HCPro instructor Kimberly Hoy answers questions around virtual instructor-led training needs and implications for healthcare organizations during COVID and beyond.
HealthLeaders recently sat down with Kimberly Hoy, JD, CPC, Director of Medicare and Compliance at HCPro, a Simplify Compliance brand, to discuss instructor-led training (ILT) for the healthcare workforce at hospitals and health systems and the incorporation of virtual training into the training mix.
HealthLeaders: Tell us about yourself and background.
Kimberly Hoy: I’m a former in-house legal counsel and compliance officer. I’ve been working in healthcare for almost 30 years doing everything from clinical care to negotiating contracts for hospitals. For the last 15 years I’ve focused on reading, writing, speaking, and teaching Medicare coding, billing, and reimbursement for hospitals.
HL: Remote workers and virtual learning have been part of the overall training equation for healthcare organizations, but in 2020 we’ve seen a greater increase and demand in these areas. What are you hearing from your clients and students around changes in these areas?
Hoy: Even before the pandemic, we were hearing a desire for more virtual education because of the time away from the office for traveling to in-person education. People are just so busy and wearing many hats these days, so they don’t have time to be completely away from the office for extended periods of time for education and conferences. Now, with budgets also very limited the expense of traveling is also an issue. Virtual education is a choice from both a time-saving and money-saving perspective.
HL: Live (ILT) conducted on-site at a healthcare organization’s facility has been a critical component for delivering consistent learning for years. Why is that?
Hoy: Traveling on-site to a facility allows the instructor to engage with the students to keep them involved, interested, and to ensure a good understanding of the material. We have also found that the students at an organization have sometimes not met each other because they work in different departments or in the same department but across geographically spread out campuses. Coming together allows them to network and build connections in their own organization, but also to discuss how the information being presented affects their operations and departments.
HL: With virtual ILT entering the mix in a big way in 2020, what are some key points to ensure virtual training is effective?
Hoy: We have found that training should be broken up into reasonable blocks of time to avoid screen fatigue. We have also found that allowing open communication, with students able to unmute themselves or chat at any time to the instructor, has been beneficial to ensure understanding and that all the students’ questions are answered. Chat time before and after classes and open Q&A time also helps students feel more comfortable asking questions and interacting with each other.
HL: Can virtual training supplement or even replace live, on-site ILT for healthcare groups?
Hoy: There are groups that may be better served by virtual training if they are spread out geographically throughout a system or need to have the training take place over a number of weeks rather than intense training over a shorter period of time. On the other hand, there are groups that will continue to benefit from being in a room together to discuss issues as they are presented.
HL: How can organizations take advantage of the flexibility of virtual ILT?
Hoy: One of the most important aspects of the live in-person training is the ability to spread it out to fit an organizations’ needs. For some organizations, if students had to be out of the office all day to take training, it would limit the number of students that could take the course because someone would have to staff their offices. Live virtual training allows staff to get much needed education while still being on the job each day to ensure workflow continues.
HL: Can you describe the format and scope of a recent virtual ILT for a group?
Hoy: Our recent virtual instructor-led training has mirrored the scope of content from our traditional in-person classes, with the same well-sourced outlines that students have always loved. We have used various formats, including AdobeConnect and GoToMeeting, and various time frames from one week to six weeks of training to break up the courses. So far, GoToMeeting is my favorite because it makes showing my screen and all the resources we use in class so easy. Students follow along in the materials and on websites as I teach the materials and demonstrate the research techniques I use to find Medicare information. The virtual format has also allowed me to post interesting items for downloading, such as new regulations, for discussion in class.
HL: In your opinion, what is the best overall training mix for a healthcare organization?
Hoy: I have always been of the opinion that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for any organization. There are so many factors, including budgets, availability of staffing, individual department needs, and even culture that make training an individual fit for an organization. Our live training always allowed us to customize education to meet an organizations’ needs and now virtual training gives us one more tool in finding the right fit for them.
HL: What advice would you give to a healthcare organization looking to implement training in 2020 and beyond, given the current and projected learning and operational environment?
Hoy: Organizations have to stay flexible and take advantage of the opportunities for virtual training while in-person training is limited. The approach moving forward is likely to be a combination of both in-person and virtual training to meet the needs of the organization and its learners. This transition period will be a great time to experiment with what works for them.
Kimberly Hoy is the Director of Medicare and Compliance for HCPro, Inc. She oversees HCPro’s Medicare Boot Camps® and is the lead instructor for HCPro’s Medicare Boot Camp® – Hospital Version and Utilization Review Version and an instructor for the Medicare Boot Camp® - Critical Access Hospital Version, Rural Health Clinic Version and Provider-Based Department Version. Kimberly serves as a Regulatory Specialist for HCPro’s Medicare Watchdog services, specializing in regulatory guidance on coverage, billing and reimbursement. She is a frequent expert on HCPro’s audio-conferences and has been a speaker at national conferences on patient status and observation.
Kimberly has served as a Compliance Officer and In-House Legal Counsel and has developed and implemented corporate-wide compliance programs for two hospitals. As a hospital compliance officer, she regularly provided research and guidance on coding, billing, and reimbursement issues for a wide range of hospital services. She has experience conducting billing compliance audits and internal investigations.
As In-House Legal Counsel, Kimberly has had oversight of expense contracting and regulatory compliance, including federal and state laws and regulations. Kimberly regularly provided legal advice on such complex topics as EMTALA, fraud and abuse issues, Stark, anti-kickback and anti-inducement laws, contracting, physician recruiting, and tax exemption regulations.
Kimberly is a member of the California Bar Association and the American Health Lawyers Association. Kimberly earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Montana School of Law, where she received the Corpus Juris Secundum Award for Excellence in Contracts. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Yale University. Kimberly is licensed to practice law in the state of California.