August 27, 2018
Bill Donovan, Correspondent
Medicare patients going for their annual wellness checkups at the Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital are now seeing doctors take a whole new approach to their treatment, thanks to a partnership the hospital has made with a Silicon Valley software firm.
“Instead of doing just the standard four tests, we are now doing 10,” said CEO David Conejo.
And Medicare, which traditionally has balked at paying for too much testing, is happy about the new approach that they recently gave the hospital a bonus.
It’s all part of a new approach that RMCH and other hospitals are taking across the country, an approach that is centered on the principal that prevention is the key to solving the problem of increasing medical costs. Conejo said its easy to understand that waiting for something like a hernia to get to the point where an expensive operation is necessary to cure the patient is not financially feasible when catching the problem in the early stages can resolve it at one-tenth the cost.
At the end of 2017, Conejo treated up with Zoeticx, a health care software company that specializes in applications designed to streamline hospital patient data for Medicare and Medicaid services.
The software allows the hospital to track the wellness condition of its elderly patients better than it has ever been able to in the past, enabling doctors to provide better quality health care while increasing revenue at the same time.
The application also allows doctors to identify procedures allowed under Medicare guidelines and provides the hospital with an automated invoice, this saving billing costs. For RMCH, this could not have come at a better time since the last financial report showed the hospital’s three clinics losing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
While the application from Zoeticx was not expensive, Conejo said three new positions had to be added to the hospital’s staff, a central processor and two personnel responsible for following up on the wellness visits and making sure that the patient followed through with any prescribed treatment.
As a result of this program, said Conejo, Medicare recently gave RMCH an $80,000 bonus for cost containment and since the program is adding on new patients week. The hospital is now looking at receiving another bonus double that size.
The program has been so successful that just last week, a modified version of it was put in place within the hospital’s behavioral health unit.
Conejo also came to the same conclusion shortly after taking over as CEO of the hospital three years ago and then deciding to reopen the hospital’s behavioral health clinic to treat alcoholics.
The hope is that by better tracking and statistical data, the caregivers at the behavioral health clinic will be able to determine what approaches are working for each individual patient.
So, where is all of this headed?
Conejo is now talking about setting up a telemedicine program that would allow the hospital to develop a mobile outreach program to take the clinics out to patients on the Navajo reservation who, for one reason or another, are not able to make the trip to Gallup to visit one of the hospital’s clinics.Read More On www.rmch.org