Four Issues of Mental Healthcare Reform That Still Need Improvement | Healthcare

Healthcare reform is becoming a reality and the importance of mental health and behavioral healthcare is receiving due notice. We find evidence of this achievement throughout the healthcare reform law – mental health and substance use services must be provided by all plans that participate in the new exchanges, and these benefits must be offered at parity. Healthcare home and Accountable Care Organization pilots must address substance use and mental health disorders. Additionally, the law includes a number of provisions specific to mental health and substance use, including authorization for new grants to co-locate services as well as new workforce development grants.Even with all the progress that has been made, many areas of policy and payment need to be improved for the behavioral health sector to fulfill its intended role in a reformed healthcare system. National and community mental health organizations around U.S. are committed to advancing the following issues:1.) Extension of the temporary Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage increase


As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Congress provided a temporary increase to the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage to help cash-strapped states meet their Medicaid obligations. An extension of this important provision is critical, given the combination of state revenue projections and Medicaid growth.2.) Federal policy and payment equity for behavioral health organizationsIn recognition of the healthcare access and use challenges confronting communities that are low income or have high rates of illness and few medical providers, Congress has enacted a number of policy and payment preferences for “safety net” providers, including enhanced reimbursement under Medicaid, federal funding to provide care to uninsured people, loan guarantees, and access to federally subsidized malpractice insurance. Unfortunately, the safety net does not offer equity. To correct this situation, mental health advocates are working with other national organizations to advance the notion of federally qualified behavioral health centers. This effort includes establishing national treatment and reporting standards for organizations that choose to obtain this designation as well as a proposed reimbursement model that more accurately reflects the costs of providing services.3.) Healthcare information technology funding fixFor healthcare reform to be successful, all medical providers need to share information to better coordinate care, reduce inefficiencies, and improve client outcomes. Behavioral healthcare providers need access to federal funding for the meaningful use of health IT (information technology). One solution is to extend Medicare and Medicaid facility payments to community mental health and addiction organizations as well as private and public psychiatric hospitals.4.) Medicare parity implementationIn June 2008, Congress enacted payment parity in Medicare’s Part B benefit, which provides copayment equity for mental health and addiction services. Although this is an important step, much more needs to be done in Medicare for there to be true parity. First, the types of outpatient mental health interventions paid for by Medicare need to be extended to include, for example, case management, psychiatric rehabilitation, and other intensive community-based interventions. Medicare also must recognize mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists as independent practitioners.


The policy successes of the last few years would not have been possible without the active involvement of advocates of mental healthcare – down to the individual level. Passage of healthcare reform is only the first of many steps necessary to improve the lives of people with addiction disorders and mental illness. National and community mental health organizations must continue to reply on the support and voice of the general public to bring this “unfinished business” to completion.

Busting Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myths | Healthcare

There are a lot of rumors that factoring is not an ideal payroll funding solution for healthcare staffing business owners and entrepreneurs. However, many of those rumors are a result of misinformation and poor staffing factoring research methods. This article will help debunk some of the more common factoring myths so that staffing business owners can make an educated decision when it comes time to finding the appropriate funding solution for their cash flow problems.Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myth #1: I’m nervous to factor my healthcare staffing invoices because my customers are not familiar with it.Reality: Factoring has been around for over 4,000 years. In fact, many big name companies have benefited from it, including: 3M Corporation, Best Buy, American Express Company, Motorola Inc., CVS Corporation, and Foot Locker. In addition, factoring is very prominent in the world of staffing because medical facilities routinely take weeks or months to pay their staffing vendors. In most cases, in order for a staffing business owner to utilize a factoring firm, the accounts payable clerk who handles the payables just needs to change the remittance address.


Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myth #2: Invoice Funding is an expensive financing option.Reality: It’s important to consider the fact that a factoring fee is not the same thing as an annualized interest rate. For example, if a factoring firm charges a staffing agency owner 3% per month, it cannot simply be translated into 36% APR. Rather, a factoring firm’s fees stop the day an invoice is paid. Staffing firms do not typically wait 12 months to receive payment on an invoice, so the fee is not nearly as large as one would perceive it to be.Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myth #3: Factoring requires a long-term commitment. Reality: Unlike a bank loan, most factoring companies who work with staffing agencies do not require a fixed-term financing commitment. You choose when, who, how much and how long to factor your invoices.Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myth #4: With factoring, I will lose control over my accounts.Reality: Selling staffing invoices makes it easy for business owners to manage their invoices. Most factoring firms offer their clients access to financial reports weekly or daily. In fact, there are many factors who grant access to a secure online reporting system where staffing entrepreneurs can review purchased accounts and collections in real time via a secure Internet connection.Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myth #5: The hospitals and nursing homes will think my agency has cash flow problems.Reality: There are many businesses who use factoring and many medical facilities are already familiar with healthcare staffing factoring. Once alerted of the change in remittance address, healthcare facilities simply view the factor as the agency’s new accounts receivable department.Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myth #6: The hospitals and nursing homes where I staff will be bothered by frequent collection calls.


Reality: A factoring firm will initially contact an agency’s customer to verify that the invoices are valid. If there is a problem and the staffing factor cannot successfully collect on the invoices, the factor will contact the agency owner to discuss the issue.Healthcare Staffing Factoring Myth #7: The staffing business model is too complicated for a factoring firm to understand.Reality: There are many accounts receivable factoring firms that are familiar with this intricacies involved with the staffing industry. As a result of their industry expertise, these factoring firms have specialized funding programs specifically geared towards staffing agencies.Certainly, reviewing these seven common myths will help staffing agency owners who are trying to piece together the facts about invoice factoring. Hopefully, this article has proven that there are two-sides to every story. You can learn more about managing factoring fears, all it takes is a little research to get started!