Creating a RAC steering committee in your hospital

One of the challenges currently existing within our hospitals involves sorting out all of the different priorities bidding for the attention of leadership.

During any given month, our leaders are faced with multiple competing demands, being under significant pressure regarding quality-of-care matters, physician credentialing, pending nursing shortages, decreased revenues and a whole host of other issues and financial challenges.

In addition to all of these issues, another challenge that many leaders may be facing is "how do we keep RACs in front of everyone?" For those of you preparing for RACs on a daily basis, this may seem like a strange question; however, for those individuals who have multiple "priorities," it is important to be reinforcing the RAC, ZPIC, MIC, etc. message. I believe this is a vital issue because the RACs have not "hit yet" in many parts of the country.

If you haven't done so already, I would suggest forming a RAC Steering Committee (RSC) to reinforce the importance of RACs and to guide/inform your organization's leadership about all of the preparation, education, corrective action and continuing monitoring activities that should be occurring. Here are some suggestions and tips on how your RSC could be structured and utilized.

Membership

You may want to consider the following individuals to participate in the committee: chief financial officer, chief compliance officer, physician champion, health information management director, information technology representative, finance director, RAC coordinator, hospital coding director, physician coding director, reimbursement director, physician practice management director, business office director, legal director, utilization review director, internal audit director and applicable outside consultants (to consider on an invite basis).

This list is just a suggested guide and by no means is meant to be all-inclusive. Other individuals perhaps should be added depending on the specifics of your institution.

Chairperson

Depending on the structure of your organization, this person could vary, however the individual selected should have the time available to perform necessary duties and the management skills necessary to organize and run an effective committee meeting. Their other responsibilities should include holding individuals accountable for tasks, creating goals, managing expectations and being able to handle unpopular topics in a diplomatic fashion.

Commonly selected committee chairs include a chief financial officer, chief compliance officer and RAC coordinator. Some organizations, due to the complexity of certain relevant issues, have decided to outsource chair duties to outside experts. This has some obvious advantages, while the primary disadvantage is cost.

Meeting Agenda

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