After Pandemic Impact and Outsourcing Revenue Cycle Management

After Pandemic Impact and Outsourcing Revenue Cycle Management

After Pandemic Impact and Outsourcing Revenue Cycle Management

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt in every industry for many months to come. For medical providers, they are facing some of the most challenging financial times they will or have known. Therefore, we understand that it is crucial for providers to re-access their business and look for ways to cut costs with minimal impact on their practice or their patients.

To compound the issues providers are facing, there has been a wave of changes in recent years with new coding and telemedicine requirements that are making it difficult for provider offices to remain independent. Add on the constant rise in the cost of living and expenses while insurance reimbursements continue to decrease, and the issues get worse and worse.

Many have decided that outsourcing to a complete revenue cycle management company could help alleviate some of the undue burdens, cut costs, and keep providers compliant with their coding and billing. Ultimately this allows providers to continue to focus on patient care, which is their goal. As providers, you understand that revenue cycle management is a crucial part of your physician’s office. If not managed properly, it could result in an office leaving thousands of dollars on the table in unclaimed revenue. Over the years, our free audit services have allowed providers to have a free, transparent, and unbiased assessment of how their accounts receivable department functions. We are always amazed at how many providers do their billing in-house, and sometimes even when they outsource,  are not aware of how much money they have sitting in their accounts receivables.  Getting this knowledge is the first step to increasing revenue and efficiency.

In-house medical billers and third-party outsourced revenue cycle management companies should be giving provider offices monthly aging reports to assess their financial forecast. Each accounts receivable bucket over 60 days should hover at approximately 1 0% or less of the entire revenue balance. If account receivable buckets are higher than 10%, providers may be leaving money on the table, and the account may not be getting worked as providers think they are. In efforts to avoid unpaid claims and a spike in accounts receivable, outsourcing your revenue cycle management to a third-party medical billing company, such as BC Medical Billing, could help providers in countless ways. Many practices recognize that keeping their revenue cycle management optimized is key in delivering regular practice operations; however, they are not always sure how to achieve that. Outsourcing may be the solution!

Outsourcing alleviates the practice from managing a new medical billing employee, paying a salary and benefits, completing training and onboarding protocols, and managing the lost time from a learning curve. Many providers feel that it is not a wise use of the back office executive personnel’s time to worry about finding coders in-house and then wondering if the charges are captured and billed correctly. Instead, the business office should be focusing on how to grow the providers and the physician practice.

Our free audits will help you determine if you have found the right solution for you. If not, we are always there to assist and always increase the provider’s revenue.


ABOUT EZCLAIM:
As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.

[ Contribution from the marketing team at BC Medical Billing ]

Pandemic Impact and Outsourcing Revenue Cycle Management

Pandemic Impact and Outsourcing Revenue Cycle Management

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt in every industry for many months to come. For medical providers, they are facing some of the most challenging financial times they will ever know. Therefore, we understand that is it crucial for providers to re-assess their business and look for ways to cut costs with minimal impact on their practice of their patients.

To compound the issues providers are facing, there has been a wave of changes in recent years with new coding and telemedicine requirements that are making it difficult for provider offices to remain independent. Add on the constant rise in the cost of living while insurance reimbursements continue to decrease, and the issues get worse and worse.

Many have decided that outsourcing to a complete revenue cycle management company could:

    • help alleviate some of the undue burdens
    • cut costs
    • keep providers compliant with their coding and billing

Ultimately, this allows providers to continue to focus on patient care which is their goal. As providers, you understand that revenue cycle management is a crucial part of your physician’s office. If not managed properly, it could result in an office leaving thousands of dollars on the table in unclaimed revenue. Over the years, our free audit services have allowed providers to have a free, transparent, and unbiased assessment of how their accounts receivable department functions. We are always amazed at how many providers do their billing in-house, and sometimes even when they outsource, are not aware of how much money they have sitting in their accounts receivables. Getting this knowledge is the first step to increasing revenue and efficiency.

In-house medical billers and third-party outsourced revenue cycle management companies should be giving provider offices monthly aging reports to assess their financial forecast. Each accounts receivable buckets over 60 days should hover at approximately 10% or less of the entire revenue balance. If account receivable buckets are higher than 10%, providers may be leaving money on the table, and the account may not be getting worked as providers think they are. In an effort to avoid unpaid claims and a spike in accounts receivable, outsourcing your revenue cycle management to a third-party medical billing company, such as BC Medical Billing, could help providers in countless ways. Many practices recognize that keeping their revenue cycle management optimized is key in delivering regular practice operations; however, they are not always sure how to achieve that. Outsourcing may be the solution!

Outsourcing alleviates the practice from managing a new medical billing employee, paying a salary and benefits, completing training, and onboarding protocols, and managing the lost time from a learning curve. Many providers feel that it is not a wise use of the back office executive personnel’s time to worry about finding coders in-house and then wondering if the charges are captures and billed correctly. Instead, the business office should be focusing on how to grow the providers and the physician practice.

Our free audits will help you determine if you have found the right solution for you. If not, we are always there to assist and increase the provider’s revenue.

 

 

 

5 Medical Coding Challenges That Hurt Revenues

5 Medical Coding Challenges That Hurt Revenues

In the world of healthcare revenue cycle management, there are numerous scenarios that can put a stranglehold on your revenue if you’re not prepared. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing varying degrees of change in inpatient volumes and visits, and telemedicine coming further into play, physicians and their practices are having to quickly navigate the nuances of their financial well-being. A practice may be buttoned up from the time the patient walks in the door, but what happens after the visit will determine when the practice will get paid. This element of the revenue cycle starts with coding. Here are five medical coding challenges that will ruin your bottom line.

1. Coding to the Highest Specificity
Missing data on a claim relative to the patient’s diagnosis and procedure can easily cause a rise in denials once received by the payers, resulting in potentially thousands of dollars in write-offs. Medical coders are responsible for coding patients’ claims to the highest level of specificity, ensuring the appropriate CPT, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS codes are applied based on the patient’s chart from the day’s services.

COVID-19 and telemedicine are frequently bringing on new codes and code sets, all with different variations and modifiers to make the matter even more complex. Medical coders spend a lot of time researching and learning new codes, but every year – and throughout the year – changes and updates are made. Payers don’t only want to know the diagnosis and the treatment; they want to know the cause as well. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed in March of 2020 allows for an additional payment from Medicare of 20 percent for claim billed for inpatient COVID-19 patients, however, it was later indicated that a positive COVID-19 test must be stored in the patient’s medical records in order to be eligible for this payment. Being able to stay on top of codes specific to the patient’s diagnosis at treatment is more difficult than ever before.

2. Upcoding
While code specificity is important, so too is ensuring the claims do not contain codes for exaggerated procedures, or even procedures that were never performed, resulting in reimbursement for these false procedures. This seems logical enough, but upcoding can easily occur as a result of human error, misinterpretation of a physician’s notes, or lack of understanding of how to appropriately assign the thousands of ICD-10-CM codes in existence. To add to the pressure, the Office of the Inspector General issued a plan with objectives to prevent fraud and scams, and remedy misspending of COVID-19 response and recovery funds.

Much like under-coding or not providing enough data on the patient’s visit can create issues, upcoding can be a major contributor to financial loss for a practice. Questionable claims can be denied and sent back for corrections and appeals, but upcoding can have more serious ramifications outside of paper-pushing between coders and payers.

Whether it’s making sure the codes are in accordance with the care provided, understanding the code sets that apply for each procedure, or comprehension of the medical record, refraining from upcoding will help ensure a sturdy and compliant revenue stream.

3. Missing or Incorrect Information
There’s a common theme to coding challenges, and that’s having the sufficient information necessary. This information typically is pulled from a patient’s chart or record of a visit, which is often completed by the attending physician. However, even when a claim is submitted, providing required information relative to the procedure to the payer is critical as well. Situations such as failure to report time-based treatments (such as anesthesia, pain management, or hydration treatments) or reporting a code without proper documentation can result in denials.

Furthermore, information in a patient’s electronic health record may also contain inaccurate information. Keystrokes and other human errors can cause these situations to flare up, and it takes a diligent, thoughtful coder to read between the lines and ensure claims have the appropriate information.

4. Timeliness of Coding
The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) suggested in their 2018 Setting Practice Standards report that a Primary Care Physician should maintain a claim submission rate of 3.11 days after the date of service, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for practices to sustain anything close to this rate. Constant changes to code sets, an increased focus on submitting claims with sufficient and compliant information, and the requirement to code claims to the highest level of specificity, can easily delay the submission by days or weeks.

Nevertheless, delays in coding and submitting claims can cause major lags in payment and substantial loss in revenue. Insurance payers have statutes of limitations that require claims to be submitted anywhere from 120 to just 60 days after the date of service. Simply put – the more time spent coding the claim, the later it will be submitted, thus increasing the odds that the claim will be denied. Expert coders are aware of this and do everything in their power to get coded claims out the door.

5. Staffing Shortages
However, finding experts well versed in coding claims quickly, accurately and in compliance with the False Claims Act is not always an easy task. As you can imagine, the increasing need for care within the senior population is causing a rise in claim volumes, and trying to find a team of coders who know the ins and outs of complex ICD-10-CM coding can easily cause a bottleneck in the revenue cycle. Health executives expressed their struggles to find talent back in 2015, and some forecasts expect a decline in commercial payments by 2024 to further hamper a C-suite’s ability to manage labor costs. The ramifications of incorrect coding are still a key topic of discussion to this day.

The time has come for practices to begin looking outside of their organization for coding support. How is your practice planning to tackle the coding conundrum? When choosing a partner for your medical coding needs, you need to pick an expert to help your practice stay on target. TriZetto Provider Solutions, a Cognizant Company, has available highly-trained, AAPC & AHIMA certified coders with the experience of getting the details right the first time and understand the importance of coding to the medical practice.

For more information about TriZetto Provider Solutions, a partner of EZClaim, visit their website, contact them, or give them a call at 800.969.3666.


ABOUT EZCLAIM:
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, e-mail them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.

[ Contribution of the TriZetto Provider Solutions Editorial Team ]

EZClaim’s Best Blog Posts of 2020

EZClaim’s Best Blog Posts of 2020

It goes without saying that 2020 will go down in the history books as unprecedented for us at EZClaim. Still, we worked hard to stay positive and navigate the storm by offering resources to you, our clients, the content that matters to you. As an end-of-year bonus, and a ‘kick-off’ for 2021, we reviewed the blogs and social posts you read and reacted to the most and thought we would share them.  

 

So, here are the best blog posts of 2020:

#1: How to Improve Medical Billing Revenues
As a medical billing company, we work hard to understand how we can help our clients increase their revenue and improve their billing process. Those who do this best are experts in the medical billing and coding industry. So, it makes complete sense that your interest peaked on our article concerning improving revenues. Enjoy reviewing our number one article of 2020!  [ Click to read the post ].

#2: What Will Be New for E/M Coding in 2021? 
Last year brought about a long list of changes to billing and coding, as well as, the medical industry as a whole. From the obvious boom in Telehealth, to the updates in evaluation and management services, those working in the industry were impacted immensely. Based on these shifts in industry and the impact on you, our clients, we thought a look into what was coming in 2021 would be useful—and so did you. You read, reacted, and shared the value of this content with others. Now we are sending you a reminder that this was our number two article for the year.  [ Click to read the post ].

#3: Collecting Payments from Patients. Find Out How.
No matter how chaotic things get, there is still a practical side of our industry that needs to be addressed. That is why we worked to keep the focus on the basics, speaking about the ‘bread and butter’ of our industry, collections. In this practical article, we focused on the keys to educating the patient and how doing so will help keep you ahead of the collection as a whole.  [ Click to read the post ].

#4: Reports – Nuisance or Necessity?
At the end of the day, you want to go home and no one wants to be stuck in the office doing double-duty on reports. You know as well as we, that getting reports done correctly the first time is key to reducing stress and going home happy. That is why we distilled some of the keys in running reports that would make your life more straightforward. The fourth article on our list will do just that by helping you make sure the dates, details, and destination of your reports are in the right place.  [ Click to read the post ].

#5: Why Do I Have A Balance? – Patient Payments
Saving the best for last, especially as we approach tax season, we come in with our final of our best of 2020 by talking about balances. Every practice ends up spending those final hours of the year figuring out where those dollars and cents went. In this article, we gave you tips on deductibles, co-pays, and max out-of-pocket that helps your bottom line. Closing out 2020, don’t miss a few keys to help you balance the books.  [ Click to read the post ].

 

These are EZClaim’s best blog posts of 2020, but these were not the only blog posts we did. So, if you would like to explore the other blog posts we did, click here for our blog page.

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ABOUT EZCLAIM:
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, e-mail support, or call a sales representative today at 877.650.0904.

New Year, New Codes: Medical Coding Changes For 2021

New Year, New Codes: Medical Coding Changes For 2021

With a new year comes new medical coding changes.

After the examinations, x-rays, and surgeries, lives another major part of a physician’s day that happens behind the scenes. All the hard work needs to be processed through a successful claim submission, meaning that ultimately earning payment all boils down to one thing – coding. Evaluation and management codes, or E/M codes, are codes a physician uses to report a patient visit. This administrative task – a necessity for any physician – is often cumbersome and prone to errors. Most importantly, it uses up valuable time that could be better spent.

How many of us have experienced the “hurry up and wait” scenario? The type of appointment where you wait in a waiting room, then wait a little more in the exam room, then eventually get 10 minutes with your doctor…only to be rushed out so the next patient can be shuttled in. Unfortunately, it’s all too common. It’s safe to say that many patients could benefit from more face-to-face interaction with their providers.

Many people claim that payment for evaluation and management services is undervalued, specifically when it comes to ambulatory services. Additionally, it’s been argued that the fee schedule itself is not well-designed to support primary care, which requires ongoing care coordination for patients. Pressure existed to increase payment rates for ambulatory E/M services while reducing payment rates for other services. Thankfully, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) took notice. With the goal of increasing efficiencies to reduce unnecessary burdens, the “Patients over Paperwork” initiative was established. Per CMS, E/M codes make up 20% of total spending under the physician fee schedule. Part of this initiative aims to reduce the coding and documentation requirements for E/M codes, in turn giving physicians more time to spend with patients. In partnership with The American Medical Society (AMA), CMS worked to revise the rules for evaluation and management coding requirements. These changes were finalized in the 2020 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) with an effective date of January 1, 2021.

 

So what exactly was revised? The E/M updates affect codes 99201 through 99215 and include the deletion of code 99201 along with revisions to the code selection for 99202 – 99215. Below is a summary of the revisions to E/M codes:

  • Elimination of code 99201
  • Decrease the burden of coding requirements
  • Decreases the burden of documentation
  • Decreases the need for audits
  • Revises the definitions for Medical Decision Making (MDM)
  • Revises the definition of time spent with the patient to total time including non-face-to-face for E/M services by a physician and other QHP
  • Requires a history and/or examination when medically< necessary
  • Offers a clear time ranges for each code for time spent with the patient
  • Addition of a new 15-minute prolonged service code
  • Clinicians will choose a code based on MDM or total time

 

These changes apply to office visits and other outpatient services. It’s noteworthy that these changes represent the first changes to the E/M codes in over 25 years! More importantly, the changes streamline the coding process, reduce clinician burden, and will allow physicians to put the focus back on patient care.

Billing and coding should always be top of mind, but it can be hard to keep up. This is why it’s critical for physicians, clinicians, coders, and billers to completely understand these changes. To help comprehension, the AMA released a checklist identifying ten steps to help the practices prepare for the upcoming changes that can be accessed here. To learn more about the medical coding changes and the summary of revisions, visit the AMA website.

 

TriZetto Provider Solutions is a partner of EZClaim, and can assist you with all your coding needs. For more details about the EZClaim medical billing solution, visit their website, e-mail their support team, or call them at 877.650.0904.

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Note: This article is not a comprehensive overview and is NOT intended to provide coding advice, rather it is intended to highlight the new changes in effect and the need for physicians to ensure they have received the proper training for the upcoming changes. 

[ Contributed by TriZetto Provider Solutions Editorial Team ]