All posts by Stephen Brighton

ICD-10 Changes Are Coming: What You Can Do to Be Prepared

ICD-10 ChangesThe ICD-10 release date is fast approaching. October first will be here before we know it. However, there is still plenty of time to prepare for this enormous change. To make the adjustment as smooth as possible for you and your employees, there are some steps your practice can take now in preparation.

Train Now

            The best thing you can do to prepare is to make sure your staff understands ICD-10. The sooner you start training them, the sooner they will begin to understand the new system.   All members need to be on board with this, as this is an extremely large change. There are plenty of programs and classes you can purchase that will help train your practice for the impending changes, or you can choose to learn the coding yourself and relay that information to your employees.

Learn the Most Important Codes

            With ICD-9, many practitioners have all of the codes memorized because of the frequency in which they use them. Because of its complexity, ICD-10 will be more difficult to memorize. The codes have 5-7 digits per code, an increase from the current 3-5. Prioritizing codes that will be used frequently makes the task of memorizing them a lot less daunting. It is important to pay attention to what codes are used more often than others and make sure you have those down. The sooner you begin working on memorizing common codes, the easier the transition will be.

Build a Communication Team

Strong communication is what will make the transition smooth and manageable. To ensure that your practice has open lines of communication, you’ll need to build a communication team. A project manager needs to be established. This person will need to be the resident expert of the system and be able to answer any questions that arise. They’ll also need to have a contact person outside the office who fully understands and has mastered the program. Having many people who have a strong understanding of ICD-10 can only help everyone get onboard with the transition.

There are many ways to prep for ICD-10. The more time you spend preparing for ICD-10 before it is enforced will mean the less time you spend struggling to understand it later on. This is a great advancement for the medical field and can only get better.

What steps is your practice taking to prepare for the upcoming ICD-10 changes?

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Preparing for the Next Wave of Medical Billing Changes

Stethoscope on medical billing statement on table

Today’s rapid technological evolution allows new solutions for old problems to be made every day. Many changes are constantly being made to all industries. This includes the medical industry, which is continuously evolving. Over the next decade, it is predicted that many people will self-diagnose more often due to increased amount of information available on the internet. While there is the possibility that this could lead to less patients, there are ways to combat this.

 

Keep up with latest billing strategies

There are many medical billing strategies that are on the rise in today’s medical field. One of which is becoming popular is the smartphone app Fee Schedule Pro. It is an app that allows patients to take care of their medical payments through the app. Different apps like this one are being created as it is predicted that more and more payments will be handled electronically. Another upcoming innovation that is being created is a universal software that will allow you to bill plans automatically regardless of billing type form. It will eliminate any confusion from making sure all payments are up to date.

Be efficient and effective

A great way to retain patients and make sure they have a pleasant experience at your office is to make sure that they can handle their outstanding balances very easy. This is imperative because as a result of the increase in self-diagnosis, there will also be a rise in cost of medical care and treatments to make up for the loss of patients. This is merely a prediction but should be taken seriously. Patients will be more apt to continue to get medical treatment at a higher rate as long as paying for it is an easy process.

Welcome change

It is inevitable that things in all aspects of the world will change over the next decade, there is no denying it. Whether or not you prepare yourself for those changes can either make or break how your practice does while weathering the storm. Updates in technology can sometimes be stressful and scary, but it is truly a beautiful thing. It allows patients and doctors to have an easier time finding out what’s wrong, which can lead to a speedier recovery. Most importantly, however, all these changes allow for patients to live a healthier, happier life.

Want to learn more about Medical Billing or have a comment? You can find more on our blog at https://www.medicalhealthcaresolutions.com/news/

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Medical Billing

What To Look For In A Medical Billing Company

A medical billing company may be exactly what your practice needs to handle the many non-medical obligations it will inevitably face. These companies can reduce your overhead by taking care of things such as billing, coding and collections. Hiring a medical billing company is essentially outsourcing much of your practice’s work, and as useful as that can be it can also cost your practice a lot of money if you don’t ask the right questions before making any final decisions.

There are a lot of medical billing services out there, and not all of them are created equal. Billing and coding are major elements of a healthcare practice, so it’s important that you ask the following questions to make sure you’re hiring the best company for your practice’s needs.

What Will the Service Cost and What is the Average Time for Receivables?

The cost of a billing company’s services should be first and foremost on your mind. Ideally, you should be paying a percentage of all net collected receipts where permitted. Look for a company that charges six percent or less of net collected receipts; any higher is probably too high for your practice. You should also be asking about any additional charges; billing companies can charge fees for startup, termination, data conversion and patient collections.

The average time for receivables is an important factor when choosing a medical billing company. Choose a billing company that processes receivables between 14 to 30 days depending on payer rules.

A Good Medical Billing Company Should Reduce Administrator Tasks.

When evaluating a billing company, ask what types of code edits and payer rules they use. A good billing company will check for accuracy, coding and correct payment. If a claim is denied ask how the claims get fixed and how long it takes to process denied claims.

Is the Company Versed in More than One Practice Management System?

Different medical practices will obviously use different management systems, and it stands to reason that you will want to find a medical billing company that is well-versed in your practice’s management system. Some of the more reliable systems include Allscripts, Athenahealth, Cerner, eClinical, EPIC, GE Centricity and IDX. These are fairly common, and any company that is familiar with these systems should provide excellent and reliable service.

Can They Provide References?

Reputation is important for any kind of company, including a medical billing service. Ask what kinds of practices the company has worked with in the past; they should be similar to you in size, scope and specialty. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from satisfied clients or for people you can call directly.

Are They HIPAA-Compliant?

Any organization that deals directly with patient’s confidential medical information must comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. That of course includes medical billing companies. Any company that is HIPAA-compliant will be proud to answer any questions you might have so be sure to ask.

Who Will be Handling Your Account?

You should know exactly who will be handling your account within the billing company. See if you can speak to the person or people who will be in charge of your data. A reputable billing company will be straightforward and transparent when it comes to this information.

Does the Medical Billing Company Offer Consultation for ‘Meaningful Use’?

Meaningful Use means being able to correctly demonstrate how an Electronic Health Record or EHR will be used based on certain government-set criteria. A good medical billing company will be able to provide consultation about Meaningful Use if your practice uses an EHR regularly, and they will be up-front about how they will use these records themselves.

Are There Services They Will Not Handle?

Never assume that a medical billing company will take care of all billing and coding duties. There may be some items that are not included in their services, or some that are only included with an extra fee. Clarifying these issues in the beginning will help you plan ahead and either find a different billing service or hire employees to handle certain tasks in-house.

Can They Guarantee Transparency?

As we said before, a reputable medical billing company will be up-front and transparent with all of their data and services. You should be able to receive accurate and timely reports about your practice’s finances. It is your practice after all, and you deserve to know about anything that is related to it even if it is technically outside of your area of expertise.

If you are interested in learning more about the medical billing services provided by Medical Healthcare Solutions please contact us online or by calling Stephen Brighton or Sandy Dallon at 800-762-9800.

Sources:

http://gettingpaid.kareo.com/gettingpaid/2013/02/10-questions-to-ask-before…

https://www.tn.gov/health/topic/hipaa

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Medical Credentialing

Medical Credentialing is Important for Building a Successful Practice

Medical credentialing is the process of ensuring that healthcare organizations are in compliance with certain regulations. In most cases, this means communicating with insurance providers so that medical providers are able to accept third-party reimbursement for their services. Credential services specialists work closely with hospitals, physician offices and ambulatory care facilities in addition to insurance companies and credential verification organizations.

Some healthcare professionals see credentialing services as unnecessary or even a hindrance to their day-to-day operations, but the truth is that they are more important to the healthcare industry than ever before.

The Importance of Insurance

There was a time not too long ago when credentialing service specialists were considered optional to medical practices. Some patients would use their health insurance to cover treatments and procedures, but there were also plenty of people who were willing to pay out of pocket. That time is long gone. Presently, the vast majority of Americans have health insurance, and they are far more likely to use it than in the past. This is also due to the broader scope of many of today’s health insurance plans, which cover a wider range of treatments and procedures than before. Insurance plans cover more mental health and behavioral health treatments, there are fewer restrictions when it comes to pre-existing conditions, and even supplemental services such as physical therapy and holistic healing services are now covered.

Unfortunately, the changes that have been made to health insurance coverage over the last few years has also made credentialing services more complicated. While many healthcare facilities could perform these duties themselves before, hiring a credentialing specialist or doing business with a credentialing service is essential today. The right credentialing service can ensure that your medical practice is always in compliance with billing regulations and they can act as mediators between yourself and insurance companies. This can save you a lot of time and energy that would be better spent providing services to patients.

Making Your Job Easier

More than anything else, a medical credentialing specialist will give you peace of mind. Insurance is an increasingly large aspect of operating healthcare services, but it is far from the most important. Your staff needs to be able to provide services to your patients, and they shouldn’t have to feel like they’re spread too thin if they have to solve an insurance issue. Hiring the services of a credentialing specialist helps make your job easier, even as medical insurance becomes more complicated.

Sources:
http://medicalcredentialing.org/medical-credentialing/
http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/07/10/percentage-of-uninsured-americans-now-lowest-on-record

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Reduce Costs Using Electronic Health Records

Reduce Costs Using Electronic Health Records

Reduce Costs Using Electronic Health Records

In the medical world, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have revolutionized the way medical personnel document and track patients’ records. This new approach for data management has made time management easier for medical institutions.

At the same time, medical institutions have been able to save a lot of money by reducing expenses normally spent on stationery and hiring people to help manage files and documentation. Based on a study, EHRs take only 10 minutes to process a patient’s medical records. This means hospitals can instead make use of their staff in better roles rather than waiting to manage files and place them in record rooms.

Electronic Health Records can reduce cost while increasing a patient’s awareness.  Patients will be able to access their medical reports in electronic versions online: they will not need hard copies.  Giving patients easier and immediate access to these documents will educate them of their current records in a paperless manner.

Defining EHR

EHRs are medical data that include the patient’s complete medical history (including multiple consultations by different physicians in the same medical facility), medical investigations and diagnosis. This ensures easy access to the patient’s medical records in real-time, and at any time.

Decades ago, medical documentation was manual which required handling documentation with care. In larger hospitals, managing hardcopies required having record rooms with filing codes, and resulted in a large margin of error. This led to much time wasted while tracking files, and duplication of files. Often, in an attempt to save time, administrators would create new files which caused multiple files for one patient. The list of available resources wasted in this scenario is quite extensive.

Digital information or EHRs reduce inefficiency of the documentation process. Having instantaneous access to these records, improves decision-making when it comes to administering treatment and eliminates the need for paper work. Moreover, EHRs ensure error-free medical records, avoid unnecessary requests for diagnostic tests and they improve patient care.

The Impact of EHRs

From a patient confidentiality perspective, the use of electronic medical data has improved. Now, electronic files mean limited access to sensitive information. Unauthorized medical personnel cannot access any patient’s file. This complies with the HIPPA laws and has refined various health insurance policies as well.

Since there are medical codes for almost every medical condition, the concept of medical coding has also taken medical documentation protocols to a new height. Medical coders continuously work with codes and electronic health record systems have made this easier to manage. Now, medical coders can make claims without flaws and within the appropriate time, before it is too late.

Today, large medical hospitals and medical centers easily handle medical records in real-time, and the credit for this goes to EHRs. They have reduced the amount of time wasted by medical professionals as well as decreased the cost of stationary and office staff.  In fact, there is a lot more to learn through EHRs, making the future of medical documentation  brighter.

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