Time means everything to Michelle Wiggins, who juggles many roles as a nurse practitioner, chiropractor, nursing PhD candidate, and owner of internal medicine practice Wiggins Worthy Wellness. Although Wiggins is passionate about serving patients in the rural Texas community where she was born and raised, the location means that she has struggled to find, train, and retain the administrative talent needed to help her practice run smoothly. As a result, Wiggins used to take her computer home after work every night to complete time-consuming and complex administrative tasks like coding and billing. The inefficient process led to a claims backlog and meant that the practice was leaving revenue on the table.
More time with patients, less time on paperwork
Since transitioning to athenahealth’s medical coding and enhanced claim resolution services, Wiggins is able to focus on what she does best: providing excellent care. “I definitely spend more time with the patient,” said Wiggins. “I feel like I’m a better provider, because I’m not in there thinking, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t know how to bill for that.’ If I need to do something, I do it. I know athenahealth will find the code and tell me.”
Wiggins also reports that she’s able to complete what’s left of her administrative work, like closing charts, much more efficiently. She doesn’t recall the last time she had to bring her computer home to finish work after-hours. “Just closing out a chart might have taken me 20 minutes before, versus two or three minutes now, because I’m not responsible for any of the coding and the billing,” explained Wiggins. “Before, I had to come in on my days off to look up codes and work claims. All of that is off of my plate now.”
Wiggins credits athenahealth’s team of claim resolution experts with helping the practice increase revenue. While she was pleased to see the coding service helped the practice get claims paid more efficiently, Wiggins still didn’t have enough time in each day to process the other aspects of the claim management workflows. Since signing on to Enhanced Claim Resolution, 84 percent of the practice’s claim issues have been resolved without requiring additional input, and client days in accounts receivable (cDAR) improved by 37 percent.
“With Enhanced Claim Resolution, we had an immediate shift. We could see the change when athenahealth picked it up. I used to dread looking in those hold buckets, but now I check it once a week, and there’s rarely anything I need to do,” said Wiggins. “Having that service incorporated into athenaOne is huge for a small practice like us.”
Gaining these expert resources has helped the practice thrive during the turbulence of the pandemic. When COVID-19 necessitated a rapid shift to virtual care, Wiggins had the support she needed to adapt and get configured with telehealth quickly. “I was one of the only people I know who didn’t really have a huge income loss during COVID,” said Wiggins. “My collections went up, and I know it was because athenahealth was staying on top of everything when telemedicine hit. They were able to jump in and manage that, where we had no way of knowing how to do all that.”
Before, I had to come in on my days off to look up codes and work claims. All of that is off of my plate now.
– Michelle Wiggins, nurse practitioner, chiropractor, and owner, Wiggins Worthy Wellness