The SIX KEYS to sustaining your practice through the COVID-19 pandemic are online payments, Telehealth, automation tools, cyber protection, financial aid, and a good patient experience.
When Coronavirus first started to impact medical practices across the country, providers quickly put temporary solutions in place to ensure they were still able to see patients safely. As the pandemic endured, some of these “temporary” solutions became a “normal” part of doing business. While we can’t predict exactly how COVID-19 will affect us in the future, one thing is becoming clearer every day: Some of the changes that have been made the past few months will shape how healthcare is managed after the global health crisis is over.
So, it’s time to start thinking long-term with your COVID-19 strategy. Here are six ‘keys’ for sustaining your practice right now that will continue to be important after the pandemic is over.
1. ONLINE PAYMENTS
Most businesses already process a good amount of their payments online (including EZClaim), but healthcare has been slow to adapt in this area. Practices no longer have the luxury of taking their time adopting digital payment options. It’s time to give patients what they’ve been wanting for years: the ability to pay their bills online.
Because the pandemic is still with us, contactless payments have surged. No-touch payments are an easy way to reduce the spread of germs, and most people already have the tools they need to complete these types of payments: phones, computers, and credit cards.
Online payments are encouraged even when you’re meeting patients in the office. EZClaim customers can easily facilitate this with LinkPay. The process is easy and can be done once an appointment is made.
Here’s LinkPay in three simple steps:
1) Create customized payment link with required amount
2) Email or text the link to patient before their visit
3) Patient pays the required amount, which is immediately confirmed and processed
COVID-19 demanded contactless payments for safety, but now patients now expect them for convenience. Medical practices will need online payments if they are to stay relevant in the future.
Telehealth threw providers a lifeline when patients stopped coming into the office. The government acted quickly to relax Telehealth reimbursement policies so providers would be paid just as much for a Telehealth visit as they would for an in-office visit.
Congress is hoping to make these changes permanent. Whether they succeed or not, plan on keeping Telehealth as an option for your patients. Because Telehealth is not just useful during a pandemic, it’s great during normal life, too. Not all visits require an in-person encounter, and patients of all ages can benefit from the convenience of not having to physically leave their homes to get the medical care they need.
Patients have become used to having Telehealth as an option. Keeping it as an option going forward will set you apart from other practices.
3. AUTOMATION TOOLS
Chances are you are working with fewer people than normal. So, with less people to handle your billing and payments, your best option is to automate whatever you can.
This could mean setting up AutoPay for patients you see regularly, so they don’t have to manually pay their bill every time. It could also mean setting up a payment plan, in which a fixed amount will be paid automatically every month until the balance is paid off. It could also mean outsourcing your collections.
Automation doesn’t mean you lose control. Rather, it gives your staff more time to manage other essential operations. EZClaim customers have all of these automation options available to them through BillFlash.
4. CYBER PROTECTION
With digital tools becoming more prevalent, it is more important than ever to make sure your systems are protected. Hackers are out in full force right now, so it is imperative that you have proper malware and anti-virus software in place to protect your practice, your patients, and your employees. Do your homework on the tech companies you work with, too. Protecting your practice and your patients should be a top priority!
Of course, your staff will need to be up-to-date on HIPAA protocols, as well. Make sure you are doing everything you need to to protect patient privacy online as well as offline.
5. FINANCIAL AID
Some practices are struggling financially and may need government aid to get them through the current crisis. Keep an eye on government funds that are available and stay informed on their different requirements.
If you haven’t already, consider applying for a line of credit. This is standard operating procedure—even during normal times—and can help protect you from further financial disruptions in the future. No one knows how long this pandemic will last, so having a line of credit to fall back on during the coming months and years could be a game changer for your practice.
6. A GOOD PATIENT EXPERIENCE
Above all, you need happy patients. That is true whether we are in a recession or not. Happy patients are more likely to pay their bills, more likely to return for future care, and more likely to recommend you to family and friends.
So, as you make some of the changes you made during the pandemic permanent, make sure you are still doing the little things to ensure a positive patient experience. These include:
• Keep wait times short
• Maintain eye contact during visits to assure patients that you care
• Be transparent about payment expectations and insurance, as well as what you’re doing to keep patients and staff safe
• Allow patients to pay using their preferred payment method
• Offer payment plans in lieu of paying large bills in one lump sum
A positive patient experience will be key in bringing your patients back to the office as the global health crisis continues.
NexTrust from BillFlash offers a variety of innovative billing and payments solutions for EZClaim customers. Visit billflash.com or e-mail them at Sales@BillFlash.com to learn more about how you can get paid more, get paid faster, and ensure you have the online tools you need to thrive during the pandemic.
For details and features about EZClaim’s medical billing software, or the other partners they have integrated into their billing solution, visit their website.
[ Written by Kathy Scott, Marketing Manager at BillFlash and NexTrust, Inc. ]
The 2020 MIPS reporting is already half done, and given that MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System) is a points-based program, the goal is to earn as many points as possible to avoid this year’s 9% penalty and potentially even earn a positive payment adjustment. However, earning the 45 points necessary to avoid the penalty for the 2020 reporting period will be no easy feat. With over half of the reporting period already behind us, it is imperative you ACT NOW so you don’t find yourself in position later in the year that you can’t recover from in terms of earning points.
With all the complexities and nuances of the program, its challenging to know what you can do to impact your score. Here are three critical actions to take right now so that you will still optimize your ability to earn points for the 2020 reporting period:
1. Focus on the Quality Category
There are various points available within each of the categories and the Quality Category has the most points associated with it. Based on a number of factors, the category is worth anywhere from 45 to 85 points. This is a critical category to be focused on throughout the year, so now is the time to ensure that you are tracking all relevant data so that it can be properly reported on within your submission.
2. Understand the Timeframe Requirements
Two of these categories, Promoting Interoperability and Improvement Activities, have timeframe requirements where you must perform for a minimum of 90 continuous days. These are not easy categories in which to be successful and so if you wait too long in the year you will find it impossible to put the right actions in place in order to complete the activities necessary to earn any of the points in these categories.
3. Choose the Right Reporting Methodology
Not all reporting methodologies are the same and the reporting methodology you select has a significant impact on the points you could earn. Additionally, there is strategic maneuvering that can be done throughout the reporting period with exemptions and reweighting of points that can set you up to optimize your performance and your score. Therefore, you must select a reporting partner that will help you earn the most points available and leverages technology to facilitate the ease, accuracy, and completeness of tracking and reporting to maximize your score. Reporting via a CEHRT, like Health eFilings, is the best approach because it optimizes the points that could be earned and therefore, maximizes Medicare reimbursements.
Health eFilings is a certified EHR technology (CEHRT) and the national leader in automated MIPS reporting. Their cloud-based ONC certified software fully automates the reporting process. Because Health eFilings’ service is an end-to-end electronic solution that doesn’t require any IT resources, administrative support, or workflow changes from you, the practice will save significant time while maximizing its financial upside.
To learn more about how to properly perform your 2020 MIPS reporting, contact EZClaim’s partner, Health eFilings, so they can help before its too late!
For details and features about EZClaim’s medical billing software, or general information about the company, visit their website.
[ Written by Sarah Reiter, SVP Strategic Partnerships, Health eFilings ]
If you are a member of the MEDICAL BILLING COMMUNITY, the norms of the day-to-day have changed. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the ‘stay-at-home’ order, you may find yourself with either more time on your hands and/or an increase of claims with new patients. During this time, we want to offer you a couple of suggestions so that you can make the best use of the additional time you have, and also help you improve your billing processes.
The first thing to consider is to review your Accounts Receivable (AR)—to collect payments due you to INCREASE YOUR INCOME. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), claim denial rates range between 0.5% and up to 3% or more, and that 90% of claim denials are preventable. Some of the most common claim denial reasons can be rectified by correcting claim management workflows, including claim submission and patient registration procedures. The following are a few of the most common oversights for claim denial.
- Use EZClaim software to check automatically for missing information, including absent or incorrect patient demographic information and technical errors
- Make sure you do not have duplicate claim submissions
- Check that claims do not have services previously adjudicated
- Review for claims with services not covered by the payer
- Make sure the time limit for claim submission has not expired
Secondly, revisit and resubmit open claims. Surprisingly, 31% of providers still use a manual process to resubmit. Our partner, TriZetto Provider Solutions (TPS), has an Advanced Reimbursement Manager Pro (ARM) that has two great tools that can improve your ability to tackle collecting and repaying underpaid and overpaid accounts. Below are some key features that can be automated by their software, and will help to improve your billing processes:
- Identify common errors and payer trends
- Analyze contract performance
- Customize and assign work into queues
- Quickly access information from interactive dashboards
- Automate the appeal process
Thirdly, know that EZClaim and our partner TPS have worked together to bring you the most powerful medical billing software tools to solve claim denials. Our partnership not only simplifies the billing process but also helps resolve denied claims in an efficient way. In addition to that, our customer support team is available to help you learn best practices with these tools, and support you however you need it.
Finally, if you are frustrated with your current medical billing solution, investigate how EZclaim’s medical billing solution may work for you. You can 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Telemedicine was already growing in popularity prior to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. So, as the adoption rate increases, EZClaim clients may have questions about sending telemedicine charges and getting paid for Telehealth visits.
Telehealth challenges can range from issues with technology to getting paid. With Telehealth becoming the norm for many doctor-patient visits, it is important to have a thoughtful approach in place regarding collecting patient payments. To stay in business, you have to get paid for the work you are doing. So, establishing a process for Telehealth consultations is vital to your business, and it should be a top priority to build a successful program from beginning to end.
The answers to the following questions will help set the baseline for how to collect patient payments for
- What is my process for charging for copays?
- How and when do I collect outstanding balances?
For example, if you collect a payment before an in-person visit, you should collect a payment before a Telehealth visit, too. There is no need to re-create your process completely. Just change what is needed to match your current in-office routine.
Sending Charges Before a Telehealth Visit
A simple way to send pre-visit charges to patients is to provide them with a link that takes them directly to the payment site. EZClaim’s medical billing solution is integrated with BillFlash LinkPay, which enables customers to provide a payment for the upcoming visit. So, before the Telehealth session begins, the practice simply sends a link to their patient via an e-mail or text, making the appointment confirmation and the payment processing part of the check-in process. After the payment transaction is complete, it will immediately show up on the practice’s BillFlash report. LinkPay is designed to be easy to use, and doesn’t require patients to remember a login or a chart number.
Here’s how EZClaim enables the process through BillFlash:
- Prior to Telehealth visit, the patient is sent a link to pay through LinkPay, and another link to join the Telehealth call
- Patient pays the required amount through LinkPay, which is immediately confirmed and processed
- Patient joins the Telehealth session
- Results and follow-up are completed electronically
- Insurance billing is completed
- Patient receives paper statement or eBill notification for any remaining balance
- Patient is directed to pay the remaining balance online at MyProviderLink.com
Automate What Can Be Automated
With so many changes taking place in healthcare, a great way to help protect the financial stability of your practice is to automate what can be automated. This saves your staff time, and decreases your cost of doing business.
One way to do this is to set up automatic payment plans for patients, particularly for those who have been hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19. A payment plan is a good way of keeping the revenue flowing in, and it shows your patients that your are compassionate and willing to help them through these unprecedented times.
BillFlash also securely stores payment information, so patients will not need to re-enter their information every time they pay a new bill.
As you continue to adjust to Telehealth going forward, BillFlash can simplify patient billing and payments significantly and help getting paid for Telehealth visits.
So, for a LIMITED TIME (during May 2020), EZClaim customers can try BillFlash statement and eBill services for FREE for 30 days. Click on this link for more details about BillFlash or try it out for the next month.
For additional information, call BillFlash at 435-940-9123, or contact EZclaim’s support team at 877.650.0904 or email@example.com.
[Contributed by James Easley VP, Marketing NexTrust Inc.]
On January 13th we posted part one in this topic of Eligibility in healthcare, in that, we touched on deductibles, co-pay, and max out-of-pocket pay. Now in part two, we review the impact of price transparency in healthcare and its importance to the healthcare team decisions.
Consumers are the most important member of the healthcare team and are better collaborators in their care when they know all the variables and their required responsibilities in the process.
The individual consumer’s healthcare team includes, along with themselves, the physician and their staff, the pharmacist, an insurance adviser and possibly some gatekeepers as well. The communication of clear symptoms when a patient is diagnosed is the responsibility of that team along with building an understanding of the financial responsibility that goes with any medical solution. While providing answers, options and solutions is a provider responsibility, so is providing a cost for the provided care. Therefore, price transparency can be achieved when the cost for that care is presented in a clear and concise fashion so the patient can understand what they owe, why they owe it and when it is due.
Ensuring your staff is educated on discussing the financial responsibility with the patient from the first appointment and forward will strengthen the healthcare partnership and assist in the collection process. Understanding the steps that occur post the upfront estimate can be beneficial to the team. This discussion can be bolstered by ensuring bills are clearly marked with the statement, “this is a bill”, also clearly listing what the patient is being charged for when the bill is due and offering details on the methods of payment that are accepted. This clarifies what insurance will cover for the patient and their own out-of-pocket cost, prompting them to share any concerns and constraints with payments upfront.
Estimating patient responsibility is one part of the reimbursement process that is used for transparency for patient billing. The estimates can be provided using a spreadsheet of prior reimbursement and your most commonly billed CPT codes. If you would like an automated and more accurate option then look into a software tool like the Patient Responsibility Estimator by our solutions partner, TriZetto Provider Solutions (TPS). Giving this to the patient at the time of checking in will assure they have a rough idea of the costs and allow the office to collect upfront if needed.
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 Trial today!
[Contribution by Brenda Smelser with the DMC]