How Mid Atlantic Retina Releases Medical Records in 2 Days

“ChartRequest is absolutely worth the time, it saves a lot of time, and it makes life a lot easier.” – Shannon Raetsch, Compliance Liaison for Mid Atlantic Retina

Mid Atlantic Retina at Wills Eye Hospital is a leader in eyecare with 22 specialists in 17 locations across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Founded in 1974, Mid Atlantic Retina has spent nearly 5 decades researching retinal conditions, developing advanced treatments for sight restoration, and improving the quality of life for the communities they serve.

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Mid Atlantic Retina at Wills Eye Hospital #2 in the nation out of 4515 hospitals. Residents and fellows come from across the country to study under the guidance of the ophthalmologists pioneering the future of eyecare with new surgical techniques and therapeutics for diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and more.

Thanks to the strong reputations of the doctors at Mid Atlantic Retina, patients come from far and wide seeking care for conditions the average ophthalmology organization may lack the technology or specialized experience to treat. 

CHALLENGE

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Shannon Raetsch, the Compliance Liaison for Mid Atlantic Retina. We discussed her experience handling the release of information for such a renowned organization before and after entering a partnership with ChartRequest in 2020.

Before adopting our release of information software, the organization used spreadsheets and word documents to track requests and payments. This tedious, manual labor devoured Shannon’s time.

Here’s what her average day looked like before ChartRequest:

  1. Requests submitted to Mid Atlantic Retina usually hit Shannon’s desk after 2-3 days of reaching Mid Atlantic Retina.
  2. For each request, Shannon needed to get a doctor’s signature for the release of information.
  3. Shannon then calculated the best compliant price for the records per pricing statutes from 3 different states.
  4. Next, Shannon mailed each invoice to the requestor and waited for a response.
  5. Every Friday, Shannon entered the system to check for payments and release records.

In her words, “It just took weeks. It was not efficient, and it took forever.”

Despite her efforts in calculating complaint prices and sending invoices, most requestors ignored their payment obligations. 

“Patients never paid, insurance companies never paid, and legal teams paid maybe 70% of the time.”

This cost Shannon at least 20 hours of tedious administrative labor per week. Despite her efforts, the organization did not receive due revenue to recuperate the costs of releasing records.

In 2020, employee hours were reduced in response to the pandemic, and the 20 hours of necessary labor to fulfill record requests became even more significant. It was at this time that Mid Atlantic Retina began seeking a better solution.

Objectives:

  1. Eliminate miscommunications and lost faxes by centralizing all incoming and outgoing requests across 17 locations.
  2. Reduce the number of hours necessary to keep up with all requests.
  3. Improve turnaround time for crucial records to expedite patient care.
  4. Enhance transparency to reduce status update calls from requestors.

SOLUTION

Keeping up with releasing, billing, and invoicing can be difficult even at full capacity, so the staffing challenges and reduced hours caused by the pandemic accentuated the most significant pain points. When Mid Atlantic Retina began its partnership with ChartRequest in 2020, handling the release of information quickly became a breeze. 

“Suddenly I was the one who could just get it all done. I didn’t have to wait for other people, I didn’t have to hunt anything down. When people pay, it’s on ChartRequest. Because of that, I’ve been able to devote 90% of my time within MAR to other projects.”

Our user-friendly design helped Shannon’s team easily adapt to the organization’s new medical record exchange solution. Also, uniting Mid Atlantic Retina staff on our centralized dashboard helped leadership track request fulfillment efficiency, incoming payments, and more. 

In addition to improving transparency within the organization, we’ve helped Mid Atlantic Retina enhance transparency for patient, provider, and third-party professional requestors with real-time status updates available online anytime. 

I used to get a lot of “we’re waiting for this” and “I don’t have the invoice” calls. Now invoices are sent by email, and they’re not getting lost anymore.”

By reducing the time investment necessary for the release of information, ChartRequest helps reduce overhead staffing costs while increasing revenue. Because we request payment pre-approval, Mid Atlantic Retina builds revenue instantly for every billable request. 

“Payment is coming in faster. The automatic download is a godsend for both sides.”

BENEFIT

Not only do we help organizations like Mid Atlantic Retina increase revenue collection, but we also make compliance with federal, state, and local regulations easy to help them avoid costly penalties.

For example, while the Right of Access Initiative has caused the HIPAA violation penalty rate to spike, turnaround times are no longer a concern for Mid Atlantic Retina.

“I no longer had to get doctor signatures in person, I could email signature requests to them, and that has vastly improved the turnaround time. It used to take me up to 3 weeks to get a doctor to sign a document. Now, 2 days is a long turnaround time.”

ChartRequest mitigates or eliminates the burdens of compliant record exchange, such as request pricing, lost faxes, manual data entry, and other common pain points, to free up additional time for more impactful duties.

“When a record request comes in from ChartRequest, I get it in and out in 10 minutes. Sometimes I can build, send it off, and forget about it in 10 minutes because they autopay and we’re done.”

With her saved time, Shannon has started shredding and/or digitizing over 600 boxes of old paper records. 

ChartRequest has also helped improve Shannon’s personal life. Without the risk of delayed requests, Shannon can enjoy vacations without worrying about the workload waiting for her return. 

“It’s not only easy to stay compliant, but it’s also helped my bonuses because MAR can clearly see that I’m doing my job in under 2 days.”

This consistently quick turnaround time makes it easy for Shannon to meet the 30-day deadline, even when there’s a large surge of requests. 

ChartRequest is thrilled to help Mid Atlantic Retina achieve fast turnaround times, simplify compliance, and eliminate stress.