April 2023

The Momentum Is Building

From the SNAPP Board

Planning the annual SNAPP National Meeting has a certain rhythm and cadence to it. Some elements of planning happen well in advance, while other elements come together as the meeting date approaches.

An important component also involves conducting a “debrief” immediately after each meeting to collect fresh thoughts on every aspect of the preceding event.

While we do have a short break before planning the next meeting begins, it’s generally only a week or two. Providing SNAPP members with the highest level of education, information, vendor interaction and fun are always at the top of the priority list. So, as the agenda starts to come together, things really start to roll.

With all that in mind, and with 2023 National Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, only five months out, we encourage you to register and book travel early. It is already shaping up to be awesome!

Visit us online for more information—and we’ll see you soon.

Strategies for Success

Hot Ideas

In recent issues of the SNAPP Monthly Insider, members have been sharing some great stories and pearls of wisdom.

In case you missed them, here are some highlights.

Do More for Your Current Patients

Travis Lehr, OD, FAAO, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, added Optos ultra-widefield imaging technology. Now, he can manage patients more efficiently, and patients appreciate not having to travel far or spend hours in an unfamiliar practice to be seen briefly by a specialist. When consults or referrals are necessary, Dr. Lehr can send patients with high-quality documentation. This investment has been extremely worthwhile because it has added to his mission of being able to do more for patients and has created a high level of loyalty. “We use this image as an educational tool displayed on a 42-inch TV in the exam room to discuss how their systemic health can show problems in their retina,” says Dr. Lehr. (Feb. 2022)

Dr. Lehr

Challenge Yourself

Camille Cohen, OD, FAAO, is a Licensed Operator (LO) in Brooklyn, New York. In 2022, she received her fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry, even though she initially felt she was not “fellowship material.” She is grateful that mentors pushed her to step outside of her comfort zone and challenge herself. (Nov. 2022)

Dr. Cohen

Integrate Core Values

Lori Edwards, LO with locations in Longmont and Loveland, Colorado, incorporated core team values and peer-to-peer evaluations into each staff member’s annual performance review. These tools encompass important traits, such as gratitude, self-improvement, teamwork, customer-centered service, accountability and executional excellence. “I want my customers to feel like their concerns are being recognized and taken care of, rather than emphasizing product selling. I want my staff to develop relationships through listening and offer solutions based on needs,” she says. “The sale is simply the end result of properly meeting their needs.” (Feb. 2022)

Lori Edwards

Shop Around

Michael Plumb and his sister Sara Petro are LOs in Lakeland and Brandon, Florida. To ensure that the team members provide all patients with the kind of personalized attention they deserve, Plumb encourages them to look at how they are treated in other stores. “I notice the level of customer service immediately when I shop. And I’m shocked at the experience some businesses provide,” he says. Because the LOs want their staff members to take excellent care of their customers, they work to take excellent care of the employees. “They are compensated well financially; we’re as flexible as we can be with schedules. We look for those extras—like buying them lunch or setting up bonuses—so they know how much we value them.” (Jan. 2022)

Sara Petro and Michael Plumb

We’d love to hear what ideas you’ve put into play that have boosted your efficiency and/or earnings. Drop a note here if you’d like to be contacted for a Case Study story.

SNAPP National Meeting

Speakers Are as Eager as Attendees

The agenda for the SNAPP National Meeting is starting to take shape, and speakers are getting excited to share topics with attendees. Several have created three-minute video messages on some of the key points they’ll be talking about.

Mark Hinton, CEO of eYeFacilitate and a retail advisor to eye care professionals, says that “prescribing with why” and an effective use of a checklist can help practices boost their capture rate.

Joe DeLoach, OD, president and CEO at Practice Compliance Solutions, will be talking about ocular and overall nutrition and health and how supplementation can help. See their previews here.

You can also register for the meeting to be held September 26–28 at The Palms Casino Resort on the site. Visit often as the agenda and other information will be updated on the site as events and speakers are confirmed.

The meeting will feature many of the aspects SNAPP members have come to appreciate and count on:

• 5 hours of free COPE and ABO CE

• A Meet Fellow Operators event

• Opportunities to gain financial information on how to increase profits and total gross revenue

• Time to network with vendors

• A Vision Expo West (VEW) Trade Show Pass for free access to the VEW trade show

Billing Tip of the Month from VisionWeb

Claim Aging: What to Look for and How to Tackle It

By Amanda Whitener,
Revenue Cycle Management Team at VisionWeb

Working aging claims doesn’t have to be daunting, but it is important that practices take a knowledgeable, structured approach when doing so.

Practices should monitor how much cash is outstanding on their aging month-over-month. Bucket the aging by date and pay close attention to the percentage of receivables over 90 days old. Anything more recent may still be processing with the payer. The industry standard for over 90 is less than 20% of the total aging. At this point, 2022 balances should account for less than 20% of the total receivables. To calculate for your practice, use the following formula.

(Total Receivables Over 90 / Total Receivables) x 100 = % Over 90

For example, ($4,000 (Over 90 Balances) / $50,000 (Total Balances in Aging)) x 100 = 8% Over 90

Keep in mind that the total in the aging report doesn’t necessarily equal the dollar value that is collectible. Much of the outstanding receivables can be from charges that will be adjusted contractually. In other words, if your system isn’t set up to apply the contractual adjustments to the charges at the time they are posted, the aging is likely quite inflated with uncollectible cash.

If your over 90 percentage seems out of control, check the following.

1. Does your staff know your payer time limits and the status of your aging? Survey to see if they know the practice’s typical percent over 90 as well as your payer-specific limits. They should be familiar with both the timely filing limits and the timely appeal limits. Payers allow for additional time after a denial to work the claim outside of the initial timely filing period. Not having a solid understanding of these limits could result in inappropriate adjustments and lost revenue.

2. Are payments being posted timely? If not, it’s important to remember that remits contain both payments and denials. That said, if payments aren’t being posted, not only is the aging artificially inflated, but it’s also highly likely that denials aren’t being worked as well.

3. Is most of the over 90 related to outstanding insurance balances or patient balances? Run an aging by insurance due and patient due to see where the issue truly lies.

• Mostly patient balances? It may be time to check into the front-end processes for collecting from patients upfront. Is your staff comfortable reading and interpreting benefits?

• Mostly insurance balances? Find out the main payer contributing to see if there are denial trends. Double check payers with the most aggressive timely limits to ensure those are worked first.

Check these items regularly to ensure staff hasn’t become complacent with working aging claims. Consistency is key to catalyzing a clean and healthy aging report.

Reach out to the VisionWeb team with any billing questions you have at this link; we might have the solution for you.

HR Update from Amcheck

Scheduling Flexibility

We want to offer more flexibility to our employees, but we have a hard time staffing our shifts as it is. Any suggestions?

It’s great that you are considering offering more flexibility to your employees. This is one way to increase retention and give your employees some control over their time at work.

There are a few things you can do to offer flexibility while still maintaining the coverage you need.

• Implement self-scheduling. Self-scheduling is when you let your employees know what shifts are needed and allow them to choose when they are going to work. You can use software or a paper calendar, but allowing employees some choice over the days and times that they will work gives them control over their week. This will also offload some of the manager’s responsibilities of regularly making a schedule.

• Communicate with employees about open shifts and encourage them to share changes to their schedule with managers or the team to keep shifts covered.

• Offer incentives, such as bonuses or shift pay, to persuade staff to pick up additional or less desirable shifts.

• Offer cross training. Not only does this give your employees the opportunity to learn a new skill, but it will give everyone more flexibility as they can cover different shifts and roles.

• Look at offering a variety of shift lengths or different starting times. Determine what shifts would work to provide the coverage you need and then work with your employees to discuss which options they would like to see.

This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.

News of Interest

What Patients Need to Know About the COVID-19 Booster

The number of cases of COVID-19 may be dropping, but the disease is still a concern for those who are 65 and older and those with weak immune systems. That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are offering a second bivalent booster shot. Read this Yale Medicine explanation here.

Promising Results With Stem Cell Research

A preclinical study announced in April 2023 that used stem cells to produce progenitor photoreceptor cells—light-detecting cells found in the eye—and then transplanted these into experimental models of damaged retinas has resulted in significant vision recovery. Read more here.

Patient Follow-up for Infectious Keratitis May Depend on Symptom Severity and Socioeconomic Factors

Pauline M. Dmitriev, MD, recently spoke on the socioeconomic factors and symptom severity that may contribute to follow-up adherence in patients with infectious keratitis. She and others conducted a review of patients diagnosed with infectious keratitis between March and September 2019 and found that patients with government insurance were less likely to follow up in the recommended time frame.

Dr. Dmitriev says that patients with financial or socioeconomical hardships who avoid follow-up visits are “more likely to have worse visual acuity at presentation, along with larger epithelial defect and infiltrate size and larger hypopyon.” Read the full story here.

Keratoconus Patients at Higher Risk for Anxiety and Fearful Thinking

A study published in Cornea found that keratoconus patients “have a specific neurotic temperament and are at a higher risk” for anxious or fearful thinking or behavior. The study evaluated 60 patients aged 18 to 30—half keratoconus cases and half a control group.

It was found that keratoconus cases had a lower quality of life than the control group and showed a “characteristic neurotic temperament.” Read the full story from Review of Optometry here.

Getty Images photo credits—anxiety fear: Doucefleur; claims AR: designer491; hot ideas: GOCMEN; keratitis eye: Scio21; scheduling: Olena_Zagoruyko; stem cells: OsakaWayne_Studios; and Vegas stage: chiewr

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