There are five things to consider as you reopen your medical office: Reevaluate your budget; Get your staff’s buy-in; How to actively bring patients back into the office; Continuing to use Telemedicine and other online tools; and be flexible.
As the curve flattens and restrictions around the country loosen up, medical practices are slowly reopening their doors for non-essential services. But reopening doesn’t mean business will resume as usual. Every industry is making changes as we navigate a “new normal.”
Many of those changes center on social distancing guidelines, but there are other matters to consider as well. Here are some details about the strategies to keep in mind as you reopen.
Reevaluate Your Budget
Government restrictions may be lifting, but medical practices are not going to bounce back immediately. Any financial goals you had in place for 2020 likely won’t be met this year.
Some budgetary adjustments will be necessary. Here are just a few ideas:
- Check in with vendors, landlords, and creditors to discuss any accommodations they may have for cash-flow disruptions
- Consider delaying payment of bonuses and other discretionary payments
- Seek aid from government economic relief packages and loans for small businesses and front-line workers. Stay informed on what your options are, as changes are ongoing.
This goes without saying, but make sure you’re up to date on patient billing and payments, too, including telemedicine visits. If you have patients who need extra time to pay their bills, EZClaim customers can set up a payment plan for them using BillFlash PlanPay.
Get Your Staff’s Buy-In
Before you start bringing patients back in, your entire medical staff needs to understand your new policies and be on board with enforcing them. They need to be reassured that their safety is a top priority, as well.
It’s been a difficult few months for front-line healthcare workers, and will continue to be stressful in the months going forward. Do what you can to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.
Actively Bring Patients Back to the Office
Some people are eager to get out of their homes and into public spaces again, while others plan to shelter in place a while longer. Either way, your patients aren’t going to return in droves. Many are less comfortable going back to a doctor’s office, so be proactive about making your patients feel safe enough to return.
Americans have become experts on how viruses spread over the past few months, so anything you’re doing to clean and sanitize your office should be visible. Affixing physical distancing floor markers, procuring enough PPE for your staff, and installing hand sanitizer stations is a good start. Show your patients what you’re doing to protect them; simply telling them what you’re doing when they aren’t around won’t be enough.
As you communicate your new policies to patients, be aware that they may be feeling overwhelmed. Be transparent and connect with them on a personal level. Don’t be afraid to show your human side; otherwise, your office will be just another place with a long list of rules to follow.
Keep Using Telemedicine and Other Online Tools
The technology that got you through stay-at-home orders can continue to support you long term. Telehealth isn’t going away. Plus, patients will still want contactless payment options.
Evaluate what has worked over the last few months and incorporate them as part of your new normal.
For example, you may want to have a plan in place regarding which patients get priority with Telehealth. At-risk individuals will still need to stay home as much as possible, so make sure Telehealth will still be an option for them.
Another tool that has been valuable during the pandemic is contactless payments. COVID-19 has changed the way people are paying—for the good. They want the option to pay their bills online, or directly from their mobile devices. Some patients will even consider switching providers if another practice offers them online payment options their current provider doesn’t have.
EZClaim easily accommodates a variety of payment preferences with its BillFlash integration, from online SelfPay to sending pre-visit charges for telemedicine visits (LinkPay). Sign up for a demo here. You can try BillFlash, at no cost, for 30 days.
Local outbreaks may still happen. Many households have lost income. Patients have different preferences and needs regarding where an encounter happens and how they pay.
Things are still changing by the week. As much as we all want a new, consistent normal, we need to be prepared to continue to make adjustments as needed. Ultimately, it is your patients and your practice’s financial health that will benefit from your ability to adjust with the times.
BillFlash, a fully integrated component and trusted partner of EZClaim, offers a variety of revenue cycle management services that have served EZClaim customers well for many years, as well as through the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information or to see a demo, contact BillFlash at 435-940-9123, email them at GetPaid@BillFlash.com, or visit their website at BillFlash.com.
For detailed product features or general information about EZClaim, you can either schedule a one-on-one consultation with our sales team, view a recorded demo, or download a FREE 30-day trial right now.
For general information about EZClaim, visit our website at ezclaim.com/
A recent medical billing webinar on Telehealth that EZclaim hosted is now available to review.
On April 30th, EZClaim hosted a Telehealth Updates Webinar for our clients with guest speaker Sandy Giangreco Brown – Director of Coding and Revenue Integrity Health Care at CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP
We had one of the largest viewing audiences 101 active attendees in the session. Sandy shared informative billing codes and direct links to update hands-on information for billers actively coding Telehealth sessions. For those of you who missed it, we have provided on our website the recorded session ezclaim.com/webinars and can provide the presentation slides too! Just send a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to get views of this presentation and look forward to hosting more hot topics with the CLA Team.
With the onset of COVID-19 came a great opportunity for clinics and hospitals to offer Telehealth and Communication Technology Based (CTSB) services. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, have provided many updates to the available services that can be provided and billed to the patients to help practices not only stay afloat financially but also and most importantly, to keep their staff safe and provide excellent care to their patients!
There were new guidelines released even after this webinar on 4/30/2020 (which can be found here – https://www.cms.gov/files/document/se20016.pdf, and now includes audio only Telehealth for services such as psychotherapy, tobacco cessation and medical nutrition counseling as well as diabetes self-management training. CMS is also increasing the payments for the Audio Only services from $14-$41 nationally to $46-$110.
As of April 30, 2020, in order to bill Telehealth, RHCs are now required to bill the G2025–CG–95 from January 27, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Then on July 1, 2020 to the end of the PHE, they will be billing the G2025 with an optional 95 modifier, per CMS SE20016 Medicare Learning Network Transmittal.
FQHCs will need to report three (3) codes for their Telehealth Services:
- G0467 (or other appropriate FQHC specific payment code)
- 99214–95 (or other FQHC PPS Qualifying Payment Code)
CLA is on the frontlines and closely monitoring and analyzing activities related to Telehealth and other virtual health regulations
CMS Telehealth fact sheet, Frequently Ask Questions:
As your practice adjusts to Telehealth going forward, EZclaim’s medical billing solution can help you simplify patient billing and help you get paid for Telehealth visits. (Our recent medical billing webinar on Telehealth may just help you better understand the current situation).
So, to help you investigate how EZclaim’s medical billing solution may work for you, either schedule a one-on-one consultation with our sales team, or download a FREE TRIAL to check it out the software yourself. For additional information right now, contact EZclaim’s sales team at 877.650.0904 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
[Contributed by Sandy Giangreco Brown – Director of Coding and Revenue Integrity Health Care, CliftonLarsenAllen LLP]
Patient Payments – Written by Stephanie Cremeans of EZClaim
Why do I have a balance? The golden question regarding patient payments every physician’s office staff member dreads beginning January 1st. Unfortunately, your patients are not usually savvy when it comes to the nuts and bolts of their contract, and they are frustrated. They thought their plan was good, but now they have a bill.
68% of patients failed to fully pay off medical bill balances in 2016, up from 53 percent in 2015, and 49 percent in 2014. This number is expected to climb to 95% by 2020
Source: Patients May be the New Payers, But Two in Three Do Not Pay Their Hospital Bills in Full, TransUnion Healthcare, June 26, 2017
So here we are, in 2020. Let’s make sure your office is equipped and able to collect patient payments for services rendered rather than becoming a part of this scary statistic.
Begin with the basics. Make sure that your staff understands these key terms and is comfortable explaining them to your patients.
Deductible – The deductible is the amount the patient has to pay for covered services before the insurance plan pays. Some insurance plans will apply an office visit to the deductible, others will not. Family plans typically have an individual and family deductible.
Copay & Coinsurance – These are both the portion the patient will be responsible for after their deductible has been met. Copays are a set, flat fee. Coinsurance is a set percentage that the patient will pay.
Max Out of Pocket – This is the limit of what a patient will pay for covered services within a plan year. Again, on family plans, there may be an individual max and family max.
Keep in mind your staff will not know the details of your patients’ plans, nor should they be expected to! In the ever-changing world of health insurance, our patients need to become better consumers. So just being able to explain these key terms and why they create a patient balance will help them become better insurance plan shoppers!
Use your tools. Look into using Integrated Eligibility (available through your billing software and your clearinghouse). This will allow your staff to check remaining deductible balances, copay and coinsurance amounts with the click of a button. These results allow practices to confidently collect at the time of service rather than spending time and money on sending statements and working collections after the visit.
Create a plan and stick to it. Use this time to review the efficiency of your patient collections plan. Are you using an outdated plan or policy? Have you considered offering payment plans to patients with an HSA card kept on file? Make sure that your employees understand how important patient collections are to the practice, educate them on the plan and support them when they hold patients accountable to the patient collections policy.
For more information on how EZClaim can help you with this journey, schedule time with our sales team. Ready to get started? Download your free 30-day demo today!