
■ Dust off your current UR plan and be sure staff are aware of the
steps involved
■ Prepare Hospital leadership to help inform the medical staff of
these issues
■ Reinforce “what is in it for them” understanding with your medical staff
If your organization is talking about medical necessity of inpatient
services, embrace this as your opportunity to make things right.
Ensure your compliance with the Conditions of Participation with a
risk assessment. Visit your recent coding reviews to see if medical
necessity was addressed. Define corrective action, revisit staffing
and be sure education and training is provided more than once.
Inpatient and Outpatient services
■ Define your internal process for managing requests and appeals
Top 12 RAC Issues to Watch For
1. Debridement – procedure code on claim did not match procedure
described in medical record
2. Respiratory Failure – principle diagnosis on claim did not match
the principle diagnosis in the medical record
3. Discharge status/transfer – claim indicates discharge to home or
other facility, but medical record indicates beneficiary was discharged to another hospital or home with home care
4. Inpatient Rehabilitation – services were medically necessary but
could have been provided in a less acute setting
5. Neulasta – wrong number of unites billed
6. Speech Therapy – wrong number of unites billed for initial evaluation
7. Admission for scheduled elective procedures
8. Claims with single secondary diagnosis designated as a complication or comorbidity
9. Medical necessity for short stay admission, including chest pain,
back pain, congestive heart failure, and gastroenteritis
10. Inpatient only procedures – know what changes from year to
11. Transfusion – billing more than once per encounter
12. DRG payment window – outpatient procedures
As we prepare for RAC review, “Best” practice at any organization
will require establishing a clear internal process. An effective UR
plan provides a definition of ownership and accountability, but also
requires awareness and support from Hospital leadership.
Recent Updates
October 19, 2007, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued by CMS
seeking application for a national implementation. October 26,
2007, the American Hospital Association (AHA) issued a letter to
CMS expressing concerns with the program and asking reconsideration of several key issues. November 7, 2007, a bill was introduced
to place a moratorium on the RAC program. The bill directs CMS
to provide Congress a detailed program status. California has
expressed particular concern with the RAC process associated with
inpatient rehabilitation claims.
Laura Pait, RHIA, CCS – Senior Manager, Revenue Integrity Solutions, Dixon Hughes
PLLC Healthcare Consulting Group. Active membership with AHIMA and HFMA.
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Larry Bradley:
Forty-one Years of
Revenue Cycle Experience
A nostalgic look back at one Georgia HFMA
members past as he arrives at his future
Today that position would probably be called PFS Director or VP,
Revenue Cycle. The next twelve (12) years at St. Mary’s saw
many changes – we moved into the automation era by installing
an 8 K IBM System 3 computer to replace the Pitney Bowes
Posting Machine. What was really amazing was that this computer was attached to a “line” printer that would print an astonishing 100 lines per minute. Not even the new IBM Selectric
typewriters were capable of such output. This time saw the
growth of Medicare and Medicaid with Medicare reimbursement
going from cost plus 2% to cost plus 1% to the introduction of
something called DRGs. Everyone in hospital patient accounts
was thrilled with the advent of the UB82. Finally, a single claim
form for all payers.
■ Richard Petty wins NASCAR Championship.
■ Lester Maddox was sworn in as governor of Georgia.
■ Tenet Healthcare was founded.
■ Haight Ashbury Free Clinic opens with the slogan “Health Care
is a Right, Not a Privilege.”.
■ A career in the revenue cycle industry begins for me.
My career in the revenue cycle industry actually began in 1967
as I accepted a position as Loan Adjuster at C&S National
bank in Athens, Georgia. For those too young to recognize
C&S, this bank later became Bank of America. For those who
don’t recognize the title of Loan Adjuster, it means “collector”.
Yes, I began this career by visiting debtors at their home or
place of employment, assisting them by taking their payment
to the bank or relieving them of the burden of an automobile
or furniture which may have been used as collateral for a loan.
My first of three CFOs at St. Mary’s was on the Board of Directors
of the Georgia Chapter Hospital Financial Management
Association. He was very supportive of my participation in this
group which would later change its name to Healthcare Financial
Management Association. The first Chapter Institute I attended
was in 1971 at the Holiday Inn at Callaway Gardens in Pine
Mountain, Georgia. I arrived Wednesday evening prior to the
Thursday official start of the Institute. There was a sign at the
hotel registration desk inviting all HFMA attendees to a Welcome
Reception in the President’s suite. What a tremendous introduction to HFMA! Ann Longshore, Chapter President, was hosting
the reception in her suite (living room attached to her hotel room).
She had stopped on the way and bought beverages and snacks.
Ann took a personal interest in everyone who attended and made
sure that new members like me were introduced to everyone and
made to feel welcome. Over the next few years I had the privilege
of meeting and getting to know many healthcare financial giants.
A new friendship circle had begun. A list of names too long to
even start became my mentors, advisors, and true friends.
■ Willie Mays was named Player of the Decade.
■ Nebraska wins college football national championship.
■ AHA President Mark Berke predicted the country would have a
national health insurance program by the mid 1970s.
■ Nurses at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane were sporting a new
look – pantsuits.
■ Economic Stabilization Act of 1970 was passed implementing
mandatory price controls.
■ A career in the healthcare revenue cycle industry begins for me.
In July of 1970, Ray Stevens, CFO of St. Mary’s Hospital in
Athens Georgia, offered me a position as a Financial Counselor.
That title actually meant telephone collector. I accepted this
position, to the chagrin of my father who wondered aloud why
his son would go from the prestige of a bank to working for a
hospital. Within a few months I had assumed the position of
Business Office Manager and then of Patient Accounts Manager.
With a small increase in pay, I now had the responsibility for the
Business Office, Admitting, and Emergency Room Registration.
GA Chapter HFMA •
By Larry Bradley
My third CFO at St. Mary’s was Dennis Crum. Dennis was a
young professional recruited by St. Mary’s from Blue Cross of
Virginia. Once I had “trained him”, I realized that even though
Dennis was much younger than I there was much I could learn
from him. Dennis also saw the benefits in HFMA, encouraged me
and supported me as I began climbing the ladder of Chapter Board
member and officer. In 1982, greener pastures called and, during
Summer 2008
my HFMA year of President-Elect, I accepted a position with
Hutcheson Tri-County Hospital. The following year I became the
third person to be installed as President of the Georgia Chapter
HFMA while employed by this hospital, following in the footsteps
of Dan Barker (later of Crawford Long and Emory fame) and Bob
Jones (later best known at GHA). It is amazing how I became an
“expert” on all healthcare financial matters during my time as a
Chapter officer and particularly during my year as President.
People from all types of organizations called on me for my advice
and knowledge. Various vendors explained that they thought so
much of me now, they would offer major deals to be able to have
the Georgia Chapter president as a client. Later in my career as I
became one of “them”, I realized that while I may have lost some
of my knowledge, the new officers had certainly gained theirs.
Already this year,
■ Eli Manning was awarded the Super Bowl MVP.
■ The LSU Tigers won the college football championship.
■ Fidel Castro resigned as President of Cuba.
■ In August, the Democratic Party will nominate for the President
of the United States, for the first time, either a woman or a person of color.
■ Also in August, I will retire from my position at NCO Financial
It has been a long road but one with great experiences. I am thankful for all the people I have come in contact with through the years.
Perhaps we will have other opportunities together.
Since becoming a Past President of the Chapter, I have worked in
two large teaching facilities, worked with a large healthcare software firm, consulted with healthcare facilities in Louisiana, Florida,
and Pennsylvania, and currently serve as Vice President of
Operations for a large accounts receivable management firm. It is
now 2008.
GA Chapter HFMA •
Larry Bradley
Summer 2008
Larry Bradley, Georgia HFMA Past President, and Vice President of
NCO Financial Systems, Inc., will retire August 1, 2008. Larry has been
in Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management for 38 years (even before, it
was called Revenue Cycle Management). Larry has many friends in this
chapter and he will be missed, but not forgotten.
chapter chatter
Diana Lindsey has assumed Larry’s duties at NCO as General Manager,
Extended Office Services for the NCO Revenue Cycle Management
Center in Norcross, Georgia.
It is Summer! Which means it is time for the Georgia Chapter’s
Summer Institute. The Institute will be in Hilton Head, July 23-25,
2008. This year will be the first meeting at the Marriott Hilton Head
Resort. We hope you will plan to attend this educational and networking opportunity.
Pam Harper, formerly of OSI Healthcare Services, joins NCO to be part
of the Southeast Region. Pam serves on the Board of Directors for the
Tennessee Chapter of HFMA.
The passing of the 2007-2008 year was celebrated as the 2008-2009
began at the Spring Institute in Callaway Gardens on Thursday, May
8, 2008. It was another monumental year for the Georgia Chapter
under the leadership of Teresa Singley and expectations are high for
another phenomenal year under the leadership of Susan Clark.
Brooke Rogers, daughter of Karen Newton, Client A. Harkins, PC, will
graduate from Michael Coles Business School at Kennesaw State with a
Business Degree in Management.
According to Gail Scarboro-Hritz, Hritz-Noon Associates, LLC, grandson Aiden has already named his soon to be born baby sister, Olivia.
2007-2008 Awards
Best Georgia Scroll Article was awarded to Elizabeth Richards
Janie Coxwell, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and the co-chair of
the CPAR Committee, had a grandson graduate from Sherwood
Christian School in Albany, Georgia on May 16. He received a scholarship from LaGrange College in football.
Georgia Scroll Contributor of the Year was awarded to Pat Tewalt
OJ Booker Scholarship was awarded to Alexa Dougherty
Ann P. Longshore Distinguished Service Award was awarded to Jonathan
Eric Bergeon, ExecHealth, Inc., dog of 15 years, Budde, died on May 9.
Eric and his family spread Budde’s ashes at Lake Lanier, since he loved
being on the boat every summer.
Ann P. Longshore Distinguished Service Award Runner Up was awarded
to Pat Tewalt
Sister Rose Margaret Schweers Most Valuable Member was awarded to
Kimberly Farmer
BEWARE! The Georgia HFMA Chapter President, Susan Clark, is officially a black belt in Karate!
Sister Rose Margaret Schweers Most Valuable Member First Runner Up
was awarded to Cathy Dougherty
Donna Casey, Floyd Medical Center, is going to be a grandmother for a
second time! Donnas’ son and his wife are expecting their first baby in
October. It is a girl!
Sister Rose Margaret Schweers Most Valuable Member Second Runner
Up was awarded to Russell Moore
Most Valuable New Member was awarded to Elizabeth Richards
Alice Childs, Dixon Hughes, tells us that Dixon Hughes has two new
additions to their Georgia Team. Robert “Robb” Hawes as an audit
manager, and Amy Harrison as a senior audit associate. We hope to see
them at HFMA soon!
Charles H. Anderson President’s Award was awarded to Jim Piper and
Karen Newton
The annual sporting events where held after the TEAMS meeting on
Wednesday and the winner are as follows:
1st Place Low Gross: Rob Kream, Terry Brown, Larry Kloock
1st Place Low Net: Jonathan Skaggs, Nate Dondanville, Eric Bergeon
2nd Place Low Net: Diana Lindsey, Larry Bradley, Doyle Spears,
Jim Harris
Women’s Closest to the Pin: Diana Lindsey
Men’s Closest to the Pin: Jon Buffa
Men’s Longest Drive: Jim Harris
Women’s Longest Drive: Judy Richards
Shirley Carmichael, Emory Healthcare, and her daughter Patty have
had a very big adventure! She and Patty were in Singapore, Indonesia,
Thailand and Malaysia and while they were close to the cyclone in
Burma and the earthquake in China, they were not involved. They
were in Bangkok, Thailand and the news said that the earthquake was
felt there, but they were not aware of it. They had an interesting and
adventurous trip, even though Shirley was very sick with a flu like illness for 10 days. She swore it was bird flu, but says she didn’t die so it
must have been something else. Shirley reports: “There were parts of it
that were really fun and other parts I don’t think we would like to repeat
for instance the bus trip from Malacca, Malaysia to Singapore. If I tell
you everything about the now infamous bus trip from Malacca, (all we
were missing were the chickens) it would take the entire Scroll. But the
bus accident was interesting <smile> and you might wonder how we
managed to turn a 3 hour trip into 8 hours.” On your next trip to Asia,
I would recommend skipping the bus trip to Malacca.
Skeet and Trap Shooting:
Top Male: Henry Ostaszewski
Top Female: Kimberly Farmer
Biggest Bream: Jim Piper
1st Place – Most Fish: Jim Piper
2nd Place-Most Fish: Lee Evins
3rd Place-Most Fish: Pearson Talbert
And the “Traveling Trophy” the giant stuffed bass pillow went to Lee Evins
for winning the biggest or most bass prize this year.
Pat Tewalt, Blackstone Resources broke her foot and a toe the end of April;
she was not a happy camper! Her grandson, Chase Baylor, graduated from
South Forsyth High School and is on the Honor Roll. He will attend GCSU
in Milledgeville this fall. Pat was VERY young when he was born! Putting
aside how she broke her foot, Chase gets his brains from her.
Chapter Chatter is written by Pat Tewalt, Blackstone Resources.
Please send your “Chatter” to Pat at [email protected]
Kay Stanley and her husband will celebrate 46 years of wedded bliss
August 31! Kay also celebrates 20 years with the Coker Group, July 1.
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
welcome new members
New members to the
Georgia Chapter are an
important part of the
Chapter’s continued
success. Please take a
moment to contact our new
members, welcome them,
and share your experience
with Georgia HFMA. Let
them know that we value
their membership and
encourage them to become
active in TEAMs.
Continue to help make
HFMA the largest and most
extensive healthcare
financial management
network anywhere. Georgia
HFMA has over 50 years of
sharing opportunities and
experience with its
New Members Enrolled
between April 16, 2008 –
May 22, 2008
Lisa Bruner
Revenue Analyst
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
[email protected]
Kim Hounshell
Director - PFS
[email protected]
Gregory Faison
Healthcare Consultant
[email protected]
Nikki Porter
Manager Compliance 360
[email protected]
Grant Stewart
Revenue Accounting Manager
Regency Hospital Company
[email protected]
Rachael DiPiazza
Director of Finance/Controller
Resurgence Health Group
[email protected]
Lonnie Johns
Student - Intern
[email protected]
Sheila Bolduc
Director, Sales Operations
Cigna Healthcare
[email protected]
Bruce Haupt
National Vice President
[email protected]
Sara Kay Wheeler
King & Spalding
[email protected]
Florence Davis
Director Patient Access
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
[email protected]
Edward Alvarez
Clinical Business Manager
St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System
[email protected]
James Dennard, Jr
Assistant Administrator
Gwinnett Medical Center - Duluth
[email protected]
Brent Southall
[email protected]
Marc Cohen
Director of Marketing
[email protected]
Carol Romashko
Director of Marketing
[email protected]
Gina Hargrove
Patient Services Coordinator
Northside Hospital
[email protected]
Glenda Hutchison
Medical Records Coder
Emory University
[email protected]
Nicole Riley
Eligibility Specialist
[email protected]
GA Chapter HFMA • www.georgiahfma.orgg
Summer 2008
Managing Mailing Costs is
an Activity That Goes Straight
to Your Bottom Line
In May, business mailers were impacted by yet another increase in
postal costs. In a time when business mailers are trying to lower
operating costs while still meeting consumer demand, there are
continual challenges with annual print mail rate increases. Even
though there has been some relief with the Postal Reform, which
mandates the USPS replace the previous and somewhat erratic system of setting rates for business mailers with something more predictable, high volume business mailers are still facing higher and
unexpected postage costs.
(CASS) software to validate, correct, and standardize addresses. If
CASS does not recognize a mail piece, it will not qualify for presort
discounts and will instead be mailed at full rate (42 cents instead of
the approximate automated discount rate of 33 cents).
Then verify those addresses again: According to the USPS,
there are 145 million confirmed mail delivery points in the United
States today. “Cycle L,” which began on August 1, 2007, requires
mailing lists to be run through DPV (Delivery Point Verification)
processing. DPV takes the CASS™ system one step further by comparing your mailing list to the USPS’s own list of known addresses
and verifying whether or not a CASS™-certified Zip+4 address is one
of these confirmed delivery points. For example, a Zip+4 Code
might cover an area with addresses from 100 Main Street to 300
Main Street. Typically, addresses would run 100 Main Street, 102
Main Street, 104 Main Street, and so on. However, if 104 Main
Street is an empty lot, this is not a valid delivery point and DPV
would mark it “N” for “invalid”—and a First-Class rate applies. DPV
confirms all primary number addresses, so addresses missing a secondary number—like a suite or apartment number—remain acceptable, along with addresses that have a secondary number that hasn’t
yet been confirmed by the USPS. While DPV can’t correct an invalid
address, by identifying these addresses you can eliminate them.
Based on the new law enacted in December 2006, the CPI Rate
Cap is 2.9 percent. For all classes of mail the average rate increase
is not supposed to exceed this percentage. On May 12 of this year,
the single piece stamp rate went from to 41 to 42 cents, setting
prices up 2.44 percent, which is .46 percent under the CPI Cap.
However, for business mailers who provide the largest volume of
automated bar-coded three and five digit mail, the rates will
increase by 3.59 and 3.85 percent—which is .69 percent and .95
percent more than the CPI. This turns a “minor” rate increase to a
major one for business mailers.
Refresher tips for driving down postage costs
The fact is that for companies mailing high volumes of bills the
financial impact will be significant, making it critical to explore and
use every avenue possible to offset these costs. If you haven’t already
done so, here are some immediate actions a business can take:
Keep your mailings letter-size: Automation is key for achieving
postal savings. While First Class Mail letters containing odd-shaped
items are mailable, they will be charged the “non-machinable surcharge”—$0.055 for pieces mailed at presorted and automation
rates—in addition to postage if they weigh one ounce or less. What’s
more, the non-machinable surcharge will also apply to flat and parcel mail weighing one ounce or less. Converting flat mail to folded
will help you to save money.
Follow USPS pre-sort rules: Properly preparing and presorting
mail will earn significant USPS discounts. Leverage these discounts
aggressively by making sure mail is segmented to reach the critical
volumes per zip code needed to qualify for the highest discount rates.
To qualify for these rates you must print a delivery point barcode on
each mail piece and commingle the mail for concentrated volume to
geographical areas.
Continue to explore electronic options: Electronic bill presentment is another way to sidestep the postal rate increases.
Though reports by the USPS show that more than 70 percent of people still prefer to receive their statements through the mail, converting just 10 to 20 percent of existing customers to electronic bill
receipt corresponds to a significant cost savings and is worth the
Verify addresses: Nearly one-fourth of all mail that goes through
the USPS contains some simple error such as misspelled street
names and improper abbreviations, which can result in significant
postage cost increases. If a mail piece cannot be delivered (e.g.,
“undeliverable-as-addressed” or UAA), the cost to correct the piece
can be up to 70 cents. A number of tools in the marketplace are
designed to identify undeliverable addresses and link old addresses to
new move addresses, including Coding Accuracy Support System
GA Chapter HFMA •
By Harry Stephens
An opportunity to improve
Over the last few years, the cost of postage has been rising gradually
Summer 2008
and this trend shows no sign of slowing. While no one likes to see a
rate increase at any time, the silver lining may be an increased focus
on print/mail production within your company and better efficiencies
within the USPS. By keeping current with changing regulations and
available technology that supports them, business mailers can take
advantage of savings that go straight to the bottom line.
3rd Annual Georgia
Healthcare Trade Faire &
Regional Conference
Sponsored by HIMSS Georgia Chapter in partnership with
Georgia Hospital Association and Georgia Chapter HFMA
Harry Stephens is President/CEO, and founder of DATAMATX.
For more information about DATAMATX, visit
College Park, GA
Thursday, September 25th
7:30a.m. – 3:15p.m.
For more information please go to:
GHFMA members who work at a hospital, health system, or similar
provider or payor organization, may attend complimentary by registering at
Choose option #1 or #2. Parking will also be paid for the day.
GHFMA members that work for consultant companies or who work for
a solution provider company may attend at a reduced price. If any
want to attend, use option # 3 in the link above.
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Certification Is
All About You!
By Gail Scarboro-Hritz & Barbara Noon
You must meet the following conditions to apply for the Fellow of
the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA) designation.
Attaining Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) and
Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association
(FHFMA) will distinguish you in your industry. Most healthcare
organizations clearly prefer to interview HFMA certified candidates
when they have positions open in various areas of financial management. In some cases, certification is a condition of employment;
and, in any case, certification typically sets you apart and above other
qualified candidates.
■ Five years total as a regular or advanced HFMA member
■ Bachelor degree or 120 semester hours from an accredited college
or university
■ Reference from an HFMA Fellow or current elected chapter officer
■ Volunteer activity in healthcare finance within three years prior to
applying for FHFMA, including one of the following:
Join the Core Study Buddies to support you in preparing to take and
pass the CORE exam, one of the basic requirements in the steps to
your CHFP certification. The Core Study Buddies is comprised of a
group of Georgia Chapter HFMA members who meet monthly at
Emory Crawford Long Hospital to study specific chapters of the
CORE study guide. Between study sessions, the members study
assigned materials and are tested on the material at the next Core
Study Buddies session. All HFMA Georgia Chapter members are
welcome to join the Core Study Buddies
• Earn the Follmer Bronze Award
• Volunteer in the chapter and earn two Founders points (under
current system) for two consecutive years
• Volunteer service for two years in a healthcare industry organization within the past three years
• Submission of conforming application with one-time fee
You maintain both CHFP and FHFMA status by earning 90 professional development contact hours every 3 years and retaining HFMA
membership. You must report all such professional development
contact hours, except those maintained by National HFMA, on the
National HFMA web site.
Gail Scarboro-Hritz, Chairperson for National Certification for the
Georgia Chapter of HFMA is the facilitator for the Core Study
Buddies. An email notification is sent each month to remind
Georgia Chapter members of the date, time and location for the next
Core Study Buddies session.
Certification coaching sessions are also conducted at each HFMA
Georgia Chapter Institute. For more information about certification,
please contact the Chairperson or Co-chairperson for the
Certification Team.
Details about certification may be reviewed by going to and clicking on the “certification” button on the left
side of the page. You must meet the following conditions apply for
the CHFP:
■ Two years total as a regular HFMA member
Gail Scarboro-Hritz at (404) 274 – 6201 or
■ Two years of professional experience in the healthcare finance
[email protected]
■ Sixty semester hours of college coursework from accredited institution or sixty professional development contact hours
Barbara Noon at (404) 316 – 2252 or
[email protected]
■ Successful completion of the HFMA Core certification exam
■ Successful completion of one HFMA specialty certification exam
(Specialty exams include: Accounting & Finance, Financial
Management of Physician Practices, Managed Care, and Patient
Financial Services)
■ References from a current elected chapter officer and your CEO or
■ Submission of conforming application with one-time fee within
24 months of successfully completing the first exam
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Point of Service
Collections is Critical
to the Revenue Cycle
By Ann Chandler
With the struggling economy, higher living expenses, higher unemployment and a higher number of uninsured patients there are
more sources competing for your patient’s dollar making point of
service collections more important today than it has ever been.
Although collecting patient liability may be more difficult, collecting patient liability at the point of service is critical to the revenue
cycle. A strong consistent point of service collection program
results in lower self-pay accounts receivable, reduction in bad debt,
reduction in collection expenses and improved customer service.
them. Clinical staff must know that they play a vital role in ensuring patients are directed to a discharge area for the financial discussion. Administration must support the process if clinical staff
balks at directing or escorting patients or becomes slack in directing
or escorting patients.
Many people are uncomfortable with asking for money. Assume
your staff is and train them to do so. Develop scripting to ensure
they are asking in such a way that opens the door to financial discussions.
Healthcare consumers today are becoming more informed consumers. Medical savings plans and higher patient liability have
forced many patients to shop for services. They want to know how
much the service will cost prior to the service. Asking the patient
for their out-of-pocket expenses opens the door to discussions
about payment expectations and patient needs. Workable payment
plans and financial need can be resolved prior to service.
Ideally, the entire estimated patient liability should be requested.
Hospitals are challenged with estimating prices and calculating
patient liability. Technology can be purchased and tools can be
developed to assist with estimating prices and calculating patient
liability. But, don’t wait for the tools to get started. Train staff to
ask for co-payments and deposits, ensure you have administration
and clinical buy-in and open the door to point of service collections
and financial discussions at the time of service. The goal is to
know how the patient liability will be resolved prior to final billing.
Buy-in from Patient Access Staff, Administration and Clinical Staff
is critical to the success of point of service collections. Patient
Access Staff must understand the importance of what you’re asking
them to do and how it fits into the overall revenue cycle and key
performance indicators. They must know that it’s expected of
Ann Chandler, Senior Project Architect,
Zimmerman, LLC
The Downside of Credit Scoring
By Elaine Dixon & Earl Winter
With more and more patients entering the healthcare
system as self-pay patients, healthcare providers are facing the increasing challenge of collecting payments
directly from the individual patient. Historically,
providers have dealt primarily with insurance companies
and government programs such as Medicare to arrange
for payment. Recently, however, individual patients,
including insured patients, have assumed significant
responsibility for paying for care.
deductibles for insured patients and the full medical bill
for uninsured patients. With the recent shift to consumer-driven healthcare plans and health savings
accounts (HSAs), which carry significantly higher co-pays
and deductibles than traditional insurance plans, a
greater portion of self-pay accounts are derived from
insured patients. Additionally, an increasing number of
individuals with the financial capacity to purchase health
insurance are opting to “go bare” or without insurance.
Self-pay is the portion of the medical bill for which the
patient is responsible. This includes co-pays and
All these trends are having a dramatic effect on healthcare providers’ bottom lines: American hospitals face $40
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
billion in unpaid bills every year and 47 million
Americans did not have health insurance last year.
Many providers look to self-pay patients’ credit scores to
assess their ability to pay. According to
“Since the invention of the credit score in the 1980s, risk
scoring has become a valuable tool in many industries.
Auto insurers have created their own scoring system, for
example. Many websites buy software that assesses the
risk that any individual credit card purchase may be
fraudulent. Meanwhile, Fair Isaac’s core business of selling credit scores to lenders has recently become a more
crowded field. Some banks now use their own formulas
to generate risk scores, and the nation’s three main credit
bureaus have developed their own scoring formula.
Scoring risk in the health care industry could be a valuable business, given the rising rate of unpaid bills.”
As more consumers become aware of the security freeze
option and utilize it in order to avoid identity theft,
healthcare providers will have an increasingly difficult
time obtaining a self-pay patient’s credit score. Simply
put, while these freezes can help to stop identity theft,
they limit a hospital’s capacity to determine someone’s
ability to pay for medical services. A more complete,
accurate, and available method is required.
Healthcare providers can run into problems obtaining
someone’s credit score due to rules set forth in the Fair
Credit Reporting Act. Section 604 of the Act states that a
consumer reporting agency can provide a report only
when a patient or guarantor has initiated the request
(unless the requestor is offering credit or insurance). For
healthcare providers, the only way that request can happen is with a signed document. Without a signed document from a patient, healthcare providers can receive
only minimal information (e.g., consumers’ names and
addresses) from a reporting agency. This type of legislation hinders a hospital’s access to determine a patient’s
ability to pay if the hospital is relying solely on a credit
Simply using a credit score to determine a patient’s ability to pay, however, does not give a healthcare provider a
complete or totally accurate picture. For example, hospitals and other caregivers already can already access credit
scores, but credit scoring is not necessarily a good indication of whether a patient will pay a medical bill. Credit
scores are based on voluntary purchases, such as a car,
where as health care debt is largely involuntary. Other
limitations, such as security freezes and state and federal
legislation are causing healthcare providers to look at
other means of determining ability to pay.
As the number of self-pay patients’ increase, healthcare
providers will need to look for readily available methods
that provide a complete and accurate picture of these
patients’ ability to pay for services. Relying on a credit
score alone presents a provider with various problems
due to recent legislative trends. Implementing a self-pay
management system that can better determine a patient’s
ability to pay is critical for healthcare providers that want
to effectively manage self-pay accounts.
State laws mandating credit security freezes have become
increasingly common in recent years, as legislatures
respond to consumers’ demands for identity theft protection and other forms of fraud. What exactly is a security
freeze? According to the Web site
“Placing a ‘security freeze’ on [an individual’s] credit files
blocks lender access to a consumer’s credit file, preventing new lines of credit from being opened in the consumer’s name. The consumer is later able to temporarily
or permanently remove the credit freeze using a PIN
number when access to credit is needed. Freezing and
thawing credit has no impact on a consumer’s credit
A self-pay management system should move beyond
obtaining a credit score to establishing an economic profile of the patient via the assimilation of demographic
data. For instance, the demographic data used for patient
evaluation could include publicly available information,
such as a patient’s household income, real estate value,
number of people in the household, homeowner versus
renter status, and other data. According to one healthcare
executive: “We do not use a credit score to determine an
individual’s ability to pay simply because our system’s
algorithm can be more accurate and does not hold the
liability that goes along with obtaining credit scores.”
As of November 1, 2007, all three of the nation’s major
credit bureaus allow consumers the freeze option, after
39 states and the District of Columbia passed laws
requiring it. TransUnion made security freezes available
to all consumers October 15; Equifax and Experian followed suit on October 31 and November 1. Their actions
should swell the number of people using freezes.
According to the Consumer Data Industry Association, a
trade group that represents the three credit bureaus,
50,000 to 70,000 consumers currently use credit freezes.
GA Chapter HFMA •
Elaine Dixon, Director Patient Business Services, Rockdale Medical Center
Earl Winters, CEO, nTelagent, Inc.
Summer 2008
■ Four complimentary Institute registrations per year
■ Eight free guest tickets per year for use at any Institute
■ 50% Reduction in Exibitor Fees with preferred booth
assignments at the Vendor Fair hosted by Georgia
■ Recognition on the Georgia Website with a link to the
Sponsor’s Home Page
■ Recognition of sponsors’ name on the Georgia
registration bags provided at each of the Institutes
$4,500 Gold Member
■ Recognition of sponsors’ products and services
through literature distribution at each of the Institutes
We cordially invite you to contribute to our Chapter.
Sponsorship is limited and this will be your only
opportunity for pledging support during this coming
■ Recognition in all Georgia SCROLL issues
■ Recognition at all Institutes
■ Recognition plaque
■ Easy access to on-line resource guide
■ Two complimentary Institute registrations per year
■ Four free guest tickets per year for use at any Institute
■ 25% Reduction in Exibitor Fees with preferred booth
assignments at the Vendor Fair hosted by Georgia
■ Recognition on the Georgia Website with a link to the
Sponsor’s Home Page
■ Recognition of sponsors’ products & services through
literature distribution at each of the Institutes
■ Recognition in the Annual Membership Directory
■ Recognition in all Georgia SCROLL issues
■ Recognition at all Institutes
To make your commitment, please log onto for online
sponsorship registration or for a pdf of the invitation.
Should you need more information, please contact
Cynamin Kinard at
[email protected] or at (678)4425635.
■ Recognition plaque
Thank you for your continued support of the Georgia
Chapter of HFMA.
■ Recognition in the Annual Membership Directory
■ Recognition at all Institutes
GA Chapter HFMA •
$2,500 Silver Member
In an attempt to recognize our contributors in a special way, the Georgia Chapter of HFMA has created
Invitation for participation begins May 1st.
Contributions are due June 2008 for sponsorship
beginning with the Summer Institute 2008 and ending with Spring Institute 2009.
■ Recognition in the Annual Membership Directory
■ Easy access to on-line resource guide
■ One free guest ticket per year for use at any Institute
■ Recognition on the Georgia Website with a link to the
Sponsor’s Home Page
■ Recognition in all Georgia SCROLL issues
■ Recognition plaque
$1,000 Bronze Member
The Georgia Chapter of HFMA has achieved what
few other Chapters ever realize. One of the factors
elevating our Chapter in awards and recognition is
the large amount of support we receive from healthcare-related companies. Your contributions have
enabled our award winning Chapter to excel in
many areas of membership services, including superior education programming. Your continued support
is vital to the Chapter.
■ Recognition of sponsor through distribution of sponsor
provided tokens at Spring Institute sporting events
Summer 2008
2008 - 2009
georgia hfma coporate sponsors
Chamberlin Edmonds
Deloitte Consulting
Dixon-Hughes, PLLC
Draffin & Tucker, LLP
Healthcare Receivables
Professionals, Inc.
Hollis Cobb Associates, Inc.
HSI Financial Services, Inc.
MedAssist, Inc.
Pershing Yoaley & Associates
PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
RelayHealth - a McKesson company
Apollo Health Street
Blackstone Resources
Bottom Line Systems, Inc.
CareMedic Systems, Inc.
Clark, Mascaro & Aziz, PC
Collection Choice Corporation
Emdeon Business Services
ExecuHealth, Inc.
Franklin Collection Service, Inc.
Hritz Noon Associates, LLC
Professional Medical Services
Receivables Management Bureau, Inc.
Siemens Medical Solutions
The Law Office of Carmen Porreca
TPL Company
Accounts Receivables Collections, Inc.
Accuro Healthcare Solutions
AMCOL Systems, Inc.
Bank of America, N.A.
Cherry, Bekaert & Holland
Commerce Bank
Contract Callers, Inc.
Credit Bureau Associates
Data Integration, Inc.
Diversified Account Systems
DST Technologies, Inc.
Georgia Hospital Health Services, Inc.
Healthcare Insurance Resources
King & Spalding
MD-X Solutions
MedAssist, Inc.
Medical Data Systems, Inc,
Ontario Systems
Passport Health
Perot Systems Healthcare
Prestige Staffing
RGL Associates, Inc.
The Coker Group
Triage Consulting
Colquitt Regional Medical Center
Floyd Medical Center
Gwinnett Medical Center
Northside Hospital
Piedmont Healthcare
We would like to thank all of our Corporate Sponsors for making a financial commitment to our Chapter, and we ask that all members make a special effort
to thank them for their continued support and include them in the RFP process when applicable.
Many thanks to the organizations that have committed to support the Georgia Chapter of HFMA in the 2008-2009 Corporate Sponsorship Program.
This list includes all companies/providers who have committed to participating in the 2008-2009 Corporate Sponsorhsip Program as of May 23, 2008.
Anyone interested in renewing or becoming a Sponsor for the Georgia Chapter should contact
Cynamin Kinard at (678) 312-5635 or by email at [email protected]
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Creating a Fun Workplace...
13 Ways to Have
Fun at Work!
By Jody Urquhart
Creating a Fun Workplace: When Hokey Pokey Is “What It’s All About”
When something funny happens
do people stop and appreciate it?
There are three ways to motivate people to work harder, faster and
1. Threaten them.
Does your organization have fun activities at least monthly?
❑ NO
2. Pay them lots of money.
3. Make their work fun.
Do you have tools (fun giveaways, draws) to invite patients to participate in having fun in your environment?
❑ NO
In today’s workplace, threatening people has not been effective.
Paying them lots of money (even if you can afford it) has only
shown short-term success. Only number three, making their workplace enjoyable, has a track record of effecting real change. It is
time managers learned how to create an atmosphere that is challenging, creative, and fun for employees as well as for themselves.
Are managers usually optimistic and smiling at work?
❑ NO
If you answer no to two or more of these questions, your staff probably suffers from “terminal seriousness,” which is negatively affecting morale and productivity.
Imagine a work world where people love their work environment
and they are calm, stress-free, and happy all day long. People who
are in good spirits are more likely to be productive. Their mental
attitude produces increased oxygen, endorphins, and blood flow to
the brain, which enables them to think more clearly and creatively.
They are more relaxed, more accepting of others, and more likely to
share their sense of humor.
More Benefits of Humor in the Workplace
Dr. Norman Cousins said, “Laughter is an igniter of great expectations.” Children laugh an average of 400 times a day and that
number drops to only 15 times a day by the time people reach age
35. Preschoolers must know something we do not. Laughter releases endorphins (a chemical 10 times more powerful than the painrelieving drug morphine) into the body with the same exhilarating
effect as doing strenuous exercise. Laughing increases oxygen
intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. It also increases
the pain threshold, boosts immunity, and relieves stress.
Laughter creates a bond that brings others together; people like to
be with employees who are having fun. Creativity, intuition, and
flexibility are key to successful operation of organizations today. In
stimulating environments, employees enjoy their time at work and
they will excel at work. Attracting customers is easier in an environment of hospitality. A fun workplace is not only more productive, but it attracts people and profits.
Humor also levels the playing field to create an atmosphere that
encourages honest dialogue, open communication, and increased
risk-taking. Creating more equality in power or control shows people respect and builds pride in their work.
This is just a sampling of the benefits of having fun in your workplace. Hopefully now you are convinced you could use a “fun injection” in your own place of employment.
Scan your workplace and take note:
Help people belong to your organization and not just work there by
giving them a way to solidify and build rapport.
Do you regularly catch people laughing or smiling at work?
❑ NO
GA Chapter HFMA •
❑ NO
Summer 2008
a moment to give employees and customers an opportunity to
see the fun in the event.
1. Give up the notion that professionalism means being
serious all the time.
It’s possible to take yourself lightly and still be competent and
productive. Start to promote the benefits of humor at work.
10. Commit to being fun and it will change your
approach to work.
Start slowly with a few activities and communicate your desire
to create a more relaxed workplace. Don’t expect things to turn
around overnight.
2. Define what fun is in your workplace and what it is not..
(e.g. harmful humor, off-color jokes, sexual humor, humor tarnishing the organization)
11. Put fun things and activities in the staff room.
This allows people to take their mind off the seriousness of
work for a short period, so they come back to work with a more
positive and balanced perspective.
3. Organize a “Fun Committee” for dreaming up fun
“stuff” to do during and after work.
4. Add fun to meetings.
■ Bring in fun things such as Nerf balls, a basketball and hoop,
or party blowers.
12. Encourage staff to leave work behind at the end of
the day.
Employees should not be so consumed with work that it affects
their family life and leisure activities. Find fun ways for
employees to “unload” at the end of the day or week. Create a
ritual like writing a “to do” list and posting it on the board. By
doing this, you commit to not thinking about the things on the
list until the next day.
■ Start a meeting with a humorous story or joke.
5. Collect and share your favorite cartoons and jokes.
Create a Joke Board or a Humor Newsletter. Look for tools to
disseminate fun and funny things daily.
13. Encourage employees to develop their own style of
having fun.
A nurse anesthetist at a hospital in Michigan often sings to his
patients to help them relax prior to surgery. Patients have
appreciated this so much that they have told family and friends
about the experience. It is not uncommon now for the hospital
staff to get requests for “The Singing Anesthesiologist” when
they are scheduling their surgery.
6. Let customers know you are a fun company.
Do something just for fun (organize fun customer events, dress
for fun, share funny things with customers) and give employees
tools to create a fun relationship with customers (stickers, candy
for children, dog biscuits for dogs, humorous buttons with the
company logo). This makes work more fun for employees and it
strengthens the relationship with customers. Dick Snow of Ben
and Jerry’s Ice Cream says, “We believe that we’re in the entertainment business and selling ice cream is just a part of what we
do. In our stores the counter is our stage and the customers are
our audience.” Disneyland has the same kind of approach.
Employees are part of an entertainment experience, and they
aren’t just doing a job.
Remember that employees create fun in the workplace, not managers. It’s a manager’s job to orchestrate fun activities (and not get
in the way of them).
Jody Urquhart helps professionals create meaningful and
fun work environments. For more information call us
at (877) 750-1900 or see our website at
7. Gather your co-workers for the “Joy of Work” hour.
Everyone must talk about something good at work. Take turns
telling stories about the things that make work a joy. Each person should contribute ideas on how to make work more fun.
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8. Have a fun recognition program.
Fun is not a reward for performance, but can be a way to encourage employees to perform. For example, you could create
“games” out of productive activity...who can motivate the most
patients in a hospital to smile and say something funny to the
head nurse. Playful and goal-oriented fun is best.
9. Respond to fun when it happens.
Funny things occur all the time, but if you are obsessed with
left-brain analytical thought, you might find it hard to stop and
respond. Natural spontaneous humor is a blessing. Stop and take
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
UnitedHealthcare Administrative
Advisory Committee—A Channel
to Make Your Issues Known
By Susan Clark, CPA, FHFMA
■ New Welcome kit – what items should be included.
UnitedHealthcare has created an administrative advisory committee as a forum for information exchange between UnitedHealth
Group and the local medical community. The main purpose of the
committee is to get feedback from Physicians and Hospitals regarding administrative topics such as web portals, contracts, fee schedules, data, etc.
I want to solicit those of you in the provider community for input
on any items/comments/feedback on these types of issues so that I
may bring them before the committee. You can send your comments to me at [email protected] Please put
“UnitedHealthcare Committee” in the subject line.
As President of Georgia HFMA, I am invited to participate on this
committee. The committee meets quarterly to discuss issues and
ways that UnitedHealthcare can make improvements. Some items
discussed at our first meeting were:
■ Roll of Provider Advocates
■ Call center issues – for both Claim adjudication and pre-determination
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Outreach - Bridging the Gap in
Knowledge Among Today’s
Healthcare Leaders and the Healthcare
Leaders of Tomorrow
By Meghan Lynch
We talk about getting the most out of our HFMA experience; what
better way than to take advantage of two key components that has
led many of us to the organization: Education and Networking. As
an active member of the ’08 – ’09 Outreach TEAMS committee,
my team and I have directed our focus in two primary areas to
increase awareness of our organization. First, we are targeting the
student and alumni population within many Georgia Colleges and
Universities in order to attract new members of a younger generation. Our other initiative focuses on collaborating with professional
healthcare organizations to bring education and awareness to a new
level. Through collaboration, we as health care leaders can draw
attention to some of the most critical issues facing our health care
system and we can work together to find a solution.
bers. This provides the students with a new way to network among
industry professionals.
As one of the fastest growing industries, health care is an avenue
many students are now looking to become a part of. Simply put, as
baby boomers age, the need for medical care is becoming greater
and in turn, medical-related job opportunities have become seemingly endless. For someone just starting to enter the adult world,
that translates into financial security. Granted, financial success
may not be the only motivator for students to focus their studies
on the growing health care industry. Many people, myself included,
want to contribute to better health among our citizens but can’t
seem to stomach the sight of needles. For those of us involved in
the healthcare financial sector, we must realize that we too can
make a difference.
Topics recognized as shared concerns among the financial sector of
the industry are Point of Service Collections, Government
Reimbursement, and Bad Debt Collections. Georgia HFMA will be
collaborating with Georgia AAHAM (American Association of
Healthcare Administrative Management) on August 15, 2008, at
DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia, to co-sponsor an educational event targeted towards PFS professionals. The agenda
includes the aforementioned topics, among others. A few of the
speakers include our own Roxann Arnold, PFS Director of Emory
Crawford Long, who will address POS Collections and also Robert
Bolden, Director of Fiscal Services with GHA, who will discuss
RACs. Also on the agenda are topics related to Medicaid, EDI, and
Team-building efforts. As a call to action, we would like to invite
both new and existing members of both organizations to attend this
event. Together, we can proactively address these challenges and
influence one another to improve the financial performance of our
health care systems.
Another way we are looking to address the market is by reaching
out across all sectors of the industry. By tapping into those already
involved in other health care organizations, we can share ideas and
challenge one another to bring solutions to some of the most pressing concerns of today and tomorrow. By joining through co-sponsored educational events, we can share individual and unique perspectives related to our own business experiences. We can then
benchmark our operations against those representing best practice
standards. Recognizing that our health care systems are being
threatened we must be proactive in bringing solutions to the table.
By reaching out to the student and alumni population entering the
healthcare finance sector, we can raise awareness of the emerging
trends and issues that will affect this future generation of healthcare leaders. One way we are attempting to gain exposure is by the
use of technology. By creating a MySpace and Facebook page devoted to the Georgia Chapter of HFMA, we have found a new medium
to build awareness of the chapter and with hopes of attracting new
members. On these Internet pages, we have given an overview of
the organization, shared photos of our members and provided links
to the website to draw additional traffic. A work-in-progress, the
plan is to use these social networking sites to generate conversation
among members and students (i.e., potential members) and provide
real life, professional experiences in hopes of inspiring our youth.
Once completed, the pages will host a link to prospective job opportunities, educational events, and contact information for key mem
GA Chapter HFMA •
By bridging the gap in knowledge among healthcare leaders and the
future leaders of tomorrow, we can learn to become interdependent
on each other. What makes the Georgia Chapter of HFMA unique
is the people and their shared passion for being a part of this. As
we challenge our conventional systems of thought and adapt to the
changing needs of the health care industry, we can progressively
improve the quality of our organizational performance.
Meghan Lynch, Prestige Staffing, Outreach Committee
Chairperson, Student Partnering
Summer 2008
spring institute 2008
Paul Perrotti, Frank Powell
Rick Sheerin facilitate the
Financial Executives Roundta
Networking between
Jim Piper and Lamar
discuss important iss
They said there was
money under here
Jerry Bridge
helps everyon
reduce stress
Could Karen
Newton and Buford
Fuddwhacker be
the next
“Dancing with the
Stars” contestants?
Kay Stanley and
Elaine Dixon Leaders of the
Kazoo Band
Relaxing during a br
GA Chapter HFMA •
repares to
Jamie Luce p
conduct her
Summer 2008
spring institute 2008
Larry Kloock and Rob Kream give
Terry Brown a pat on the back
Eric Bergeon,
host another
great golf
tournament with
friends Nate
Dondanville &
Diana Lindsey
A little to the left, Le
Best Female
The SEC rivalary continues!
enjoys the
cookout at a
new location
Tiffany Dungan takes a shot in
skeet tournament
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
advertising in the Georgia Scroll
By advertising in the Georgia Scroll, you can reach over 2,000 healthcare professionals in various fields. If you have a product or service that you would like the healthcare financial industry to know about, please take advantage of this great opportunity.
The 2008-2009 Scroll is published as a print magazine distributed by mail, and it is also posted on the Georgia HFMA website at Having the Scroll available in hard copy and online on the Chapter website appeals to both readers who enjoy
reading hard copy material away from their desks and those who prefer reading on-line. As an advertiser, you can now enjoy double
exposure and extra benefit from your marketing dollar through the effective market penetration offered by the Scroll, capturing regional
and national audiences.
To place your ad, please contact the following Scroll TEAM members:
Alan Cobb at [email protected] or (678) 969-7800
Kimberly Farmer at [email protected] or (678) 662-4266
The Georgia Scroll reserves the right to refuse any ad inconsistent with the overall mission of the Georgia Chapter. Inclusion of an ad in
this news magazine does not infer endorsement by the Georgia Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
All ads submitted must be camera-ready. Payment should accompany the ad. Make checks payable to Georgia HFMA. and mail to:
Alan Cobb, Hollis Cobb Associates, 6621 Bay Circle, Suite 180, Norcross, GA 30071-1218
Deadlines are:
Fall 2008
September 5, 2008
Winter 2009
November 17, 2008
Spring 2009
March 16, 2009
Ad prices below are per issue. If an advertisement is purchased for 4 issues, the advertiser will receive a 10% discount, when paid in
full upfront.
Black & White
B&W + 1 color
4 color
Inside Cover
Back Cover
GA Chapter HFMA •
Quarter Page
Half Page
Full Page
additional $50
additional $50
Summer 2008
Revenue Cycle Managers
By Bonnie Breland
Employees are the most valuable asset you have in your organizations. The better educated they are, the more productive they are,
and the happier they are to be a part of your team. The proven path
for revenue cycle education in Georgia is the CPAR Program. Staff
members who are looking to improve their skill set or advance their
career continue to credit CPAR as a factor in their success.
Tips for initiating positive change:
Several years ago, past CPAR Chairpersons started planning to
move the CPAR Program to an online, web-based program. With
the rapid growth of technology today, that vision became a reality
last year in 2007-08. The on-line testing allows Georgia HFMA to
provide a longer testing cycle, more testing locations throughout
the state, and immediate test results at your fingertips.
CARE Information is only the first step. We must also learn to care
about the education and knowledge we have and help your fellow
peers to identify problems and how to handle those problems in
your facilities.
BE AWARE The first step towards becoming part of positive change
is to be aware of what is happening in the health care world. Learn
about issues and help educate your peers through advocacy training
and educational information.
SHARE We all have knowledge that we can share with the each
other. Share what you know. Share your time by volunteering to
help your peers study for these exams. You would be surprised how
much of a difference it would make if everyone took the time to
share a little of themselves!
The CPAR Committee is happy to announce enhancements to the
website this year. Changes include a lower exam fee and an
improved practice test process. Online registration and testing,
exam locations and proctors will be the same. The CPAR manual
has been available on the website since May 10, 2008, with free
CPAR coaching material and practice tests available since June
2008. In addition, the website designation has changed to HFMA
Certifications, as the Certified Financial Counselor (CFC) Program
is included this year. The CFC study guide will be available on the
website on July 1, 2008, with CFC exams held in October 2008.
For additional information, visit the Georgia HFMA website at or the CPAR website directly at
Bonnie Breland ACPAR, Joint Co-Chair CPAR Committee
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany, Ga.
JULY 23-25, 2008 at
We look forward to seeing you there!
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
JULY 23 – 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23 • 12:00 Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 24 • 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
Advanced CPAR Registration 30 minutes prior to sessions *Note: ACPAR Registration is located outside the session room.
Chapter Activity
Finance Leadership
Revenue Cycle &
Patient Access
TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008
HFMA Board Meeting
6:00PM - 9:00PM
(Dinner provided)
8:00 AM
8:30 AM
9:00 AM
9:30 AM
10:00 AM
10:15 AM
10:30 AM
11:00 AM
11:15 AM
11:30 AM
12:00 PM
12:15 PM
12:30 PM
1:00 PM
1:15 PM
1:30 PM
2:00 PM
2:30 PM
3:00 PM
3:15 PM
3:30 PM
4:00 PM
4:30 PM
5:00 PM
5:45 PM
6:15 PM
6:45 PM
7:00 PM
8:00 PM
9:00 PM
10:00 PM
Session 1:
“Point of Service
8:00AM - 10:00AM
CPAR Break
Session 2:
“Legal Issues”
Lunch on Your Own
12:15PM - 1:30PM
Session 3: “Denial
1:30PM - 3:30PM
Chairperson’s Mtg
New Member Reception (Bullhead Deck) 5:45PM - 6:15PM
Children’s Program *Reception in honor of GA HFMA Corporate Sponsors (Basshead Deck) 6:15PM - 6:45PM
Dinner & Evening Entertainment (Basshead Deck) 6:45PM - 10:00PM
11:05 AM
11:15 AM
11:30 AM
11:45 AM
12:00 PM
12:45 PM
Continental Breakfast 7:00AM - 7:30AM
Session 4 - General Assembly - Jody Urquhart - “The Nerve to Serve..Say Hello to Humor & Goodbye to Burnout” 7:30AM - 9:00AM
9:10AM - 10:50AM
5 - A & A (Part 1)
Draffin & Tucker
6 -“Recovery
- Laura Pait
an Enterprise
Charge Master”
- Laura Outler
& Ann
8 - “Planning for the
Retirement That You
Envision” - Mark
Koppelmann & Adrian
Powell - Smith Barney
GA Chapter HFMA •
9 - Financial
10 - “Breakthrough 11 - “Leveraging
Strategies & Best
Practices in SelfKiosks for a
Pay Mgmt”- Diane Streamlined Pt.
Story, Stephen
Experience Ross & Jessica Jane Gray & Kim
12 HFMA 101:
“What is it?”
Summer 2008
JULY 23 – 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23 • 12:00 Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 24 • 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
Advanced CPAR Registration 30 minutes prior to sessions *Note: ACPAR Registration is located outside the session room.
Chapter Activity
Revenue Cycle &
Patient Access
Finance Leadership
Session 13: General Assembly - Keynote Address
Robert Bolden - Georgia Legislative Update (15 minutes) & Maurice “Termite” Watkins “Termite: An Olympic Dream That Inspired The World” 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Beach Games (Fun Games for the Children)
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Reception 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
(Basshead Deck)
Dinner on Your Own
FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2008
7:00 AM
Prayer Breakfast 7:00AM - 7:45AM
Continental Breakfast 7:00AM - 7:45AM
Session 14: General Assembly - Sonja Baro - “Healthcare Policy & the 2008 Election Implications for Healthcare & Information Technology” 7:45AM - 9:00AM
15 A&A (Part 2)
17 16 - “The
Value of Data “Maximizing
to Healthcare” Initial Patient
- Warner Head Contact” Elizabeth
& John
18 - “HFMA 201:
“Who is it?”
19 “Credit Crisis in
Healthcare” - KPMG
20 - Revenue
21 - Certification
Door Prizes & Adjournment (Must be present to win)
Attention all Parents!
Are you bringing your kids to the Summer Institute, but would
like some grown-up time out on the town? Hilton Head
Nannies has extended a special offer to Georgia HMFA
Summer Institute Attendees. Hilton Head Nannies is a
licensed agency and conduct background checks on all their
staff. The special Georgia HFMA rate for a nanny is $18 an
hour for three children from the same family (normal nanny
rates are $20 an hour for one child, $5 for each additional
child from the same family)
approve this arrangement. For more information, visit the
Hilton Head Nannies website at
To arrange nanny services contact Jennie by phone at 843342-5673. Advance notice of 2 weeks is required. Credit
card deposit is required for a reservation.
Special arrangements for three children from more than one
family can be made for an additional charge if the children are
age compatible. Jennie at Vacation Nanny Services must
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Alabama Chapter of HFMA Presents
The Region V Dixie Institute - February 17-20, 2009, Mobile, AL
2009 Sponsorship Program
Gold: $10,000
As a Gold Sponsor you will receive the following:
Main Sponsor of ALL Keynote Speakers, Entertainment and Luncheons
Three (3) complimentary meeting registrations
Exhibit Booth (double booth)
Half Page ad in the Dixie Newsletter
Special Signage and Promotion
Opportunity to offer “goodies” in the Attendee Welcome Bag
Silver: $5,000
As a Silver Sponsor you will receive the following:
Sponsorship of ALL meeting breaks
Two (2) complimentary meeting registrations
Exhibit Booth
Company Name Recognition
Quarter Page ad in the Dixie Newsletter
Bronze: $2,000
As a Bronze Sponsor you will receive the following:
One (1) complimentary meeting registration
Exhibit Booth
Company Name Recognition
Exhibit Space:
$2500 (double booth)
$1600 (single booth)
Company Name Recognition
One (1) complimentary meeting registration
Register by July 31, 2008 to receive this special pricing. All prices will increase after this date.
Commitments must be received and paid in full by October 1st to be included in Program Brochure.
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Yes, we commit to support the Dixie 2009 at the level indicated below:
❑ Gold
❑ Silver
❑ Bronze
Exhibit Space: (exhibit only)
❑ $2500 (double booth) ❑ $1600 (single booth)
Please type or print
Company name:
Contact person:
Credit Card Type -
American Express
(please circle one)
Credit Card Number
Exp. Date
V-Code (3 or 4 digit number on back of card)
Billing Zip Code
Make checks payable to Alabama Chapter HFMA and return to:
Jeffrey H. Burkhardt, Ph.D., FHFMA
Associate Professor
Department of Health Services Administration, UAB
Webb 558, 1530 3rd Avenue S.
Birmingham, AL 35294-3361
Phone: (205) 934-1670 Fax: (205) 975-6608
Email: [email protected]
GA Chapter HFMA •
Summer 2008
Data Integration, Inc.
600 Houze Way
Suite D-7
Roswell, GA 30076