Moving From “Sick Care” to “Health Care”


LVM Systems


By Mark Dwyer

In 2012 our government enacted legislature that mandated U.S. hospitals reduce re-admissions by emergency departments (ED) admits for the first thirty days post discharge. To force this change in behavior, rather than waiting for hospitals to choose to proactively address the overall health of their communities, the government began penalizing hospitals who had higher than average readmission rates through a deduction in their reimbursed Medicare payments.

This was a radical change in American healthcare as it put the onus of keeping patients well on the hospitals and providers who treated them. No longer could hospitals simply wait for individuals to require hospital care, rather it became their responsibility to proactively manage ED admitted patients for at least the first thirty days post discharge. If they were unsuccessful in providing the patient with the tools and help needed to keep them from re-admitting, they bore the weight of a financial penalty.

Initially, the penalty amounted to 1 percent of the hospital’s total annual Medicare reimbursement. It was tied to three specific DRGs (diagnosis related groups): acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), and pneumonia. Each hospital was scored against its neighboring hospitals to determine which ones had readmission rates in the highest twenty-fifth percentile of their surrounding hospitals. If a patient who had been admitted via the ED due to one of these three DRGs required readmission within thirty days post discharge, and the hospital’s readmission rate was in the highest twenty-fifth percentile of hospitals in the area, the hospital’s overall annual Medicare reimbursement was reduced by 1 percent. Although 1 percent may not seem like a lot, when it was applied against the hospital’s entire Medicare reimbursement dollars it was significant—especially for hospitals operating with only 2-3 percent profit margins.

But the government didn’t stop there. In year two of the program, the percentage of Medicare reduction was increased to 2 percent of the hospital’s total annual Medicare reimbursement amount. Then in year three, not only was the percentage again increased to 3 percent of the hospital’s overall Medicare reimbursement, but three additional DRGs were added: elective knee replacement, elective hip replacement, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

At this point many hospitals began paying attention, especially when over 2,200 U.S. hospitals were penalized for failing to reduce their readmission rates. To address this ever-increasing reimbursement reduction, hospitals had to implement programs to manage Medicare patients post discharge for at least the first thirty days. To do so, many home grown programs were introduced with varying success.

A number of healthcare software vendors also began developing and marketing programs to help educate and manage the patients post discharge. Some of these programs involved on-site care management visits, phone calls, reminder texts, and emails. Some also involved extensive motivational programs designed to not only assist the patient in remaining proactive in their care but also the patient’s caregiver. Too often the Medicare patient’s primary caregiver is their elderly spouse who is also battling a litany of health issues. Assisting them and other familial caregivers was determined to play a critical role in the process.

But what about the many patients who suffer from more than one chronic disease? Some vendors realized that many Medicare patients suffer from co-morbidities. It is not unlikely for an individual with diabetes to also be obese or someone with HF to have been admitted with an AMI DRG. Initially, since these various disease states were defined as separate care plans, patients suffering from co-morbidities experienced multiple interactions post discharge to manage all conditions that could possibly result in a costly readmission.

To motivate patients and their caregivers to follow post-discharge instructions regarding medications, to make and attend post-discharge provider appointments, and to integrate with the hospital’s care management or medical call centers, vendors have begun collaborating with leading content developers. By adding patient educational and motivational training content to their software programs, post-discharge programs can enable the nurse or care coordinator conducting follow-up calls to select the specific information needed to address each of the patient’s multiple issues. This co-morbidity program approach eliminates the need for redundant calls to address each of the patient’s healthcare issues. Instead it enables the nurse or care coordinator to select the content, surveys, motivational scripts, and other resources needed to meet all of the patient’s unique needs across a wide array of health conditions.

Future thinking hospitals and providers who see the need for follow-up beyond the initial thirty days post discharge are beginning to take a stand for long-term health management by using customizable co-morbidity programs. This is a real step in the direction of healthcare management. Imagine a future where healthcare generates greater revenues from having empty beds, keeping area residents healthy and at home.

LVM SystemsMark Dwyer is the COO of LVM Systems, Inc. For more information about LVM’s Co-morbidity Care Management Program (CCMP), contact LVM Systems sales at 480-633-8200 x223 or info@lvmsystems.com.

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LVM Systems Announces Poly Plan Health Coaching Program

LVM SystemsLVM Systems has developed the Poly Plan – Health Coaching program to enable RN care coordinators to manage the health of multi-morbidity patients. Poly Plan helps identify the appropriate surveys to complete with the patient, the information to send, the health statistics to gather, and the goals to set – all within one call.

There are two primary plan frequencies: The comprehensive plan is designed to follow-up with the patient on a less frequent basis, such as quarterly. The high frequency plan involves contacting the patient weekly or monthly. Based on updated standards of care, care coordinators use surveys to gather data on the HEDIS and disease-specific medical care standards, as recommended by the corresponding accrediting organizations and authorities. The system also includes the Zung Depression survey and Diabetes Distress Screening (DDS17).

Once the appropriate data is gathered, the care coordinator accesses Poly Plan’s Health Information library as needed. This information is shared with the patient using email, text, or paper.

Key reporting tools assist with patient assessment and streamlined call processing. The at-a-glance report gives care coordinators a quick way to view the patient’s health history, lab values, appointments, and goals. Supporting the at-a-glance report is the adherence score card report to alert care coordinators to any behaviors that need to be addressed during the contact. Key components of Poly Plan include tools for patient engagement, self-management, patient goals, behavior change, improved outcomes, and reporting.

LVM Systems’ Poly Plan – Health Coaching program provides the infrastructure to effectively improve care, education, and behavior modification. The result is a program that can provide healthier outcomes for patients, increase customer loyalty, and positively affect an organization’s bottom line.

For more information email Heather Jacobs or call 480-633-8200 x333.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

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LVM Systems Introduces iCentaurus Reporting

LVM SystemsLVM Systems released iCentaurus reporting to enable a call center’s remote partners to access data and print reports from authorized databases within the call center’s environment. With this remote reporting tool, healthcare call centers can allow their off-site partners to print patient charts, class rosters, membership lists, and management reports.

Now, when a revenue tracking report is due for a 6:00 a.m. meeting, it will be available with the click of a button, complete with up-to-date data. According to Cheryl Baker, manager of client services for LVM Systems, “Many of our clients have been asking for this functionality. Providing controlled remote access to data and reporting will greatly strengthen our clients’ relationships with the entities they serve.”

Mark Dwyer, COO at LVM added, “Our clients are constantly being asked to do more with less. ICentaurus reporting allows them to leverage their staff, while continuing to meet and exceed the reporting needs of their partners. Doing more with less is what it is all about today.”

ICentaurus reporting is locally hosted at the healthcare call center site and shared with partners outside the call center through a secured web connection. Once rights to specific databases are granted, and access to specific reports are authorized, remote partners can login and generate their defined reports as agreed to by the host organization.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Sue Hawkins Joins LVM Systems

LVM SystemsLVM Systems announced that Sue Hawkins has joined LVM Systems as director, business development. “It’s not every day a company has the opportunity to hire such a strong player in our field as Sue Hawkins.” said Mark Dwyer, chief operations officer at LVM. “Sue brings with her years of business and client development experience working with healthcare software solutions. Her tenure in the industry will provide additional depth to our management team.”

Sue has worked in the healthcare call center industry for sixteen years. Her experience includes twelve years in executive positions covering inside sales, field sales, and account management selling a variety of healthcare software products. Following that, she spent four years as senior sales executive selling various call center software products in North America. Her experience has put her in front of many C-Suite executives enabling her to develop and nurture numerous business relationships.

“Sue has built a solid reputation in this industry,” said Robert Cluff, CFO. “I am certain that our clients will find her to be a valued resource.” At LVM she will support and assist sales, manage business partner relationships, and work with customers and new product and feature development.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

LVM Offers 25th Anniversary Pricing for 2013 Users’ Conference

LVM SystemsPricing for this year’s users’ conference is $250 for anyone registering before August 15. After August 15 the registration fee is $425. Any organization that registers multiple attendees will receive an additional $25 off per person if they register at the same time. For the past few years, the registration fee has been $595. The conference is scheduled for October 23 and 24 at the Double Tree by Hilton Phoenix-Gilbert Hotel and SanTan Elegante Conference Center in Gilbert, Ariz.

“One goal with our pricing is to encourage long-time clients who have not attended in a few years to join us,” Baker said. “Our conference already provided tremendous professional development value. We are hoping this one-time, special pricing will show our attendees how much we appreciate them.”

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

LVM Systems Releases 2013 Version of Centaurus

LVM SystemsLVM Systems released the 2013 version of its flagship healthcare call center software Centaurus. “This release represents a huge leap forward in our clients’ ability to have unprecedented control over the way they use our software,” said Jake Johnson, VP of .Net Development. “We have been working on these advancements for a few years. We are confident our clients will be pleased with the upgrades.”

LVM Systems’ Centaurus software is used by healthcare call centers to help manage incoming and outgoing calls. The 2013 version allows managers to personally customize their screens to increase efficiency and improve call flow. It also gives managers and users greater control over the surveys they create and conduct.

Additionally, the 2013 version enables clients to translate their software package into the language of their choosing. LVM Systems has developed a Spanish-language version. “Two things have really driven our ability to make such great advancements in our software,” Johnson said. “One is our clients. They continually give us feedback on software improvements that make them more effective. The other is our move to the .net platform. This has allowed us to write more flexible software code.”

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

LVM Systems Celebrates 25 Years in Business

LVM SystemsLVM Systems announced that 2013 marks the company’s 25th year serving the healthcare call center software industry. “This is a very important milestone for us,” said Mark Dwyer, LVM’s Chief Operating Officer since 2003. “Being in business this long is a testament to LVM’s constant quest to develop the best possible healthcare call center software solutions.”

LVM Systems was founded by Les Mortensen in 1988. At the time, he was the company’s sole employee. “The healthcare call center industry was just starting then,” Mortensen recalled. “After listening to what hospitals required, call center software solutions were developed to best address their needs. From those early years, LVM has established a great reputation for answering the needs of our industry.”

“Our growth has been steady and strategic,” said Robert Cluff, LVM’s Chief Financial Officer since 1998. “We’ve remained focused on what we do well.” By adding two to three employees per year, LVM Systems now employs 61. In recent years, LVM Systems has also established clients in foreign countries.

“We’re in a very exciting time in healthcare,” Dwyer said. “LVM Systems looks forward to another 25 years of helping our clients succeed.”

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

LVM Systems Announces 2012 Users’ Conference

LVM SystemsLVM Systems has opened registration for its 2012 Users’ Conference. The two-day conference offers LVM customers and other healthcare call center professionals the opportunity to learn about industry practices. “This is shaping up to be a fantastic conference,” said LVM Systems’ Cheryl Baker, manager, client services. “We are recruiting energized speakers who are eager to talk about the promising future of healthcare call centers.”

The conference is scheduled October 24 and 25 at the Double Tree by Hilton SanTan Elegante Hotel in Gilbert, Ariz. The theme for this year’s conference is “Positively Impacting Lives,” which is a tribute to LVM’s newly articulated mission statement: “Positively impacting lives through innovative, sustainable healthcare call center solutions.”

“There are so many ways healthcare call centers can provide increasing value to their organizations,” said Mark Dwyer, LVM Systems’ chief operating officer. There is also a preconference Telehealth Nursing Practice Core Course (TNPCC) on October 23, offering eight CEU credits to attendees completing the course. The early-bird fee (ending August 31) for the TNPCC is $275 and includes continental breakfast and lunch. The registration fee for the conference is $595 per person; learn more at www.lvmsystems.com.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

LVM Systems Expands Facility

LVM SystemsLVM Systems announced that it is expanding its existing campus with a second building. “Thanks to a loyal and growing client base, we felt the time was right to commit to this expansion,” said Mark Dwyer, Chief Operating Officer at LVM. “This expansion allows us to better serve our clients. It also allows us to innovate and bring new products and services to the healthcare call center marketplace.”

“When I joined LVM nine years ago, we had 16 employees and we were working out of a small, rented office space,” Dwyer added. “It has been an honor to be a part of LVM’s growth.”

The new building will be built directly north of LVM’s existing 10,000 square-foot headquarters in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa and will be 7,000 square feet, housing up to 40 employees. LVM currently employees 61 people nationwide, with 51 housed in the existing building.

Mesa-based ArizonaWest Contracting is managing the five-month construction schedule, which began February first. “We are honored that LVM put their trust in us,” said Jason Fischbeck, President of ArizonaWest. “Like LVM, we are a local, growing company. We look forward to helping them in their expansion plans.”

LVM was founded by Les Mortensen in 1988. Over the course of 24 years, LVM has continually grown at a steady pace. The company carries no debt and provides career opportunities for its employees.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

LVM Systems Launches iNurseTriage.com

LVM SystemsLVM Systems launched iNurseTriage.com, a web-based triage tool designed for physician offices and clinics.  “We have heard from physician offices around the country,” said Mark Dwyer, Chief Operations Officer at LVM.  “They have been looking for a triage solution that was did not require a large capital investment and could be accessed at their location.”

In development for nearly a year, iNurseTriage.com provides doctors’ offices with LVM’s 23 years of experience in telephone triage.  Doctors’ office personnel log into iNurseTriage.com and conduct a triage encounter similar to those of a healthcare call center.  A major difference however, is that with an iNurseTriage.com encounter, the nurse does not collect any personal information.  Once the triage encounter is completed, the person managing the call has the choice of loading the information into the office’s electronic medical record (EMR) system or printing it and adding it to the patient’s chart.

“We designed it to be fast and simple to use,” said Brian Mortensen, iNurseTriage.com’s developer.  “It provides a realistic solution for physician offices.”

iNurseTriage.com features protocols developed by Dr. Barton Schmitt (pediatrics) and Dr. David Thompson (adult), which are considered by many to be the gold standard in the industry.

The usage fee for iNurseTriage.com is $0.97 per encounter.  To acquaint potential users with iNurseTriage.com, LVM is offering the first 20 encounters at no cost.  When making a triage encounters purchase, users enter the code LIKEIT into the coupon box to get 20 free triage encounters.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]