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Before and After: How the Sequester’s Cut will Change Your Medicare Reimbursement

Medicare Sequester Cut Provider ReactionThis is no April Fool’s Joke for medical practices and providers: starting Monday, April 1st, we will face a 2% cut in reimbursement for services due to the “sequester.” The sequester is the other half of the “fiscal cliff” that we reported on back in January. Although not too long ago, all the conventional wisdom was dead set against the government “going over the cliff,” and here we are with both automatic tax hikes and spending cuts now a reality.

Managers might  find themselves giving the same explanations about gridlock to the doctors that you gave your employees when their first paycheck of 2013 was lower than usual.

Although the cut is only 2%, it comes entirely from the 80% of the allowable that the government reimburses, as opposed to the 20% patient responsibility. The cut does not affect the Medicare patient’s co-insurance, not does it affect the 2013 Medicare Part B deductible.

To give medical practice managers an idea of what that cut will look like, here are some sample numbers.

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Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Finance, Headlines, Medicare & Reimbursement

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The CommonWell Health Alliance: Can The Private Sector Push Interoperability Over the Finish Line?

CommonWell Health Alliance

The HIMSS13 Conference in New Orleans, one of the biggest gatherings of Health Information Technology professionals of the year, was host to speakers, panel discussions, and one pretty large announcement from some of the big names in the electronic health record industry.

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Posted in: Electronic Medical Records, Headlines

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A Guide to Healthcare Buzzwords and What They Mean: Part Two (M through Z)

Buzzwords in Healthcare Technology

Meaningful Use (MU)

Meaningful Use is the phrase used in the 2009 HITECH Act to describe the standard providers must achieve to receive incentive payments for purchasing and implementing an EHR system. The term meaningful use combines clinical use of the EHR (i.e. ePrescribing), health information exchange, and reporting of clinical quality measures. Achieving meaningful use also requires the use of an EHR that has been certified by a body such as CCHIT, Drummond Group, ICSA Laboratories, Inc. or InfoGuard Laboratories, Inc. The term can also apply informally to the process of achieving the standard, for example “How is our practice doing with meaningful use?”

mHealth

An abbreviation for Mobile Health, mHealth is a blanket label for transmitting health services, and indeed practicing medicine, using mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets. mHealth has large implications not only for newer devices like smartphones and high-end tablets, but also for feature phones and low-cost tablets in developing nations. Many different software and hardware applications fit under the umbrella of mHealth so the term is used conceptually to talk about future innovations and delivery systems.

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Posted in: Day-to-Day Operations, Headlines

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Do You Want to Understand the Revenue Cycle of a Medical Practice? Start Here.

Understanding the Healthcare Revenue CycleNOTE: this series will be repeated in the near future – click on the Webinars tab above for the latest information.

“We’ll start with the money.”

We say that a lot in client meetings at Manage My Practice. Whatever issues might exist in the practices that contact us looking for advice – financial problems will typically need to be addressed first before anything else can be corrected. No matter the size, specialty or type of practice – private, non-profit, and everything in between – the financial foundation of the organization must be built (or remodeled) before choosing strategic partners, determining new service lines, or recruiting physicians.

With no money, there is no mission – or at least no reason for hanging the shingle.

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Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Leadership, Medical Coding Education, Medicare & Reimbursement

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Don’t Forget: Register Now for our Starting a Credit Card on File in Your Practice Webinar!

For anyone interested in implementing a credit card on file program in your practice – to increase collections, improve cash flow, and eliminate sending statements altogether – you’ll want to register now  for Manage My Practice’s Webinar: Starting a Credit Card on File Program in Your Practice.

Financial Concerns in a Medical Office

Tuesday March 5th, 2013 at 1 p.m. EST 10 a.m. PST join Mary Pat and I for a 60 minute session that will prepare you to plan, prepare, negotiate, and execute your Credit Card on File Program. Your patients and your staff will be happier – and so will you!

Register here for Tuesday’s Webinar.

Also, special thanks to Brandon Betancourt of Pediatric Inc for his very kind words about our webinar. Check out his blog!

And if you are interested in learning more about core practice operations, or just want to increase your knowledge and understanding of medical practice management, be sure to check out our new Revenue Cycle Management Webinar Series – a great way for anyone to strengthen and refresh their skills!

Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Finance, Innovation, Leadership, Medicare & Reimbursement

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Back By Popular Demand: Starting a Credit Card on File Program in your Practice

Update: We have moved the session up one week! Please note the new date!

With registrations piling up we are moving the Credit Card on File Webinar up to Tuesday, March 5th at 1 p.m. EST. If you want to improve your practice’s cashflow in just one hour sign up now as seats are going fast!

We had such a great response to our Credit Card on File Webinars that we are running another session, in addition to the Revenue Cycle Management Series that will start next month. We hope you will join us! Click here to register!

How to Cut Your Medical Practice’s A/R and Collection Costs in Just 60 Minutes.

We know patients are bearing more of the financial burden for healthcare, particularly in the form of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), so it falls to the provider to collect the deductibles. How can you collect deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance, as well as electronically manage patient payment plans while reducing the associated labor and resource expense? Register for the Manage My Practice webinar that teaches you everything you need to know to spend less and collect more at time of service by implementing a Credit Card on File Program in your practice.

Financial Concerns in a Medical Office

What is a Credit Card on File Program?

A Credit Card on File (CCOF) Program facilitates the collection of a credit or debit card from each patient and requires this card to be used for co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles. You have the option of collecting an estimate of what is due at time of service, and/or charging the credit card when the payer pays the claim.

What are the benefits of a Credit Card on File Program?

  • Reduced days in accounts receivable.
  • Improved cash flow.
  • Elimination of statements.
  • Electronic management of payment plans.
  • Elimination of bounced checks.
  • Elimination of the manual refund process and refund check expense.
  • Reduced labor in daily reconciliation process.
  • Elimination of cash drawers and change issues.
  • Reduction or elimination of deposits.
  • Facilitate faster check-in and check-out.
  • Elimination of paper receipts.
  • Elimination of collections expense.

This one-hour webcourse with accompanying materials is an incredible value at $59.95

What will I learn if I take this webinar?

1. Understand how a credit card on file program differs from traditional payment options offered by practices.
2. Learn the terminology and protocols of credit card processing – it’s not as mysterious as it seems!
3. Compare credit card processing fees and choose a vendor based on an informed analysis.
4. Utilize handouts to train staff and educate patients on the credit card on file program.
5. Successfully implement a credit card on file program.

What does the program include?

Purchase of this program for only $59.95 includes the live webinar, slide handouts, and a complete Action Pack of forms and templates in Word, including:
1. Worksheet for Credit Card on File Program Return on Investment (ROI)
2. Staff Script & Role Playing Suggestions for Staff Training
3. Sample Security Policy to Comply With PCI Guidelines
4. Credit Card on File Program Timeline Worksheet
5. Credit Card Program Comparison Worksheet
6. Patient Handout #1: Information About Our Credit Card on File Program & Discontinuation of Statements
7. Patient Handout #2: What is a Deductible and How Does It Affect Me?
8. Sample Patient Agreement for the Credit Card on File Program

Register Now!

  • March 5, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/ 12:00 p.m. Central/
    11:00 a.m. Mountain/ 10:00 a.m. Pacific – Click here to register!

Posted in: 12 Ways to Supercharge Your Practice, Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Finance

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The Complete Guide to Revenue Cycle Management – A New Comprehensive Course from Manage My Practice

You spoke and we listened – you asked for a comprehensive course on Revenue Cycle Management and we brought it to you!

This series is for anyone who wants to understand the medical practice revenue cycle from the very beginning to the very end: physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, advanced practice registered nurses, practice administrators, office managers, consultants, vendors, students, coders, billers and those who want a RCM foundation to enter the healthcare field. Anyone who wants to know more about how reimbursement in healthcare works in the medical practice will find this comprehensive series indispensable.

You won’t find this comprehensive course anywhere else except at Manage My Practice. Webinar leader Mary Pat Whaley, FACMPE, CPC has developed this program from 25+ years of experience in medical practice management and from requests she gets weekly for education on the revenue cycle management process.

Improve Your Medical Practice's Revenue Cycle

The Complete Guide to Revenue Cycle Management – a Five Module Comprehensive Curriculum

Module I. The Foundation

  • Payer Contracting
  • Credentialing
  • Payer Matrix
  • Setting a Fee Schedule
  • Understanding Medicare Part B

Module II. The Data Build

  • Practice Management System Set-up
  • Allowables
  • Patient Demographics & Insurance Information
  • Eligibility & Benefits
  • CPTs, HCPCS, ICD-9

Module III. The Pre-Claim Process

  • Collecting at TOS
  • Documentation: Paper vs Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • Physician Coding vs. Abstraction Coding
  • The Superbill vs. Using the EMR to Bill
  • Claim Scrubbing: The Three Gates

Module IV. The Post-Claim Process

  • Write-offs, Denials and Appeals
  • Daily Reconciliation Process
  • Patient Collections and Payment Plans
  • Refunds
  • Recoupments

Module V. Monitoring

  • Monthly Reports
  • The Practice Dashboard/Snapshot Report
  • Strategies for Improving Revenue
  • Benchmarks for Staffing
  • Revenue Cycle Compliance and Auditing

Also Included! Action Pack – Handouts in Word/Excel

  1. Contract Reference Matrix
  2. Contract Review Template
  3. Fee Schedule Worksheet
  4. Medicare Resources
  5. Allowable Cheat Sheet
  6. Write-off Approval Form
  7. Daily Reconciliation Form
  8. Refund Request
  9. Monthly Report List
  10. Sample Snapshot Report
  11. Sample Revenue Cycle Compliance Plan

 

Here’s what one attendee wrote about a recent Manage My Practice Webinar “Information was right on! Great examples and real life experiences.”

 

5-Week Course for $799.00 (Two Options)

Option One : Every Tuesday for Five Weeks – March 12, 19, 26, April 2, and April 9

Click Here To Register!

Module I: Tuesday, March 12 @7pm ET for 90 minutes

Module II: Tuesday, March 19 @7pm ET for 90 minutes

Module III: Tuesday, March 26 @7pm ET for 90 minutes

Module IV: Tuesday, April 2 @7pm ET for 90 minutes

Module V: Tuesday, April 9 @7pm ET for 90 minutes

——————–

Option Two: Every Thursday for Five Weeks – March 14, 21, 28, April 4 and April 11

Click Here To Register!

Module I: Thursday, March 14 @1pm ET for 90 minutes

Module II: Thursday, March 21 @1pm ET for 90 minutes

Module III: Thursday, March 28 @1pm ET for 90 minutes

Module IV: Thursday, April 4 @1pm ET for 90 minutes

Module V: Thursday, April 11 @1pm ET for 90 minutes

——————–

Mary Pat Whaley

Mary Pat Whaley, FACMPE, CPC has 25+ years managing physician practices of all sizes and specialties in the private and public sectors. She is Certified Professional Coder, is Board Certified in Medical Practice Management and is a Fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Mary Pat has been providing free information and resources to physicians, care providers and medical practice executives since 2008. For questions about “The Complete Guide to Revenue Cycle Management” webinar, contact Mary Pat at (919) 370-0504.

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Collections, Billing & Coding, Compliance, Day-to-Day Operations, Finance, Medical Coding Education, Medicare & Reimbursement

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A Manage My Practice Classic: Words and Phrases to Use in Performance Evaluations

One of my favorite books of all time is “Effective Phrases for Performance Appraisals, A Guide to Successful Evaluations” by James E. Neal, Jr.  I have purchased many editions of this book through the years and I typically supply a copy of it to everyone in my practice who performs evaluations.

The contents of this book include:

  • Effective Phrases (in 63 categories including accuracy, development, interpersonal skills, and motivation)
  • Two Word Phrases (such as competing priorities, diversified approaches, fully prepared and team performance)
  • Helpful Adjectives (such as adaptable, capable, perceptive, and systematic)
  • Helpful Verbs (such as accomplishes, adheres, determines, and establishes)
  • Performance Rankings (such as exceptional, unsatisfactory, and distinguished)
  • Time Frequency (such as always, usually, rarely and seldom)
  • Guidelines for Successful Evaluations (rate objectively, use significant documentation and factual examples, plan for the appraisal interview, emphasize future development, and emphasize the positive)
No manager should be without this book! Click here to purchase a new or used copy of the book on Amazon.
For a simple, 5 question performance evaluation, click here.

Posted in: Day-to-Day Operations, General, Human Resources, Leadership, Manage My Practice Classics

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The Sunshine Act and Its Impact on Physicians and Patients

Physicians Payment Sunshine ActOn Friday, February 1st, The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their final regulations on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act that was passed as a part of Heathcare Reform in 2010. The PPSA or “Sunshine Act” mandates that any manufacturer of medical supplies, medical equipment or pharmaceuticals will disclose to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) any payments, gifts, or “transfers of value” over $10. The resulting disclosures will be publicly available in a database of transactions so that there will be “sunshine” on any financial relationships, direct or indirect, between providers and manufacturers. All of the disclosure requirements are the responsibility of the vendor, but the public nature of the resulting data has implications for day to day operations in your practice, as well as any relationships you might have with prominent manufacturers.

What is the Purpose of the Sunshine Act? (more…)

Posted in: Compliance, Day-to-Day Operations, Headlines, Leadership, Practice Marketing, Quality

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Guest Author Greg Fawcett: Essential Steps to a Successful Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Greg Fawcett has been a key partner for our clients and readers by providing us with a marketer’s perspective on how to get your practice’s message to your current and potential patients. In this blog post, originally published on the Precision Marketing Partners Blog, Greg discusses the building blocks to a successful marketing strategy.

Strategy for Marketing Your Medical Practice

Medical practice marketing is now a fairly common concept for many physicians and clinics. It wasn’t always that way, however, and Evanston Hospital in Illinois was one of the first healthcare institutions to create an official marketing position within the company. Now, it’s widely accepted that without a comprehensive healthcare marketing strategy, your practice is unlikely to be as successful in new patient acquisition as it might. If you recognize you need marketing but simply don’t know where to start, here are some essential steps to healthcare marketing that will put you on the right track.

Step 1: Identify Your Patient (more…)

Posted in: Leadership, Practice Marketing, Social Media

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