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Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 10/31/22

October 31, 2022 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

I spent a good chunk of time this weekend preparing cranky correspondence to send to organizations that can’t seem to figure out that I don’t work for them any more or that I’m no longer a participating provider with a given payer since leaving the practice. Since I resigned from these organizations anywhere from six months to three years ago, I’m tired of dealing with the continued messages and requests for information. The off-boarding processes were variable across the different organizations, so it’s not surprising that there’s still a bit of a mess to tidy up. Still, one would think that with part-time or contractor physician positions, they would have their act more together.

Let’s take my most recent in-person employer for starters. I was a part time W-2 employee and resigned more than one calendar year ago. Apparently I didn’t get terminated properly with a couple of payers, who continue to reach out to me asking me to update my provider file with copies of my license, Drug Enforcement Agency registration, and state control substance documentation. I’ve sent multiple emails informing them of my last date of employment at the practice, and although a couple of them eventually stopped sending me reminders, there are a couple that are persistent. It’s tempting to ignore the communications, but I want to make sure all my provider files are closed out properly in the event that I join a new practice down the road. It’s always good to have definitive closure, but let’s hope it doesn’t take another 12 months to get it.

Then there’s one of my telehealth side gigs, where I only saw patients for a couple of months before determining that not only was the platform horrendous, but they could never seem to figure out how to pay me correctly. Despite having given ample notice that I was leaving and would not be seeing any patients during my notice period, they went ahead and signed me up for multiple insurance plans after I tendered my resignation. It’s likely a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, but I’m tired of getting correspondence from various state-specific plans that can’t seem to understand I’m no longer participating in the provider group or planning to submit any claims.

This same platform continues to text me about high patient volumes despite my trying to opt out of the texts by following the included instructions. I’ve also tried sending emails to various individuals within the company with no response, which leads me to think that either those individuals have moved on or they don’t care. Since I no longer have access to the platform, I can’t look up any additional email addresses or contact information than what I have, so I’m sending my correspondence directly to the CEO and CMO of record as well as the head of the physician group, in hopes that they will respond and point me in the right direction.

There’s also another telehealth side gig, where I signed up but never saw a single patient. After watching them exhibit some unseemly behavior with colleagues, I decided not to engage with them. They followed up on my resignation letter by sending me an administrative termination of their own several weeks later, which I thought was somewhat overkill. They’re still sending me regular emails asking me to complete required training and given their track record with others I want to make sure my provider file is entirely closed out.

My favorite target of cranky correspondence is Illinois Medicaid, which is the “undead” of administrative healthcare organizations. I haven’t been a participating provider since 2014, but every now and then, some computer system somewhere goes haywire and decides that I need to update my provider records. The letters come on paper to my home, I always reply on paper because it seems to work, and I don’t hear from them again for a couple of years. I don’t want to wind up published in a directory as someone who is participating because it has the potential to lead to a lot of phone calls and wasted effort for patients who are just looking for a primary care physician and will keep working their way down the list until they find someone whose patient panel isn’t closed.

We’ll see if this batch of letters and emails is successful at tidying up loose ends or if I’ll still be dealing with them in 2023. It seems like there ought to be a better way. I know there are services out there, but the last time I looked at them, they were fairly pricey. Maybe I can find a retired medical practice manager who is looking to make a little cash on the side and enlist their help to get it done. With the number of people fleeing healthcare employment, it’s not a farfetched idea.

I also have a former employer in the tech space that can’t seem to figure out that I don’t work there even though it’s been more than four years. Not only do I get correspondence from the company proper, but also all of their vendors, including health insurance and more. They just sent me notice of the upcoming open enrollment period for health insurance and encouraged me to sign up quickly and not wait until the last minute. I wonder what would happen if I tried to register for a health plan – might be a good project for next weekend assuming an adequate number of cocktails beforehand.

Speaking of cocktails, I’m prepping to attend back-to-back conferences with CHIME and HLTH and the social event invitations have been trickling in. I almost spit my drink when talking to some colleagues about the latter, which they referred to as “the conference with no vowels.” There’s a lot of discussion about the utility of the HLTH conference and whether it’s worth the money. This will be my first year attending, so I’ll have to let you know in a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to some warmer weather in San Antonio and Las Vegas, respectively. I’m not looking forward to being in crowded indoor spaces and potentially bringing home COVID, influenza, or some other respiratory illness, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

Any recommendations for a first-time attendee at HLTH? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Enjoy HLTH. I went last year. Just virtual before. The first incarnation seemed more like a way for CEOs to meet each other and network. Talk to Nancy Brown from Oak HC. She knows what’s going on. HLTH has since become a way for investors to show off the companies they are investing in. It’s also a way for start-ups to find investment. Not too many buyers unless you are selling pick-axes to gold miners. By that I mean, there aren’t a ton of health system or payer buyers. Although I was surprised at the few that I did meet who were checking out digital health solutions. I suppose some of them could have been investors too. So not just institutional investors like VCs. Payers have lots of cash to invest. I would imagine this year is going to be interesting because the number of deals and the amount of $ is decreasing year over year. Still more than 2019, I think. But the market, the state of the world, etc. definitely changes things. I wonder if these conditions will focus the mind and weed out the fluff. Only really good ideas that actually address the quintuple aim will win the day. Full disclosure, I’m employed by a vendor and sponsor (of this site and HLTH). If you are working on building health equity, you need to address health literacy. Come see my colleagues at meeting “pod” 43.

  2. Always love your perspectives.

    Can you please copy and paste your experience with provider data to the above CMS request for information on national healthcare directory?

    I can’t imagine the math on how many others are in the same boat as you daily. I can only imagine the levels of feedback that will come in directly related to protecting the status quo or how hard it will be be to improve this area.

    Keeping the real human impact at the focus is so important, especially since we’ve all been the patient dialing for dollars looking for a new doc on aged data.

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