Super Physicians: Stopping The Financial Abuse of Seniors

The subject of this blog post is very different from my other posts, as I feel that it will hit close to home – rather than the office – for many of you. We need to talk about something very important – something that you can do now to really make a difference in the lives of your patients. I’d like to talk about how doctors and nurses can play an important front line role in stopping the financial abuse of seniors. I grew up in rural Southern Maryland in a loving household filled with lots of family. Mine was a traditional Indian extended family, with my grandparents, parents, brother, sister and myself living together. My Father is a hardworking physician – a Gastroenterologist. As a child, I remembered he would leave home at 6 am to see patients at his private practice, come home in the evening to eat dinner, and go back to the hospital to make rounds – just to make sure that our family would live a good life. My Mother is an absolutely amazing woman and always made sure that me, my younger sister and my younger brother were taken care of, learned the right lessons, ate the right foods, etc.  (I’m now 38 years old and she still does – thanks Mom!). My Grandmother, now 98 years old, and my Grandfather, who has since passed, would spend time with us, speak with us in our mother tongue and ensured that we learned to respect the older generation. Together, they all played a part in making sure that we, the younger generation, would ingrain...

ICD-10: The Sky That Never Fell

Many physicians and medical billing experts predicted that the sky would fall on October 1, 2015, when the United States began using the newest version of the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD-10. The Department of Health and Human Services first issued a regulation proposing the transition to classification scale in August 2008. After nearly a decade of trying and three delays, clinics and other medical institutions in the United States begrudgingly switched to the new coding system to report medical diagnoses and procedures on October 1, 2015. Paging Chicken Little Many physicians and medical groups panicked at the mere thought of transitioning to the new codes. Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), for example, expressed their concerns about the level of industry preparedness in a March 2015 letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Sylvia Burwell. WEDI worried that many organizations had not taken full advantage of the extra time afforded by the March 2014 delay. In that letter, Devin Jopp, Ed.D, president and CEO of WEDI said that, “unless all industry segments make a dedicated and aggressive effort to move forward with their implementation efforts in the next few months, there will be significant disruption to industry claims processing on Oct 1, 2015.” In July of 2015, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) surveyed physicians in the state regarding their practice’s readiness for "the transition." Ninety-seven of the 936 respondents treated patients in active medical practices and 42 percent were solo practitioners. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they expected delayed or denied claim payments resulting from the transition to ICD 10. Understandably, physicians facing possible delayed or...

7 Ways To Improve Patient Waiting Room Times

Many times, waiting to be seen by a physician can be one of the most stressful moments in the patient-physician relationship. You can almost compare it road rage when there is a lot of traffic. Similarly, the unknown wait times can cause a patient to become agitated. In a prior blog post, I had actually touched on how cutting out the waiting aspect can increase patient satisfaction with the care they receive from their provider. Again, Jerry Seinfeld's “Waiting Room” bit comes to mind and is worth reiterating below to really illustrate this frustration from a patient’s perspective. See this bit from comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, that perfectly illustrates the waiting area scenario: "I hate when they make you wait in the room. ‘Cause it says 'Waiting room.' There’s no chance of not waiting, ‘cause they call it the waiting room, they’re going to use it. They’ve got it. It’s all set up for you to wait. And you sit there, you know, and you’ve got your little magazine. You pretend you’re reading it, but you’re really looking at the other people. You know, you’re thinking about them things like 'I wonder what he’s got. As soon as she goes, I’m getting her magazine.' And then, they finally call you and it’s a very exciting moment. They finally call you, and you stand up and you kinda look around at the other people in the room. “Well, I guess I’ve been chosen. I’ll see you all later. You know, so you think you’re going to see the doctor, but you’re not, are you? No. You’re going into the next waiting...

10 Crucial Tips To Remain HIPAA Compliant on Social Media

With the advances in technology within the past few years and nearly everyone being glued to their mobile phones, the medical marketing arena has changed drastically. Never have there been more options to help drive patient acquisition for your medical practice. If you're a relatively young practice, any loss of patient base is significant, even if it a simple reason such as a family moving away from the area or changing their insurance carrier. Additionally, keeping up with competing practices can become expensive, however, there are many low cost healthcare marketing strategies to keep patients coming in. One that has the greatest outreach and response rate is social media, although many practices I have spoken with shy away from posting on Facebook and Twitter. Why is that? I decided to ask a few of my clients and learned that one of the main reasons is the fear of inadvertently committing HIPAA violations. As you already know, HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The primary goal of the law is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs. The primary concern of these physicians is the “protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information” portion of HIPAA. Advertising through social media sites is an excellent way of increasing the publicity you need to drive patient acquisition. With Facebook recently hitting 1 Billion user accounts and Twitter having 190 Million unique visitors and 115 Million active users per month, chances are that a lot of your potential...

Why Proper Revenue Cycle Management Is A Necessity

What is Revenue Cycle Management? The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) defines revenue cycle as "All administrative and clinical functions that contribute to the capture, management, and collection of patient service revenue." A truly comprehensive revenue cycle solution is more than just medical billing services; it includes the entire life of a patient account from creation to payment and should include the following benefits and services, as described in our unique “8 Step Revenue Cycle Management Process”: Maximize Productivity Scheduling efficiency Resource utilization Charge Capture No missing fee slips No missed charges Coding Accuracy E&M level of service Dx linking Modifiers Charge order Clean Claims Insurance eligibility Pre-claim edits Referrals & authorizations Timely filing A/R Management Insurance follow-up Proper adjustments Denial management Appeals Patient Collections Copay coaching Statements Dunning letters Follow-up phone calls Smart Analytics Reporting Contract payment analysis Trending and forecasting Decision Support Process improvement Payor contract negotiations Coding improvement By helping properly manage the practice’s revenue cycle, physicians can devote more time to providing patients with the thorough care they deserve rather than spending time on administrative work. Health Prime International has been providing revenue cycle solutions for almost 12 years to nearly 1,500 physicians in more than 55 specialties, so we know that proper management of your revenue cycle is an absolute necessity that will pay for itself multiple times. Many physicians who ask us for help had been finding themselves concerned about their practice staff’s ability to manage day-to-day operations while struggling with the annoyances of medical billing. At times, some of these practices had simply outgrown their own billing department. Today, more than ever, physician practices are...