Navigating the world of healthcare billing can be a tumultuous ride. Below are six CentralReach billing features you can implement NOW to easily get your claims processed faster and more efficiently!
Client and Payor Setup.
Are your claim forms having the information you want in the boxes you want? This sounds easy, it’s information in a box, but setup helps ensure that your data is coming to you or your billing team as complete as possible. You can default client Diagnosis codes, boxes (and their digital equivalents) 17, 31, 32, 33, all within CentralReach. Pointers and modifiers can also populate the boxes for you as well!
If you are having incomplete data dropped to your billing entries, then that can create incomplete claims. Be an investigator: investigate the source(s) of the problem, and get that data backfilled. Each area of “drop in” in CR is mapped to a location. Go back to that place, and fill it in. Usually we tell clients, that with proper setup, within 2 batches or so, you can get almost all of the data setup to be trouble free, because dropping the data to claims should be the fastest part of the claims process.
ERAs (Electronic Remittance Advice) are just digital versions of paper EOBs (Explanation of Benefits). Just, we know, right? They are amazing. Since an ERA is coded and standardized, just like an outgoing claim, having a system that can read the ERA data is amazingly fast and easy to use. Now, this does not mean that an insurance payor, paid you correctly, but it is a fantastic tool to post all the itemized payment data, to the itemized billing entries, and that is what claims are all about, itemized entries. The pain here for most companies is how to read and post this data quickly and accurately. In order to take advantage of ERAs, you must submit electronically via CR, and the ERA must come back to CR from the clearinghouse as well. Make sure that you take advantage of this, and if needed, sign up with your payors to use this service that they already offer (in most cases).
Billing secondary is difficult, no matter how you slice it. Paper secondary claims can be made in CR easily, especially if all the payer info is set up for all payors that belong to a client. Some payers even offer secondary electronic claims– check your clearinghouse to see which one’s offer it. If so, CR is now able to send secondary claims electronically as well. The one thing you will need to ensure though, is that you are receiving the ERAs from the primary payer(s). The reason for this is so that CR can capture and transmit all of the ANSI coded payment information with the secondary claim(s).
When it comes time to invoice your clients, copay (patient responsibility), or self/private pay, as long as you have the data in all the right boxes it can be a snap. Using the filters on the billing screen you can select a large date set, then filter to only outstanding items (money to be collected!). This will pull all entries that show an amount owed, and leaves all zero owed amounts behind. Then you can generate up to 5000 lines of data to invoices at once. Also, if you know what copay is owed we are seeing more and more organizations billing copays right after they bill insurance.
What I mean by this is your billing cycle. Many people think that this is dictated by your employees converting their appointments. While that is still our number one complaint (yes, we wish we could make people convert as well), remember it is up to you to determine your billing timelines, and enforce them. There are tools in CR to have the system look at the schedule and find any unconverted appointments. So, admin team, set your dates and start contacting employees who have not converted. If you like to export data, then run the export, make a HIPAA compliant format from the data, and email out as needed.
Billing screen tools.
There are lots of ways to filter data, but you do not have to be limited by only the data you see on the screen. Remember you can use your contact labels, service code labels, billing entry labels, etc. Since these are all custom defined you can define your workflow to best suit your needs. Also, have you ever looked at and played with all the filters on the billing screen, there are many, check them out!
Lastly, if you are having trouble billing and getting paid, check out our preferred vendors’ page. We also have a great recorded webinar walking you through CentralReach’s Billing module, for your viewing pleasure.
About the author: Adam Sellers is a CentralReach Billing and Practice Management subject matter expert working from Utah.
As an Account Executive at CentralReach, I am often asked an important question, “Why CentralReach?” This important question embodies much more than Practice Management software, the right scheduling and billing platform or perhaps even data collection and Clinical tools. While CentralReach provides a next generation, single source platform that increases productivity, efficiency and communication across clinical practices large and small, there are so many other reasons that practices should consider CentralReach.
By Clinicians, For Clinicians
First and foremost, CentralReach was developed for Clinicians by Clinicians. CentralReach CEO, Charlotte Fudge, was a practicing BCBA with her own ABA practice-serving children with Developmental Disabilities. She saw within her own practice, the incredible need of tools to help streamline managing client information, scheduling staff, maximizing and monitoring authorizations, filing claims, documenting and supervising and reporting on Clinical data. From that need and strong business acumen, Charlotte sought after technical expertise to begin increasing efficiencies by creating software to manage her business while maximizing her time with clients. From there CentralReach has grown and flourished to a full Practice Management and Clinical Data Collection platform serving thousands of users daily via the web-based software and now extending accessibility via a mobile application.
Passion for Helping Individuals with Disabilities
CentralReach is rooted in a comprehensive understanding of clinical settings, but also just as significantly, by a passion for the individuals, children, families and communities impacted by disability. This passion and purpose was my personal reason for choosing CentralReach. As a Mother of 3 young boys on the Autism Spectrum, I wanted an opportunity to continue to do meaningful work while supporting the ongoing needs of my growing children. I am fortunate to work with Clinical practices across the Country, in all disciplines including ABA, Speech, OT, Multi-Specialty and Education. CentralReach provides a World-Class software platform, and is supported by many individuals like Charlotte, myself and many others who have been personally impacted by disability. That’s why when clients come to CentralReach, they get much more than a software service, they gain support of a company that values and understands the significance and value of the work they do in their communities. We know that better managing schedules, extending access to families via our Client Portal, improving practice communication and data collection tools and automating billing and claims processes all make a big difference in growing practices and therefore helping more families. That is the passion that drives CentralReach. It’s not simply about the technology, but giving Clinicians the tools to serve more individuals and improve outcomes while managing and growing their businesses.
The ReachOut Team in Action!
The ReachOut Program
Our CentralReach ReachOut program is at the heart of my answer to, “Why CentralReach”. While our clients support the lifespan of needs of children and adults with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, CentralReach saw the incredible need of creating employment opportunities for adults on the Autism Spectrum. With larger numbers of young adults with Autism and Developmental Disabilities transitioning from school into Adulthood, there are very limited opportunities for employment. With estimates as high as 75-85% unemployment rate for adults on the Autism Spectrum, CentralReach formed the ReachOut Initiative and now employs an inclusive team that includes adults on the Autism Spectrum. CNN just honored Amy Wright – Disability Advocate, CNN Hero of the Year as she employs 40 people with disabilities in her coffee shop. It is an exciting time to see more employers expanding job opportunities, valuing the unique skill-sets of adults with Disabilities and improving quality of life for individuals and their communities.
Always Looking to Improve
CentralReach is also dedicated to continually improving, expanding and extending the current Practice Management software and Clinical software platform. CentralReach has a dedicated in-house development team. Our in-house development team are driven and guided by the growing and changing needs of the clients and practices currently using CentralReach. Best practices, understanding multi-discipline workflows and expertise in supporting clients from new practices through the enterprise level support, leads our innovation in providing better tools for our clients. This creates a seamless single source platform with the access and continuity to empower businesses of all sizes to maximize their time and resources leveraging one platform for all of their practice needs.
Whether you are currently a CentralReach customer, a small practice looking for the tools to grow your business or a clinic looking into software to support your clinical needs, there are many reasons beyond just industry-leading software to partner with CentralReach. Technology is the basis of our innovation, but at the heart of our organization is a vested interest and passion to improve efficiencies and outcomes for the significant population our client’s serve.
About the Author: Sarah Jackson is a CentralReach Account Executive in Atlanta, GA and a Mother of 3 young boys with Autism. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Autism Consortium (http://www.atlantaautismconsortium.org) where she helps coordinate efforts that benefit children and adults with Autism. Sarah also serves on the Council for the Autism Plan for Georgia and is a LEND Fellow through Georgia State University Center of Leadership in Disability. To connect with Sarah, visit her on LinkedIn or send her a message.
The team at CentralReach is united by a common interest to improve processes in the special education and therapy worlds. With a team that has over 100 combined years of expertise in clinical services and leading technology, we thrive in helping organizations grow. But that’s only one part of who we are. CR staff also like to give back, both as an organization and as individuals. We’ve previously written about CR’s dedication to employing persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders through the ReachOut program. We are also ready to reach out when the larger community is in need. Here is a look at some of our efforts over the last few months in response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
Following hurricane Harvey, the CR team arranged to bring needed supplies to hard hit areas of Texas. Thousands of diapers and Clorox wipes were flown in for the relief and cleanup efforts in the state.
Supplies CR Team Sent to Houston
Relocation of CR Headquarters for Hurricane Irma
As CR headquarters are located in Florida, critical staff members relocated in anticipation of hurricane Irma to ensure customer support would not be disrupted. Once the storm was over, the team convened in a hotel to work until it was possible to go back to CR headquarters. Additionally, this was a time when individual CR employees went the extra mile to help the community. For example, team members Deniz, Katie, and Rob pulled together to help a population that is often overlooked during times of crisis — the animals left behind!
The CR Team Working From a Hotel Following Hurricane Irma
Relief Efforts for Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria
The team at CR, lead by Deniz & Katy pictured below, raised funds to purchase much needed supplies after Hurricane Maria. Necessary supplies, such as batteries, baby wipes and diapers, were flown to Puerto Rico in the days after the hurricane hit.
Deniz & Katy Procuring Supplies for Puerto Rico
Our thoughts continue to go out to all those affected by the recent hurricanes. A big thank you to all who contributed to relief efforts! Follow along with #TeamCR on Social Media for more updates on your favorite software team.
The Formula for Dynamic Leadership & How Leadership Can Determine the Success or Failure of Your Company
by Dr. Natalie Parks
Several studies have shown that the success (or failure) of a business can be accredited to its leaders (Bersin, 2012; Investor Today staff, 2014; Lipman, 2013; McCafferty, 2013). Strong and effective leadership has direct effects on every aspect of the business including growth and expansion, employee retention and satisfaction, productivity, policies and procedures, and development. Without effective leadership, businesses struggle, observe decreases in profit margins, cannot sustain growth over time and see increases in turnover and decreases in productivity.
There are several examples of what can happen when a company’s executive leadership struggles. The company Uber is an excellent example of what can happen. Uber’s former CEO, Travis Kalanick was involved in a series of scandals that involved sexual harassment, labor regulation, lack of diversity, and sexism. These scandals led to the very damaging social campaign #DeleteUber and a lawsuit from Google’s parent company Alphabet. The financial ramifications of this are astronomical. Not only did the company lose money from fleeing customers, but also in the search for a new CEO, higher employee turnover, and additional lawsuits from former employees, but this company’s difficulties also had an effect on the larger economy as well.
Not every company will go through challenges as large or widely publicized as Uber; however, every company with poor leadership will experience financial, staff, and/or legal difficulties at some point. However, with strong and effective leadership, companies will experience the opposite.
Strong leadership sets the tone for the company and provides a model for all employees. Employees look to the leaders of the company for guidance on how to communicate, how to do their jobs, how to interact with each other, and to determine if their jobs are important to the company. Leaders who have a strong focus on the mission, vision and values of the company, have effective communication skills, know how to invest in and build their teams, can plan and manage strategically, and who are focused on remaining ethical in the most difficult times are the leaders who thrive. These leaders lead their businesses to thrive even in the most difficult of situations. Thus, it is pertinent to ensure leaders of organizations have mastered the skills necessary to ensure their businesses thrive.
While leadership skills can be learned, it has been estimated that it takes 20.3 months to get high-potential employees prepared to assume a mid-level leadership position and 38.11 months to prepare them for a senior leadership position (Filipkowski, 2014).
Companies who regularly identify high-performing employees and provide them with training place themselves ahead of other companies, who more commonly struggle to find new leaders only after a current leader announces his or her exit.
Leaders or potential leaders do not have to rely on their companies to provide them with the necessary training and skills to be a strong leader. There are many training programs, books, workshops, and other materials all focused on leadership skills. One can take it upon his or herself to invest in a program that will advance his or her skills so that s/he is prepared to advance when the opportunity comes along.
However, with the numerous programs currently targeting leaders, it can be difficult to determine which program is best. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the most effective program.
- Look for a program that provides training in all areas of leadership, not just one or two. As stated above, leadership skills cover a wide range of skills from communication, team development, personal effectiveness, strategic planning and management, and ethics. Any program that does not cover the breadth of skills necessary to lead an organization will leave the potential leader lacking key skills.
- Ensure the program is evidence-based and supported by research. Many programs are the result of one’s personal experiences or thoughts without any supporting research. While the skills discussed may have worked for that person, you want to be sure that you choose a program that works for most.
- Look for a program that provides lecture, notes, and follow up activities. The best way to learn is to do it yourself. Programs that do not provide you with opportunities to practice your skills may be rich in content, but may not provide you with what is needed to ensure application of skills covered.
The Dynamic Leadership Formula is an example of a program developed after conducting years of research in the field. As a former executive leader in multiple companies, I believed it was important to provide a training that not only covers all skills necessary for any leader of any company to thrive, but also provided a training method based on research. While in-person training is always best, most of us do not have extra days or weeks that we can spend in workshops or working 1-on-1 with a coach. The Dynamic Leadership Formula allows individuals to study the skills in short increments and then practice each skill by completing follow up homework, ensuring the skills covered are applied to the leader’s daily routines and responsibilities.
Any leader that is ready to increase their skills or any individual preparing for their next leadership position would benefit from this program. If you are ready to fast track your skills and take your business and team to the next level, sign up now!
Time is money and in the world of billable hours, we know that two-fold. Even the most business savvy clinicians may be still making errors that cost them valuable time and money. Find out how you may be throwing money away every day and what you can do to turn that around.
- Standard, cookie-cutter solutions. Every agency, administrator, clinician and therapist works in a unique way—and they should, as we all work differently in order to be most efficient and productive. Using non customized or turnkey software that force you to change your workflow can sometimes cause more problems than solutions. If you have to change the way you like to do business to fit your practice management software, then it’s the wrong software. Use a custom software solution that will allow you to work the way you do best. While it may take effort to customize it to work your way, it will be worthwhile in the long run.
- Too many different platforms. If you are switching between different programs to complete your scheduling, billing, human resources, data collection and reporting, then you are wasting valuable time that could be used working with clients. In addition, you could be paying a premium to maintain all of your different platforms when you could be saving money with an all-in-one streamlined solution. Furthermore, moving information from platform to platform increases the incidences of mistakes. Choose a solution that has everything in one place and all the arms talk to one another automatically. Remember, administrative hours aren’t billable hours.
- Manual data collection. We understand the portability and nostalgic comfort of using paper and pencil for data collection. However, we also know how manually collecting data, transferring it to an online program, manually generating graphs and moving information over into reports can be tedious, time consuming and ineffective. Electronic clinical solutions have evolved to the point where you have customization and can continue to conduct therapy as you always have, with automatic graphing and easy reporting. Many data collection systems even have mobile applications so you can collect data on the go. What used to take hours can now take minutes.
- Spending hours on insurance claims. Imperfect billing can hinder the growth of even the most successful practice. Sending first rounds of insurance claims, denials and resubmitting claims can drain valuable unbillable time. Following up with insurance claims can be even more time consuming, with some practices being forced to visit each individual insurance portal to check their claim status. Some clinicians end up choosing to turn their back on insurance claims completely, sometimes depriving clients of important services and clinicians of additional clients. Thankfully, technology is here to help streamline this process. Choose a billing system with integrated scheduling and billing features. Find a system that specializes in your industry that can generate invoices for you, help you with billing codes, automatically send out claims and monitor their status for you. A well designed billing system can actually increase your billings!
- Paper client files. If you are spending hours printing and filing client files, or worse going through piles of papers looking for information on a client before an appointment, then you are doing something wrong. Use your time with your clients efficiently by having all their reports, therapy programs and patient history online and accessible, even when you are on the go. A well organized clinician is a more effective clinician. Nobody chooses to be a clinician so they can do more filing!
- Poor client communication. Late or missed appointments, unclear therapy goals, poor follow up and slow reporting can really wreck havoc on your relationship with your clients. Even the most effective therapists lose clients and referrals due to bad communication. Automated appointment reminders, online client portals with relevant documents, automated reports and clear therapy tasks in writing can save you hours and relationships.
- Non HIPAA compliant systems. The fines and legal repercussions for HIPAA violations are no joke. Make sure your system and all your communications with your clients are HIPAA compliant. Even internal communications like instant messenger programs should also be HIPAA compliant. Keep your client’s protected health information safe at all points in time.
If you are looking for a solution to help your practice from losing money every day, book a demo with CentralReach and find out how their custom, all-in-one, HIPAA compliant solutions can take your practice to the next level. From practice management, clinical tools, human resources to learning management – CentralReach was designed by clinicians to help make life easier, and keep money flowing in, for clinicians.
CentralReach integrated Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) assessment and reports into our platform, and we’re currently building out additional features to integrate it with goals and program books. Currently, we offer an electronic version of the VB-MAPP with an easy method to conduct assessments and online scoring. We also have auto-generation of reports based on your client’s performance that can be customized and stored all in one place with your client information in CentralReach. Furthermore, you can compare up to 4 assessment results. If you want to learn more about how VB-MAPP works in CentralReach, you can watch this video or go to our VB-MAPP tutorial.
We recently conducted a survey of behavior analysts on how they use the VB-MAPP and gathered feedback on what methods they use and the challenges that they face. Many are using their own manual methods and the majority were “somewhat satisfied” with only a fifth being “very satisfied” with their process today. We received many comments about the process taking too much time from start to finish. To administer, score, create a report, and generate goals took respondents on average five to eight hours for just one client!
Check out the summary of the survey results with the infographic below. If you want a demo of the VB-MAPP features in CentralReach, fill out this easy form, and we’ll set up a time to review with you.
Whether you are moving from paper and pencil data collection or looking for a more effective software to capture your data, numerous questions will undoubtedly arise. It is vitally important you know what the right questions are to ask as you look to either go digital or make a move from one digital platform to another that better fits your practice needs.
To help guide you to determine which data collection solution matches your needs, we’ve identified four essential questions that you need answered to evaluate data collection solutions and select the one best suited for your needs.
Which Data Types Does the Solution Support?
You certainly want to ensure that all data types that your agency uses are built in the software. Sometimes the list of data types seems endless, but you need to make sure the essentials are covered. Make sure your solution can handle duration, rate, rating scale, score, time sampling, frequency, task analysis, percent independence, percent correct, trial or probe data. Make sure to ask questions such as, will this work for skills such as toileting or other adaptive skills? Will this work for data each hour, or data across hours of the day? Furthermore, do you need more advanced data collection types like ABC data collection? If your agency is multi-disciplinary, make sure there are data types that support those disciplines as well.
You really shouldn’t consider a solution that is not able to track skills that are common in your teaching practice. CentralReach can track whichever skill you need to track, and is extremely customizable to set up the parameters of your specific data collection method. When deciding on a software, never change your methodology to fit the platform. Make sure the platform can work for you. With CentralReach, users find that they are able to customize the system to match any method!
How do You Prefer to View and Chart Data?
One of the biggest reasons organizations go from paper and pencil to electronic is the amazing capabilities to chart and graph data with the beauty of technology. You press a button and hours of work are populated into easy-to-view graphs for you to analyze progress and goals. However, some solutions can do far more and provide more flexible options for graphic analysis than others.
CentralReach offers customizable goal metrics and graph views to look at the range, type, and information you need to analyze by day, week, month, year or any interval or time frame you need. There are also turnkey reports to evaluate progress with just one click. From ABC graphs, learning opportunity graphs by provider, to scatterplots and advanced interval analysis, we have your graphing needs covered. Did we mention all graphs pull to progress reports?
Can it Handle Documentation for Every Payor Source, School District, or Type of Record?
In addition to being flexible with the types of data you analyze, the solution you go with should also be flexible with the types of documents you can create with the data you have collected. Remember, the data is only as good as your ability to apply and easily share it.
CentralReach has agile document management that includes everything from stock templates to fully customizable electronic documentation. Your software solution needs to support every need including but not limited to treatment plans or plans of care, incident tracking, behavior support plans and progress notes. All of which CentralReach does with ease. In all of your documents, you can include baseline, teaching, or maintenance data, as well as all pertinent information, including any type of graph you need.
How Does the Solution Facilitate Collaboration Among Staff and Supervisors?
It is no secret that collaboration and communication are keys to success when working to help client’s master their goals. But does the solution you have promote and provide tools for collaboration and communication? It better, and it should be easy, intuitive, and HIPAA compliant!
Between built-in commenting live in Data sheets, a HIPAA-secure chat called ReachMe, and the ability to share and collaborate on program template creation, CentralReach takes digital collaboration and communication for clinicians to the next level. Admin team members can chat quickly, solo or within a group. Supervisors can quickly chat or comment while a therapist in in the field. Managers can quickly message all staff with the click of a button and share a video of a new teaching method! It is crucial that your solution allows for seamless interactions within teams, and CentralReach has you covered.
One Final Question: Are Your Data Management Tools All Integrated Into One Solution?
Accurate data collection and easy analysis is the key to great clinical care. However, the other side of the business — the practice management side — is crucial to business success. Make your life easier with less data entry and administrative labor, and pick a solution that allows your entire staff to work in one fully integrated and seamless solution with practice management, clinical data collection, HR, and learning management.
See what CentralReach can do to improve your data collection and management. Book a free demo today!
If you lead a team or manage individuals, nothing is more important than finding effective methods for the two big C’s of teamwork: Collaboration and Communication. The two are critical, and failing at either or both will undoubtedly affect your business success.
Collaboration and communication are especially important for those who work in therapy-based practices where there may be multi-disciplinary therapists and educators working with one client or a number of people within a therapy specialty working together to support clients, such as ABA with a registered behavior technician, a BCBA, and supervisor all engaged on a client.
Because CentralReach was founded by therapy practice professionals with a combined experience of over 100 years, we have first-hand knowledge regarding the importance of collaboration and communication for your practice. This unique understanding has been the driving force behind developing tools in our software that promote team collaboration and communication that is purposely designed for the therapy world.
Discover how CentralReach can help your organization achieve an A+ for team collaboration and communication.
Real-time Communication for Information Sharing and Better Decision-making
With all the moving parts and people on-the-go in therapy practices, team communication can easily slip through the cracks. So, we created a way for staff to communicate securely without needing to login, and therefore logout, of the software they use. With ReachMe HIPAA-secure chat in CentralReach, employees can instantly communicate with teams of people or with one individual, on-the-go or from their desk. Anywhere CentralReach is used, ReachMe can be as well so that you don’t have to juggle multiple applications, and all of the information that you need is on one screen.
In addition to ReachMe, clinical teams have additional communication options in CentralReach, such as comments that are viewable within a client’s program book while taking or analyzing data. These areas in CentralReach are called the Learning Tree (where programs are built) and the Session (how a program is run). This allows the opportunity for a technician to leave a comment at a certain point in a session without needing to stop any part of the session itself.
Collaboration Tools for Therapy Practices
Therapy practices deal with many moving parts and require individuals with wide-ranging skills to operate successfully. From behavior technicians and clinicians, to your billers, schedulers and human resource managers, people who may rarely see one another will need to collaborate continuously for the business to run properly.
CentralReach takes this dynamic into account when developing software for onboarding staff as well as bringing in new clients. For HR and client intake tasks, CR has made it intuitive and efficient with tools such as:
- Custom Contact Forms – Gather specific pieces of information on any newly added client, employee, prospective employee or general contact. Easily record vital information immediately from the contact, and set the form to automatically alert an individual, or a set of individuals, once it has been completed. This allows for cross-functional collaboration to more smoothly bring on new employees and clients.
- Document Management – Use our toolkit to simplify insurance credentialing, employee certifications, everyday HR documentation and organization-wide critical documents.
- Learning Management System – Easily manage, assign and track online courses to keep your team ahead of CEUs. Leverage course groups for affordable RBT courses and CEUs, and track progress when bringing on new staff.
These tools allow the right people to first receive the individual communication and easily assign additional tasks to the proper colleague(s) for smooth and seamless onboarding. With the ability to require specific documents for certification confirmation, or to assign courses – and track course progress – CentralReach allows users to collaborate seamlessly in real-time whether they share an office wall or work miles apart.
In summary, the goal for the clinical team is always to provide the best possible care to clients. Achieving this is easier when staff can collaborate by creating and sharing HIPAA-secure SOAP notes, program books and more. With the ability to create custom clinical notes templates, handoff a client session to another colleague, and utilize curriculum built by others, providing great care can truly be a team effort. By leveraging CentralReach’s innovative tools to conquer collaboration and communication, your practice can be more efficient and effective than ever.
By Peter Leiner, General Counsel at CentralReach
If you work in any medical field, there are five letters burned into your brain, H-I-P-A-A. We all know that this is not some dance move, but rather it’s Federal Regulation that causes all who work in the medical field to lose sleep over potentially being subject to fines ranging from $100.00 to $50,000.00 per violation. As part of the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996, commonly referred to as HIPAA, Congress mandated the enactment of Federal standards to ensure that important and private health information remains secure. HIPAA took form through two different rules, both of which serve the purpose of properly handling protected health information (PHI).
The two rules are the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule, and organizations must abide by them to meet HIPAA standards. The Privacy Rule sets standards related to access to PHI by requiring appropriate safeguards and places limits on the use and disclosures of PHI without patient authorization. The Security Rule requires the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the PHI through identification and protection against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity, and to protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures.
Here at CentralReach, we have focused on ensuring that our organization fully complies with the mandates of HIPAA, so that organizations don’t have to worry when using our platform. To accomplish compliance, CentralReach has completed rigorous third-party auditing and will continue to be proactive with audits, utilizing outside consultation for proper auditing and ongoing training.
One of the first, and most important things CentralReach does—a step every organization should be doing—is annual in-house auditing. This annual audit consists of a risk assessment wherein every part of the CentralReach organization is reviewed. It is important to note, the audit isn’t just on whether our platform is secure, as there is so much more to achieving HIPAA compliance. The in-house audit includes things such as office security, review of the employee policies and procedures manual, and reviewing of office electronic inventory. We even have a process in place if our Florida-based company is hit by a category 5 hurricane. These things are all done to ensure that CentralReach can continue to provide top tier access to PHI, as well as to ensure that this information is secure from access by unauthorized third-parties. Of course, CentralReach’s in-house audit includes an extensive review of the platform and potential cyber-attacks. The in-house audit is just the first step taken in a laundry list of protections.
Once the annual audit is done in a process that takes about two months, CentralReach continues with ongoing auditing. The ongoing auditing includes reviews of new features, such as our recently-launched ReachMe, HIPAA-secure chat to allow for better, real-time collaboration in your practice. We also have ongoing auditing to revisit any prior potential issues identified during the annual audit to ensure the they were rectified. What’s more, CentralReach’s ongoing audit provides an opportunity to continuously review, revise and expand policies and procedures to better secure PHI. Finally, CentralReach uses every opportunity to provide updated information on the mandates of HIPAA as new areas of the law develop.
While the in-house auditing is great, we don’t believe that this is sufficient. That’s why CentralReach has continued to take steps to ensure top tier HIPAA security through our platform by retaining third-party auditors to review our organization. Like CentralReach’s in-house audit, the third-party auditors did not just review the CentralReach’s platform but also reviewed the entirety of the organization. Most recently, CentralReach earned a SOC 3 attestation for the cloud security platform environment. The SOC 3 certification serves as confirmation that CentralReach has taken appropriate steps to maintain controls over security and privacy when holding PHI, and to avoid unauthorized access. The SOC 3 Report is available to our users for review. Please contact me for more information. The SOC 3 Certification was just another step in CentralReach’s continuous venture to provide industry-leading security so that we may best serve our users. CentralReach also recently underwent a third-party audit specific to the HIPAA Security Rule. As was no surprise to anyone at CentralReach, the third-party auditor certified CentralReach as compliant.
Earning these certifications is great for CentralReach, but it is paramount for you as a user of our software. When you use CentralReach, you know you are using a platform that is pushing daily to do more than just satisfy basic standards. You are using a platform that always has HIPAA compliance on its mind and that strives to make HIPAA compliance a priority with every feature we offer and for every user we welcome.
“Welcome to CentralReach! We are so excited to have you join the family. Now, it’s time to get you up and running on our software.”
I have the pleasure of saying that several times a week as we welcome new users. That CentralReach treats its 30,000-plus active users as family is a statement I can vouch for, having spent many years as a CentralReach user myself.
As a BCBA, I have spent over 15 years working with children with autism.
Now here at CentralReach as the Director of Implementation, I have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people from hundreds of different organizations. I consider myself and my team the welcoming committee as we onboard new organizations onto CentralReach. Our goal is to help organizations work faster and smarter, so that they can focus their time where it is needed the most, on their clients.
From the first call, we learn about each group’s workflows and processes and begin to customize each account. Having spent many years working in the system, it is a delight for me to meet each “I wish I could do this” request with a “let me show you options for that,” reply. Nothing makes me happier than when I hear a customer say that we have shown them something that will save them time and spare them from headaches!
While I may no longer be providing the direct services that I used to, I truly feel like we are continuing to help the field every day. We support thousands of clinicians to streamline their business, allowing them to help more clients and expand their reach and impact. Each time we hear a customer on a call excited about moving their business forward, it motivates us to strengthen their skills and take them to the next level of mastery of CentralReach. The implementation team loves to joke that I measure my day in the number of clicks I was able to save.
The implementation team also works closely with the development team at CentralReach. When a group presents us with a process that we haven’t encountered before, we get together with the development team to discuss and figure out ways to make it happen. No matter how many years you have been working in the system, there is always an opportunity to learn something new or come up with a different way to accomplish something. Seeing new features in development that are based on the feedback and requests of our users shows how much CentralReach listens and continually strives for improvement.
I am proud to work with passionate and smart team members who inspire me to finetune our training processes and ensure that our customers who come out of implementation are ready to hit the ground running. Being surrounded by clinicians doesn’t hurt for setting reinforcement schedules that keep motivation high! I leave work each day energized and looking forward to the new people I will meet tomorrow.