Revenue Cycle

What patient access managers should watch with RACs

Patient Access Weekly Advisor, October 1, 2008

Editor’s note: These tips are provided by Tanja M. Twist, director of patient financial services at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, CA. Twist is the finance chair for the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) who has fought Congress on Capitol Hill for better transparency and answers to concerns with RACs on behalf of hospitals.

1. Review your ED admissions. Twist cautions that many admissions from the ER are made because the facility needs to free up ED beds, which can lead to medical necessity problems with the RAC. “Emergency rooms are busy all across the country,” Twist says. “A key component is to make sure you meet the medical necessity criteria for the ER admissions too. The nature of the emergency department beast is things get rushed, but you have to ensure there are protocols in place to watch the ER admissions, too.”

If you do not have a 24/7 ED case coordinator position that monitors admissions, ensure someone like your case manager or you, the patient access manager, comes in first thing in the morning to clean up the admissions, she says.

2. Review your one-day stays. “This is another piece the RACs are focusing on,” Twist says. “Should those patients be observations? I’ve seen admitting orders just say ‘admit.’ You have to make sure that physician orders have an ‘admit to acute or admit to observation’ designation. There could be some type of check box for the physician to clearly indicate his selection. From here, the concern is whether or not the acute admission meets criteria.”


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