How we care for the elderly says a lot about the strength of our communities. It’s a complex challenge, but MedOptions is making a difference by helping skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country deliver the very best behavioral health services to their residents.
The Challenges Are Complex
When it comes to behavioral health, older populations have complex needs. Some struggle with loneliness; others with the disorienting effects of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment can be treated, but geriatric behavioral health specialists are in short supply.
MedOptions provides expert behavioral health services to its clients in 19 states, providing skilled, experienced clinicians who team with client staff to deliver optimal care. And the demand is great. Today, MedOptions fills 35 to 40 open positions every month. Each of the caregivers filling those positions needs to credentialed—quickly. Last year, the company acquired Vericare, a San Diego-based behavioral health clinical care provider with locations in five states, adding an even greater credentialing burden. A robust telehealth initiative will spark even greater growth. Finding a more efficient way to credential and onboard the right people to deliver expert care is critical.
Mastering the Credentialing Process
MedOptions works hard to enroll their clinicians in plans across multiple states and ensure quality and consistency across the credentialing process using National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards. But they still needed help with the most time-consuming part of credentialing: obtaining peer references for their clinicians.
Even with stellar processes in place, collecting references from busy, distracted healthcare professionals can be daunting. At MedOptions, a dedicated onboarding team is responsible for gathering peer reference feedback from colleagues and supervisors. Like many credentialing departments, the team used typical outreach tools: email, fax, and follow-up phone calls.
The problem? It was taking about 4-5 weeks–and sometimes 6-10 weeks–to collect an applicant’s references. Improving onboarding times was imperative—both for patient care and for the bottom line.
MedOptions began using SkillSurvey’s Credential OnDemand®, a fully automated, digital solution that drastically cuts the wait time for peer references. Now, instead of chasing down references with multiple phone calls, the onboarding team directs newly hired staff to an online system where they can enter their peer reference information. The system automatically sends an email to the reference, who can respond and enter pertinent information online from any device. No more printing, scanning, and faxing.
“For us, the biggest benefit of Credential OnDemand is that users can complete and send their references from anywhere they happen to be because they can use their cell phones or tablets,” said Melissa King, CPCS, CPMSM, and Director of Credentialing & Enrollment at MedOptions. “This has really helped us get our references back fast.”
Faster Peer References for Faster Onboarding
For most Credential OnDemand users, peer references typically complete and submit responses in 3 days. MedOptions has done even better. They have streamlined peer referencing so significantly that MedOptions is now able to onboard new providers in 10 days or less—that’s from signed offer letter to first day on the job. MedOptions clients are thrilled to have much-needed behavioral teams in place more quickly and with faster credentialing, reimbursements can be processed more effectively—which makes King’s CFO particularly happy.
“Right after we started using Credential OnDemand, we cut our full onboarding time to 4 weeks and I thought wow this is great,” King said. “Then, I thought, okay, maybe we can do this in three weeks, and we did. Of course, once we proved ourselves, we set even more rigorous goals,” she added.
King credits this remarkable achievement directly to Credential OnDemand. “The only reason we can pull off a 10-day onboarding time is because of SkillSurvey,” said King. “Today, using Credential OnDemand is mandated for all new hires. If we don’t have the appropriate reference in the system, that applicant won’t be starting. It’s as simple as that,” she said. “It’s made our lives so much easier.”
MedOptions Inc. is the nation’s leading provider of geriatric and behavioral health practitioners to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. The company, with more than 650 world-class clinicians, provides behavioral health care in 19 states and regions, servicing about 180,000 patients in 1,500 facilities.
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