HIPAA: Why You Need It

As an urgent care provider, you need to be quick in everything you do. From service to patient care and yes, even to billing — how you handle your processes can make or break your business. And with competition so high these days within your industry, you can’t afford to fall behind. One of the most important factors with your business, as you know, is customer satisfaction. Another factor is your own bottom line. With urgent care medical billing, you can achieve both goals: satisfying your customers and improving on how you collect payment.

However, it’s not enough to just have a good urgent care medical billing service in your corner. They must also know the ins and outs of HIPAA and how to apply them to their daily operations. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) made history in 1996 when it provided the first nationally-recognizable set of regulations for the use and disclosure of patient health information. Since then, those regulations have formed the basis of healthcare, from doctor’s offices and ERs to ambulatory services and hospitals. Privacy is at HIPAA’s heart, and nowhere is privacy more important than in urgent care settings.

Emergency room medical billing is complex, with services being rendered at any one time by radiologists, cardiologists, respiratory therapists and all staff members. That’s a lot of patient information to keep straight, let alone safe and secure. That’s why you need an experienced HIPAA-compliant medical billing company to offer value-added support AND put confidentiality at the forefront. With so many ER and ambulatory services happening at one time, it’s impossible to stick to just one area of coding. Knowing all the coding specialties is a must, which is why any medical billing service worth its salt will have certified coders on staff who are experienced in a range of specialties.

Some sample services may include:

  • Hospital/inpatient coding
  • Payer-specific coding
  • Emergency room services
  • Hospital coding protocols
  • Audits
  • Temporary emergency medicine coding services to cover staff on vacation or sick leave
  • Physician documentation training
  • Compliance reviews

From patient enrollment and insurance verification to audit and claim submission, there are many balls to keep in the air, especially in an urgent care setting. Payment posting, accounts receivable collection and analysis, insurance authorization: all of these areas require dedicated professionals to ensure that no step is missed. Breaches in patient confidentiality can be a direct violation of HIPAA rules and regulations. Your organization can be hit with heavy fines and disciplinary measures, cutting into your bottom line. As an urgent care provider who can’t afford a hit like that, it’s in your best interests to ensure you have a dedicated team of professionals handling your medical billing. Leaving this up to your already-overworked staff means that mistakes can be easily made.

Many safeguards must be in place to ensure correct HIPAA compliance every time.

Some of those safeguards include:

  • Thorough checks on every employee who enters and leaves the premises
  • Password-protected computers
  • Firewalls and antivirus software installed on all computers
  • Regular backups of computer systems

Medical Healthcare Solutions Inc. is comprised of HIPAA-compliant coders and can help you more efficiently and safely run your urgent care operation.