Conflict of Interest Tracking Helps Mainstream Management Process
STUART, Fla., March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Martin Memorial Health Systems, a not-for-profit, community-based healthcare organization covering two counties in Florida, needed a way to track potential conflicts of interests for its board of directors, committee members and physicians. As a healthcare system based in a moderately sized community, it was not uncommon for outside interests and business prospects to conflict with the hospital's policies.
"It's not that we don't want people to have outside interests," said Marian Schlow, assistant vice president and chief compliance officer for Martin Memorial. "But we needed to know about those interests. We needed to make sure that those individuals were not in a position to make decisions in an area of the hospital while they were involved in an organization or business that would pose a conflict. Because we operate in a small community, we often have multiple family members working within the health system, and that's one of the areas we needed to address, to make sure individuals were in compliance with our nepotism policy."
Martin Memorial turned to TractManager Inc.'s MediTract division, the nation's leader in providing contract management services to hospitals. By implementing TractManager's new Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement (COIDS) tracking system, Martin Memorial was able to ease the management process of tracking which individuals were involved with outside interests and identifying family members in various departments.
"It has greatly eased the administrative issues of having individuals sign the conflict of interest disclosure statements and following up with them," Schlow said. "Notifications and reports to our managers are done automatically. Since the system has been up and running, the hospital has saved a lot of time in terms of tracking these statements and making sure we're operating in accordance with our policies."
The COIDS system uses a centralized database that manages multiple categories of statements with specific areas for compliance and the disclosure of outside interest and activities. Authorized users have secure access to the database and are able to review statements for possible conflicts, and can demonstrate control and compliance for accreditation and auditors.
"We have been very impressed with the flexibility and overall helpfulness of the people at MediTract," Schlow said. "If we think of something we want to do with the system, we bring it to their attention and it gets done. They've been very accommodating and we've seen a tremendous benefit in having this system aid in the distribution, completion, follow-up and overall compliance management aspect of the required conflict of interest statements."
Martin Memorial became a MediTract customer four years ago in an effort to address management of various hospital contracts. At the time, the healthcare provider was operating a decentralized contract filing system that allowed various employees who authored and championed contracts to store those documents in their offices at any one of 17 different locations.
"We knew that we needed to address the issue of having so many contracts spread over a pretty large geographical area," said Diane Korbel, insurance manager for Martin Memorial. "The management of our contract files was extremely inefficient. We needed a centralized location where we could store all of our contract files and key documents and we needed a way to manage them. MediTract was the clear choice to help meet our needs."
"We use MediTract across all departments and for a variety of purposes, but human resources was one of the first to see the advantage of having a centralized location to store their documents. We have over 70 employed physicians and we need to track all of those employment agreements," Korbel said. "We've just been amazed by the ease of use and the reliability of the MediTract system. It's very manageable to track our documents with limited resources. Everything continues to function as it should and we've been able to easily expand and update the MediTract database as our needs continue to grow and change."
Since adopting the technology four years ago, Martin Memorial has expanded the use of the MediTract system to include licensing and certifications for various purposes. MediTract also alerts key personnel to contract expiration and critical dates, providing ample time for users to renegotiate contracts terms or to terminate agreements, as well as other user defined contract critical dates.
"The expiration notification is one of the cornerstones of the system -- it's very difficult to review the terms of your contract and stop automatic renewals when you're not aware that they exist," Korbel added. "Having a notification systems means you're constantly on top of your agreements and know when to review for changes and it makes easy work out of something that can be a nightmare without an automated system."
With regard to other key organization specific documents, "You never know when you might need a license or certification and under our old system, it was possible that the individual seeking such information would have to call around, find the person who had the document hanging on their wall and then have them scan or fax a copy. Now it's all accessible with a few keystrokes," Korbel said.
The MediTract system enables healthcare facilitators to easily locate, manage and review contracts and other important documents in a timely, easy-to-use manner. The system's technology offers an extensive set of contract and database views and software functionality and reporting capabilities that meet the needs and requirements of every department and user.
"In four years, we've never had an instance where the system failed or where service was interrupted in anyway. MediTract's service is incredibly reliable and we've achieved our goal of centralizing key documents without placing much of a burden on the organization," Korbel said. "Setting up the system was easy and maintaining the database is just as easy."
Martin Memorial has also expanded its use of TractManager's products to include the company's PropertyTract solution, which manages facility related leases, service contracts, and property information for the health system's real estate and construction division.
"Martin Memorial has been an important client and we are very happy to hear of their many successes with our services. Our ability to assist them in improving efficiency and accountability in so many areas of their operation makes us incredibly proud," said Scott R. Jeffery, president and COO of MediTract. "Our contract management service and other compliance tools have been successful because they meet the needs of the nation's hospitals, and offer alternatives to hiring additional staff or dedicating existing staff member's valuable time to help manage contracts and compliance activities. Our customers are very confident that their compliance management efforts are performed as efficiently and effectively as possible when done with MediTract."
MediTract is the leading healthcare contract and document management provider, serving over 20 percent of the nation's hospitals. MediTract is a division of TractManager Inc., a national Internet-based technology firm specializing in secure, real-time access to customized and centralized contract and document management databases. MediTract was founded by healthcare executives and the company has an in-depth knowledge of how both providers and payers prioritize their physician, operating and supplier contracts and monitor contract compliance. The company's solutions help healthcare professionals gain control of their contracts and reduce the cost of doing business by providing the tools necessary to improve management's visibility of contractual obligations, enhance compliance and streamline the new contract and contract renewal workflow processes. TractManager has offices in Saddle Brook, NJ and Chattanooga, TN. For more information on TractManager and MediTract, please call 877-492-8490 or visit www.meditract.com.
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