Ready to reduce your Pennsylvania, Maryland or Ohio practice medical billing expenses? The following article written by Daniel Casciato was featured on Medical Office Today and sheds light on some great ways your medical practice can save.
Outsourcing some of your medical office tasks can not only reduce your salary costs, but it can also decrease your rental expenses since you can work within the confines of a smaller space.
In fact, experts contend that outsourcing your IT, medical billing and coding, medical transcription, electronic filing, collections and even customer support can net immediate savings for your practice.
Not only does outsourcing allow you to use your space more efficiently, but outsourcing will allow you the time you need to concentrate on your practice and patient care, says Shilonda Downing owner of Flossmoor, Ill.-based Virtual Work Team, LLC, a remote business administration team that works with organizations, including medical offices.
Many practices that have outsourced their IT needs have reduced their space needs significantly. “Many of our medical clients have reclaimed two full rooms by going to electronic record-keeping,” says Gail Merz, director of business consulting for the Pacific Crest Group a Larkspur, Calif.-based consulting group that provides HR, financial services, and IT consulting services to small businesses, including a number of medical practices.
A number of Pacific Crest’s recent projects have included helping doctors migrate to an electronic medical record system which has not only improved efficiencies but created a lot of extra office space.
“These same practices are abandoning the old bulky computer workstations in favor of portable tablet computers that give them secure access to patient records on the go, which also reclaims a lot of space,” Merz adds.
Another IT strategy that her company has initiated for a number of their medical practice clients is shared workstations. Using a terminal server strategy, any doctor, nurse, or administrator in the practice can sit down to a computer and log in to access files and records.
“This also eliminates the overhead of additional workstations hardware and frees up office space by eliminating the need for dedicated workstations,” she says.
Beyond IT outsourcing, many practices are choosing to outsource traditional administrative tasks including medical transcription, billing and collections and customer service.
“The decision to outsource is initially driven by economics, but practices quickly realize that it’s just easier to outsource many of these responsibilities because they don’t have to worry about in-house training and managing so many different tasks,” says Mary Fisher, director of customer support for AmeriScribe, an Argyle, Texas-based medical transcription firm.
Fisher notes that outsourcing specialized tasks such as medical transcription and medical billing and coding also allows practices to receive better services and products. “Because we are experts and focus 100 percent of our energy on this one particular business, we can do it better and more efficiently than an in-house staff that is pulled in many different directions,” she explains.
Moreover, Fisher also points out that outsourcing allows healthcare organizations to reduce the number of full-time employees they have on staff, thereby minimizing associated costs such as worker’s compensation and health insurance.
If you decide to outsource any tasks, make sure the company you choose is not only qualified, but that it is insured against any liabilities regarding HIPAA and follows the industry’s best practices.read more
When using a scribe, it is important to keep in mind that the scribe cannot interject any personal observations or comments into the medical record. The scribe is simply to be used to document the services that the physician is providing. In addition, the physician must review the scribes documentation and then sign the note, indicating it has been reviewed and he/she is in agreement with what was documented. This will authenticate the note and it is a requirement for billing purposes.read more
Ever wonder what it costs to provide service to your patients? We have a simple formula that will give you a pretty good ball park. Knowing this figure may help in commercial contract negotiations as well as determining if you should continue to see patients from certain payers.
If you are interested in having this calculation performed, we are more than happy to help, for a fee.
We will need overhead numbers from you to provide this information. This service will be provided, on individual request, beginning the 2nd or 3rd week or January, after end of year financials and the New Year craziness slows down.read more
Many of you are very well aware of the profit/loss of providing care to your patients. Providing service to some patients may be more ‘profitable’ than it is to others. When that is the case, your first inkling may be to send the less profitable patient to another site for services that are available in your office. Think twice before you send a Medicare patient somewhere else for services you personally can furnish in your practice walls.
In the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 1, Section 30..1.3, the policy states “a provider may not refuse to furnish treatment for certain illnesses or conditions to Medicare beneficiaries if it furnishes such treatment to others.” The rule also states failing to abide by this rule is cause for termination from the Medicare program.read more
If you are providing any home therapy to your patients, effective immediately you must document and report one of the following “V” codes, or your claim will be denied.
V57.1 Care involving other physical therapy
V57.21 Care involving occupational therapy
V57.3 Care involving speech-language therapy
V57.81 Care involving orthotic training
V57.89 Care involving other specified rehabilitation procedure
Each V code must be followed by the diagnosis representing the specific condition requiring the therapy service. Claims without a secondary diagnosis will be denied.read more
Split/shared rules come into play when one of your physicians and a qualified NPP (PA or NP) both see a patient face to face in the hospital where incident to rules do not apply. Each provider, physician and NPP must provide a distinct part of the service.
Remember, it is stated in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 12, Section 30.6.1.B; NPP’s cannot bill incident to in a facility setting. If an NPP provides this service independently, the service MUST be billed under the NPP’s individual NPI which will reimburse at 85% of the allowed amount.
If split/shared billing is truly performed and documented, not just a statement by the physician that you agree or disagree, (Medicare states “ if the physician doesn’t document the face-to face encounter with the patient, even if he signs off on the documentation supplied by the NPP, the visit MUST be billed under the NPP only) but a independent documented exam and medical decision making by the physician, then and only then, can the service be reported under the physician NPI. When reported in this manner, the reimbursement is 100% of the allowed amount.
Documentation must include:
Please abide by the guidelines for all Medicare patients, federal and advantage plans. It would also be safe, if you followed these guidelines for state run programs (Medicaid).read more
After two years of arguments, you will finally get paid for this procedure. CPT code 95992 (Canalith repositioning procedures(s) (e.g. Epley maneuver, Semont maneuver), per day). The code will have a 0.75 RVU value.
Remember if you perform and document a medically necessary E/M that is different from the maneuver, you may bill the E/M code, modified appropriately.
However, Medicare will not reimburse for audiologist performed Epleys- physicians only please.read more
Even though these visits may reap you significant billing opportunities, you must follow the rules in order to avoid denials. Please go to:
Visits may be denied for reasons such as: “Lifetime benefit maximum has been reached”; “This service is paid only once in a patient’s lifetime”; “This service was denied because it occurred to soon after your Initial Preventative visit”; “This service was denied because Medicare doesn’t cover annual wellness visits within the first 12 months of Part B coverage.”
If you believe you will provide these new services, please call me. Let’s review the guidelines together.read more
Perhaps it’s time to think about how to get those patients that may have fallen through the cracks back into your office.
Primary care practices, as example, may want to consider running a list of patients, who will become Medicare eligible within the next year, remind them to enroll, and then offer them the New annual wellness visit. Tell them this visit is without co-insurance cost, so no out of pocket for them, and it may get the patient on a regular routine follow up in your office.
Gastroenterologists may want to run a list of patients who are turning 50 this year. Contact them and schedule their first screening colonoscopy.
GYN practices should run that list of annual checkups, who didn’t show last year? Call and make that appointment.
Think about your specific practice, what type of patients do you see annually? At what age do you start seeing them on a routine basis? This may be a way to increase volume and the bottom line. If you need patient listing by age or by a specific diagnosis, give us a call. We are more than happy to help.read more
Please remember to have Medicare patients sign the correct signature on file form. A few years ago I distributed a form with the exact verbiage CMS requires. If you are not sure you are using the correct form, or need it sent again, please do not hesitate to contact the office.read more