Success Story: Aspirus Wausau Hospital Inpatient Rehab
With MediLinks, clinical processes are streamlined to increase efficiency and revenue.
At Aspirus Wausau Hospital’s inpatient rehab facility (IRF), clinicians used a manual scheduling system to track patient care. This “whiteboard method” and paper documentation made it difficult to track three-hour-rule compliance during audits and led to inconsistencies in important patient scheduling processes. In addition, clinicians rated patients with subjective FIM scores, which led to lower reimbursement rates.
Since adding MediLinks into to its Wisconsin facility and integrating it with the facilitywide electronic medical record (EMR) system, Aspirus Wausau Hospital’s IRF can now:
- Track three-hour-rule compliance automatically
- Report standardized, objective FIM scores to ensure maximum reimbursement
- Monitor clinicians and patient scheduling in real time with new digital processes
“If we had to manually track what MediLinks can do, we’d need to hire another full-time person.”
Nicole Trempe, Manager of Rehabilitation
Automatic three-hour compliance
Prior to MediLinks, Aspirus clinicians identified that the hospital’s EMR had a shortfall—the lack of three-hour tracking and reporting tools. Manually tracking each patient’s scheduled and delivered care wasted valuable time and increased the risk for reimbursement inconsistencies. “The biggest thing we needed was three-hour tracking and reporting. Alone, our EMR can’t do what MediLinks does,” Nicole Trempe, manager of rehabilitation, said. Now, as Aspirus clinicians enter patients’ treatment data, MediLinks automatically monitors their progress toward the three hours required for reimbursement from CMS. When audits arise, clinicians aren’t left digging through folders of paper. Evidence of proper patient care is easily accessed electronically within minutes. “When we recently got audited by CMS, we were quickly able to pull 40 three-hour reports,” Trempe said. “Before MediLinks, we tracked on paper charts, and that would have taken hours upon hours to pull what we needed.”
Consistent FIM scores
Aspirus IRF aimed to maximize reimbursements by standardizing the collection of FIM scores. Because subjectivity in FIM scoring decreased the interrater reliability of the FIM tool, the IRF wasn’t always receiving the maximum reimbursement for each patient. With MediLinks’ objective FIM scoring tools, the IRF clinicians at Aspirus provide consistent, accurate scores for every patient. Early on, the new system translated directly into increased revenue. “During our trial of MediLinks, we were able to increase payment by $800 for every stroke diagnosis,” stated Kim Krohn-Rick, supervisor of therapy.
Before the IRF integrated MediLinks with its hospital wide EMR, clinicians relied on three white boards in three different rooms to track patient scheduling. Because of the dynamic clinical environment, changes made on one white board often wouldn’t make it to the other two. Manual scheduling created confusion for patients and clinicians alike. “It was inefficient,” Krohn-Rick explained. “Manual scheduling would cause issues for families and patients because we wouldn’t have the correct treatment times listed for them.” Today, clinicians can track and update patient scheduling in real time at monitors throughout the unit. This way, last-minute changes are immediately known to patients, families, and care providers. Aspirus Wausau Hospital IRF boosted efficiency with MediLinks’ standardized FIM scoring, automatic three-hour compliance, and seamless scheduling processes. The software has become so critical to the facility’s operations that, according to Trempe, it simply couldn’t function as efficiently without it.