Disaster recovery is very high on everyone’s mind after Hurricane/Super-storm Sandy made a landing. Many have found out that their back-ups were compromised; they lost data due to power outages and in horrible situations, due to flooding lost much of their paper based information.
NCEB scans our clients’ patient demographics, charge forms, payment documents, patient statement stubs, etc and stores them on site for safe and easy retrieval. We also have back ups on site as well as off site to ensure safety and integrity of the information.
Industry experts estimate that less than 5% of third party billing companies, as well as medical provider offices, uses this level of sophistication to keep their offices running smoothly. We can help you to protect your business.
SAIL THROUGH THE REIMBURSEMENT TRANSITIONS
A new rule proposed by CMS will give two big breaks to EHR providers:
1. Providers that failed to submit the 10 e-prescription transactions by 6/30/2012 will be able to avoid the Medicare payment penalty in 2013 if they achieve Meaningful Use of a certified EHR by the end of this year.
2. Providers that show intent to participate in the EHR program by adopting certified EHR by a date to be set by CMS would also avoid the 2013 Medicare payment penalty for lack of e-prescribing.
The public has 60 days to comment on proposed rules before they are enacted.
Usually, the rules are enacted once proposed, unless there is a huge backlash in comments. We don’t anticipate that. So, if you were one who did not meet the 10 e-prescription transactions by June, 30th, 2012, you have an escape from the penalty…. ONLY IF YOU ADOPT A CERTIFIED EHR, SOON!!!
SAIL THROUGH THE REIMBURSEMENT TRANSITIONS
On June 19th, our blog about “Five Ways that a Medical Billing Vendor’s Change in Business Status
Can Affect You” will be posted at the online e-zine of Physician’s Practice. In our industry, it appears that more and more billing companies are merging and you should know what to look for to keep your practice in the “pink”.
That link is www.physicianspractice.com
If you would like a pre-publication copy of the blog, let me know. I’ll be happy to send it out to you.
SAIL THROUGH THE REIMBURSEMENT TRANSITIONS WITH NCEB!
With statistics such as 80% of medical practices are stolen from by their employees, have you checked to see if your income has started decreasing? Not necessarily will the decrease be by a huge amount, but any amount is dangerous.
Employees, just like physicians, can be disgruntled, unhappy, having issues at home. All of these attributes, and more, can make for a dent in your income. If they are disgruntled or unhappy, “It’s not fair the doctor makes that much” (even though they don’t understand the concept of overhead) I should have a raise! If they are having financial issues at home, the same possible problem.
That is why lately more and more employers are checking Facebook and other social media as well as doing criminal checks on their current and future employees.
Another way to avoid cash flow hits is to outsource to a reputable billing service. The service acts as a check and balance to the cash flow from the front desk as well as has the staff to have its own checks and balances on billing, payment posting and fighting the insurance companies. In fact, if only one person handles your billing, whether in your office or at a billing service; be very afraid!
Not all people are bad and not all good people are good all the time. You never know what is happening. People can be distracted by outside influences you know nothing about and as a result are no longer doing good or excellent work. Those people also need vacation time and without cross-training and knowledge, the cash flow takes a hit.
The best way to ensure accuracy and good cash flow is to have more than one person involved. If you only have one biller, cash flow is tight or are looking for more efficiency with more accuracy, look for a good billing service. It will save you money as well as make you money!
I would like to discuss what I believe is the third deadly sin for medical practices. That sin is lack of front desk staff training. This actually encompasses two areas.
The first area of importance, and I believe the most important, is teaching the front desk staff how to act. Be polite, smile, don’t be distracted when dealing with patients… three very important traits. The front desk staff is a medical practices first impression to a patient. The waiting room can be old fashioned and not comfortable, but if the people at the front desk are friendly, polite and professional; the impression of your practice is that you care about people. The best marketing you could ask for!!
The second area of importance, and I believe many would argue is even more important than attitude, is teaching the front staff how to ask for money. The front desk staff must collect copays prior to service. They must also collect any balances that are outstanding on the patient’s accounts and they need to do that with empathy and professionalism. Smacking gum and saying you owe $XXX is not the way to make your patients happy.
It is always good to have the procedures of the front desk staff (and any other position) written down. Ongoing training on different types of coverages that people may have as well as ongoing training for customer service are both vital to a practices fiscal health.
We would love to hear your comments on these deadly sins. Please email them to email@example.com and we will collect them and publish them at a later date! We all can learn more if we all contribute to the knowledge.
A while ago I started a series of blogs that I have personally entitled the 7 Deadly Sins of practice management. Today, I’d like to talk about the second deadly sin: Bad Customer Service.
In the old days of medicine, people had to go to the doctor and really didn’t have that much choice as to who they would see. They could only travel so far due to time and travel technology, but that has changed. There are now more physicians per capita than ever before and your practice is no longer sacrosanct.
In the old days, you could easily say we are now “accepting” patients and patients would actually flock to your door. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Okay, enough with the “old days” they are dead and gone.
Now patients demand customer service. They think their time is as important as your time. They think that if they don’t like how they are treated they’ll just go down the street or down the hall and find another physician. Or, heck… they can travel to the medical meccas of the world….. Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, MD Anderson, etc.
How to cure this deadly sin? Try the following:
1. Change your sign from now accepting patients to now welcoming patients!
2. If you are running more than 15 minutes late, have your staff call the patient to let then know. The patient then can decide to wait, do errands, or reschedule. There is no ‘downside’ to this. If you have a sign that says if the patient is 15 minutes late they must then reschedule, then you should treat them the same.
3. If you order diagnostic testing, be sure and contact the patient with the results of that testing as quickly as possible. Good news or bad, the patient is waiting nervously.
4. If you are not accepting credit cards or HSA cards (Health Savings Account), you are doing yourself and the patient a disservice.
5. If the patient is confused by the bills, by the tests ordered or for any reason; have the appropriate person sit down with them and explain it until they get it.
6. Have the front desk answer the phone with a smile on their face, it makes a difference in tone.
If you have other ideas, let us know so we can share them with other providers!!
TO QUOTE SARAH PALIN: “HOW’S THAT HOPE-Y
CHANGE-Y THING WORKING FOR YA?”
So, we’ve been through the initial 5010 transition and I am very happy to report we are submitting successfully to all insurances and receiving all electronic postings. We also managed to do this with no hitches!!!
I would like to thank my EDI staff who worked with our software company and the different insurance companies to be sure it would be painless for our clients.
I know that many people we spoke with through the last quarter of 2011 presumed that their clearinghouses would handle that whole situation for them and they wouldn’t have any problems.
As I stated above… How did that “hope-y change-y” thing work for you? We have heard some pretty ugly stories.
Probably, the transition to ICD-10 will have more impact on your cash flow than the 5010. Thank goodness we are working with a vendor that is making that process a lot simpler. With this software, we are able to know which companies are ready for ICD-10, which are not and how to submit each.
We are doing our best to follow our credo: “Sail Through Transitions with NCEB!”
In this series, I’m planning to address areas in a medical practice where we have seen doctors lose a lot of money over the years!
Probably the worst thing a doctor can do to devalue him/herself and his/her practice is to give away care. I’m not talking about doing pro-bono work for patients who are truly indigent, nor am I talking about helping out the long term patient who is going through a rough spot. I am talking about not having a good financial policy and enforcing it when dealing with patients.
1. Never allow a patient to be seen if they have not paid their copay first and/or caught up their past due balance.
2. Make sure that a patient gives you the correct and required information needed to submit claims.
3. Make sure that you accept credit cards or ACH (electronic check payments) in order to make it easy for the patient to pay.
4. Use technology to help you collect what is owed to you.
5. Have all patients read and sign a financial policy, then FOLLOW IT.
6. Always send those patients who refuse to pay you or work with you to collection. It has been seen that those doctors who do not send delinquent patients to collection soon have a very busy practice with no one actually paying. All the patients have told their relatives you don’t have to pay. The relatives have told their friends you don’t have to pay. So, you don’t get paid.
One of the biggest problems is that medical providers still want to give discounts to other medical providers. HOWEVER, due to contracts with the different insurance carriers and Medicare, it is against the contract to offer professional courtesy defined as writing off any balance after the insurance had paid their share. If you wish to give professional courtesy, then don’t charge for the visit.
If you do, this becomes the “F” word, fraud. For example, if you charge $100.00 to the insurance and they pay 80%, then the patient is responsible for $20.00 HOWEVER, if you don’t charge the patient then in reality the fee for the service was $80.00 and you owe the insurance money. You can bet they will charge interest and a penalty, to go with that!
Always be sure to not give the patient free credit. You never get any!!!