Behavioral health practices often have to fight for insurance remuneration, so it is important to have solid treatment planning tools and methodology in place to show the medical necessity of your rendered services. Below are 5 small but expensive mistakes being made by providers in practices of all sizes – and how to remedy them.
Focusing solely on client problems – rather than their strengths
Your treatment plan template should include areas to specify your patients strengths, not just their problems. Historically, treatment plans have focused on what is wrong with the client, which of course is not very encouraging to the patient while creating a plan to get better. By focusing on the client’s strengths, it not only empowers the patient in making decisions regarding their treatment, it creates a positive environment for them to succeed and complete their program with you.
Not using measurable goals
Good treatment plans can facilitate integrated care models, especially if they incorporate measurable treatment outcomes. Outcome measurements help track progress towards goals empirically and help facilitate best practices like the Golden Thread. Measuring simple outcomes will tighten communications within your local referral networks and even open the door for more referrals. Furthermore, as payors shift to performance-based payment models, outcomes-based care can lead to higher reimbursement rates.
Writing shelf-warming plans instead of living documents that show progress
Relating all progress notes back to the treatment plan is increasingly important for the success of the client’s treatment. For many practices, the main obstacle for this has been EHR functionality; providers expect their EHR software to assist in managing the administrative work. But as many EHRs fall short, the burden is shifted to the therapists and administrators to manage. This becomes cumbersome when multiple providers are involved with a given client’s care–especially with the high level of coordination required: collaborating on documentation, reviewing plans, getting necessary signatures. A treatment plan can be challenging enough to put together – it should certainly be utilized and kept up to date rather than just sit on the proverbial shelf.
Documenting plans just to satisfy payors rather than clients
Treatment plans really have two main drivers: the client’s needs and the requirements imposed by your mix of insurance contracts. It’s a fine balance to address both at the same time in your documentation. Your framework for writing your treatment plans should allow for ease of use for you and your client, while automating the regulatory requirements and hoops you need to jump through. For example, a library of frequently-cited goals linked to often-encountered problem areas can help you and your client align in their treatment, while simple technical functionality can track important dates and capture signatures so you worry less about it.
Inconsistent planning across common diagnostic problem areas
Comprehensive notes are how payors evaluate if you should be paid. Without reliable content based on commonly encountered diagnoses, practices can’t depend on the quality of their treatment plans and notes. Consistency is key, especially when multiple providers collaborate for the same client. Creating templates for problems, with options for goals, measurable objectives, and evidence-based interventions across modern diagnostic areas in DSM-5/ICD-10 will provide a quality baseline for each patient which then can be tailored. This will improve the quality of your documentation while making it simpler.
Treatment Planning tools with Valant
Valant’s enhanced treatment plan can help you avoid these costly mistakes by integrating outcome measures and progress notes to your treatment plan loaded with content built by behavioral health experts.
Integrated with our EHR and Mobile Notes, Valant’s Treatment Plan Tool offers flexibility through ease of use while providing a solid foundation of evidence-based content based on DSM-5/ICD-10 diagnoses. Combined with built-in administrative tools for tracking updates, review dates, supervision, and capturing signatures, we’ve got you and your caseload covered from top to bottom!
Learn how our treatment plan lives up to even the toughest government standards to help you earn higher reimbursement.
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