The Virginia Medicaid program in December began requiring hospitals to electronically submit preadmission screening forms to ensure patients discharged are not inappropriately placed in a long-term care facility.

With the approach, hospitals evaluate applicants for a Medicaid-certified, long-term care facility for mental illness or intellectual disabilities, and whether it would be the most appropriate setting for their needs, or if another setting such as the home or acute care would be a better fit.

In response to the pending mandate, transition care management software vendor Curaspan developed an automated process that reduced the time to complete an assessment previously done on paper from one hour to about 15 minutes. About 40 hospitals in the state have committed to using the software, called DischargeCentral, and the nine hospitals of Sentara Healthcare—a Curaspan customer since 2002—participated in testing and now are using the system.

Moving the evaluation process, called Preadmission Screening and Resident Review, from paper-based to electronic is important because it is a federal requirement for other states across the nation, as well.

Also See: New E-Script Standard Comes to Long-Term Care

The State of Virginia has a web portal for hospitals to use when completing an evaluation, but doing so is a tedious one-page-at-a-time and user-unfriendly process, says Brenda Parker, nephrology case manager at Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg. “You can be typing in a field and run out of space.”

The new Curaspan software used for screening auto-populates existing data about the patient such as demographics and medications. Early on, the state rejected some submissions because of wrong codes, but that got worked out, Parker says.

Auto-population and a modern piece of software is one reason why it only takes her about 15 minutes now to do an evaluation. But Parker and others using the system also know their patients so they can fill out the state form and answer questions quickly. “The fact that you can do screenings electronically is such a time-saving development, it’s hard to put words to it until you actually do it,” she adds.

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