Answer questions in your own newsletter

Emergency department registrars at St. Anthony's Medical Center (SAMC) in St. Louis have a new way to get answers to their most pressing questions: a newsletter created just for emergency department patient access staff called Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

"I solicit questions and publish the answers," says Jean Valenta, an admitting manager. Here are some recent questions asked by ED registrars and Valenta's answers:

Question: How do I transfer an outside caller to a patient's hospital room?

Answer: If you receive a call and would like to transfer the caller to a patient's hospital room, dial 8, then the room number. If you would like to provide the caller the knowledge to call the patient directly, inform the caller to call (314) 525-4000, and instructions will be provided. The caller will need to know the patient's hospital room number, so be sure to provide! (This is for calling a hospital room, not an ED treatment room.)

Question: I think I remember something about entering the Medicare number on Medicare HMO patients. Would you remind me again, please?

Answer: Sure, thanks for asking. Patient Accounts requires the patient's Medicare number to bill Medicare HMOs. The term "Medicare Advantage" is a more accurate way to describe Medicare replacement plans. SAMC's list of Medicare HMOs in Star (the hospital's information system, from San Francisco-based McKesson Corp.) is not true HMOs, but includes PPO, FFS, HMO, etc.

Collecting the Medicare Number applies to ALL Medicare Advantage/HMO plans: Advantra, Blue Cross Medicare, Care Improvement, Essence, Gold Advantage, Humana Medicare HMO, Humana Medicare PPO/FFS, Medicare Misc HMO, UHC Dual Complete/Evercare, UHC Medicare Complete/Secure Horizons, and Wellcare Medicare HMO. Enter the Medicare Number in the Comment field in Star on the Ins Page.

Question: I tried to run Blue Cross eligibility without the BC ID number. The response returned FAIL. Any suggestions?

Answer: I do have a suggestion. For BC Anthem plans, try running the Blue Cross eligibility transaction with JWC followed by the SSN. For out-of-state plans, try XOS followed by the SSN. Be sure to update the ID number in Star!

Question: I received a phone call from the floor that a patient arrived from the OR [operating room], and the nurse could not "find" the patient in Epic. What should I do?

Answer: Check the service field in Star. The Star service field is very important in identifying a phase of care in Epic. When an ER patient (or patient in a bed) goes to the OR, the OR contacts Bed Control. Bed Control updates the Star service field to POR (Patient in OR). This makes the patient appear on the correct Patient List in the OR and helps with medication distribution. When the patient arrives on the floor, the floor calls to have the patient appear on the nursing divisions Patient List. The Star service field is updated to the appropriate service (based on Patient Type and MD service). For example, if the patient has a Patient Type of EOV (which refers to an observation visit in the emergency department), the service field is ER. Hint: The same is true for PCL (Patient in Cath Lab) and PGI (Patient in GI Lab).

Question: I tried to run Medicare on a patient with an entitlement: Jr. The response returned Invalid Missing Subscriber Name and/or DOB.

Answer: This is tricky. When a patient has an entitlement, try Smith JR, John.