Contract changes mean savings

In continuing efforts to control expenses, the new Auglaize Acres administrator recently recommended several contractual changes.
The Auglaize County commissioners approved those changes, recommended during the past few weeks.
Auglaize Acres Administrator Connie Pierce said making the changes and watching finances is as important as ever with the new state budget decreasing the Medicare rate the Acres receives by 9 percent beginning July 1.
“We’re looking at ways we can be most efficient and good stewards of money,” Pierce said. “Its a tight economy and we’re looking to control expenses.”
A laboratory services agreement recently made with Medlab effective beginning Sept. 1 is to remain in effect until it is terminated. According to the resolution, as the Acres operates and maintains a skilled nursing facility in which patients are provided medical care, it is necessary to provide lab services as part of this care.
“Making the change, we again were looking at less costs in light of the governor’s budget,” Pierce said.
Also beginning in September, the Acres plans to enter a one-year agreement with Onhealthcare for podiatry, dental, audiology and vision services.
Pierce said the company, which she has worked with recently, provides excellent services and brings those services to the facility at no cost, billing the appropriate third-party payer.
“The idea is they bring services in-house so we don’t have to pay to transport residents out,” Pierce said. “It’s a way to save some Medicare dollars.”
She said while the Acres already has a mobile dental plan, it couldn’t cover all the services that this contract can.
By implementing an online training program through Silverchair Learning Systems, Pierce said she’s also hoping to reduce costs.
The online training used as staff inservice would cost $4,100 plus an initial activation fee of $250 for 100 employees. The contract covers 2011-2013.
Pierce said money for the training is to be paid by donations made to the nursing home.
“STNAs need to have 12 hours of continued education every year,” Pierce said. “By providing in-house training here, it saves money and enables them to do it at their convenience based on their schedules.”
Additional modules are to be purchased to update a Point Click Care computer software system already in place at the Acres. Cost for the added modules is $2,500 for a one-time implementation and training fee plus a little less than $300 monthly fee for the subscription service.
“It’s an addition to what we currently have,” Pierce said.
She said the modules would add the financial component to the nursing home’s electronic medical record.
“It gives us better control of expenses and allows us to monitor by department to make sure we are doing it across the board,” Pierce said.
The Acres also recently entered into a mutual aid contract with St. Marys Living Center for quality patient care in emergency circumstances for residents.
Pierce said the routine agreement allows for the transfer of patients in case of disaster.
The Acres already has such an agreement with area hospitals, so the latest agreement would add another option to the list.
“We try to have two or three we could transfer residents to in case of a disaster, fire or anything else that requires evacuation of residents,” Pierce said.