Last month we looked at tools for getting clean claims out the door on the first try. Many billers or practices stop monitoring claims once the leave the practice management program, but this is where you are likely losing money. The unfortunate truth is you need to use the tools available to you to catch rejected and denied claims to ensure proper and timely payment. Today we will look at rejections and denials, and the resources you have (or need) to work efficiently.
The terms rejection and denial are used interchangeably in the billing world but they have distinct differences, including how you are notified. Let’s start with defining the differences.
Claims can be rejected by the clearinghouse OR the payer
Rejections are based on submission guidelines
Rejected claims have not been entered into your payers system for adjudication
Notified through a claim status report (ANSI 277) that comes back into most practice management programs from the clearinghouse
Corrections do not require a resubmission code
Claims are denied by your payer
Denials are based on policy coverage
Denials have been accepted for adjudication and deemed unpayable
Notified on remittance advice (ANSI 835/ERA)
Payers may require a resubmission code and original reference number when submitting a corrected claim
If you are using a clearinghouse and receiving your claim status reports electronically, you will be notified quickly about rejected claims. There are two ‘checkpoints’ that will look for errors. The first is your clearinghouse, the second is the payer.
At each checkpoint claims will be Rejected or Accepted, these status updates come to you through a claim status report. If your practice management system is able to process these reports (ANSI 277) your claims will be updated with the accepted or rejected information you will be able to correct any rejected claims within your practice management system. When you see an error, start with checking who has rejected your claim. This will be the point of contact if you have questions about the rejection or how to correct it. If you are not already, make it a daily task to get your reports, correct any rejected claims, and resubmit those claims.
When a claim has been accepted by your clearinghouse and the payer it enters the adjudication system. This is where the payer will make a determination on payment based on the members coverage and your contract. The denials will appear on your remittance advice with a payment or as a zero dollar payment, indicating that they have reviewed your claim and they have determined no payment is applicable. If you are enrolled with you payer for electronic remittance advice (ERA) this file will come electronically and your practice management system will be able to list or identify denied claims. These claims will either need to be researched further for clarification on the denial or written off. It is vital that your practice management system can handle these scenarios appropriately so you do not lose money for payable services.
This is another scenario where technology can seem scary. However, efficiently monitoring and working is well worth the learning curve. If you are already sending electronically and not using the claim status report or electronic remittance advice – coordinate with your clearinghouse and practice management system to find out how these reports can save you time and money.
If you would like more information on creating workflows for rejections, denials, or enrolling with a clearinghouse, let RCM Insight help! Visit us at www.rcminsight.com to request a consultation.
[Contribution by Stephanie Cremeans with RCM Insight]
In this interview with a medical billing expert and co-owner of Elite Billing Resolutions, Vicky Greenwood, we talk about dealing with the challenges in owning a billing company, some important skills that every medical biller needs, and the value of choosing the right medical billing software. In our time speaking with Vicky, we focused on topics that will aid, contribute, and help grow the skills of the medical billing community. We at EZClaim believe in highlighting the best practices in the industry and sharing those with the larger community. We encourage you to consider these insights, and then let us know what topics you would like to learn more about.
EZCLAIM: When did you get into medical billing? VICKY: “I started in 1994, and at the time we were working on a dinosaur of a system called, “Signature.” We would have to wait overnight to process the entire day’s work. Then we would return in the morning to see if there were any errors in the batch or denials in the claims, which meant being accurate in entering information was essential. Outside of that, we kept all our paperwork in filing cabinets, and they needed to be sorted and organized by date. If a date was off in the filing system it could take the better part of a day to find a patient’s claim. The difference between then and now is night and day. I am definitely thankful for technology.”
EZCLAIM:Why did you start Elite Medical Billing? VICKY: “We started Elite Medical Billing because we wanted to be able to directlyimpact our medical practices with the services we provided, and we wanted the freedom to enjoy doing it for our clients. I also knew that I was experienced in the field, was competent at my job, and enjoyed doing what needed to be done to get practices paid. Once I honed those skills and knew we could do it. We hired a lawyer and an accountant, then formed our company.”
EZCLAIM: What are challenges in starting a company? VICKY: “First, you have to understand the value of time management and delegation. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. It is good to know when you need to ask for help. Next, you want to find good staff. I look for people who have the right attitude about the job first and have the characteristics to be proactive and work hard. Then, I look for experience in the field, learning if they had hands-on experience with claims, denials, and coordination of benefitsis part of that. At the end of the day, my staff are my [company], and fortunately, most of my staff have been with me from the beginning.”
EZCLAIM: Why did you choose EZClaim? VICKY: “We had a client who needed software and, being a smaller company, we needed cost-effective software with strong tech support. When we searched on Google for “easy to use medical billing software,” we found EZClaim. We were won over by the first phone call. Since then, we have been reminded of how great a decision that we made. The simplicity by which you can enter the information, process new patients, and ‘claim them’ within minutes is invaluable. That combined with the great customer service—that answers our questions most often on the first call with detailed answers—and video tutorial support is why we will continue to use and promote the software.”
EZCLAIM: Are you a member of AMBA and MMBA? VICKY: “We joined the MMBA and AMBA in 2016 to help us certify our billing company. That process and the training, testing, and materials were amazing pieces of helping us get established and grow. In addition, the expos, webinars, and online support offer an abundance of information. Of course, the annual expos are both informative and a great work trip for team building and fun. We make it annually to the MMBA, but our next big goal is to go to the AMBA in Las Vegas!”
EZCLAIM: Have some final thoughts to offer fellow medical billers and business owners? VICKY: “As a medical biller and owner, you have to be willing to talk with physicians. You need to show them the vouchers and documentation of your work. And it is important to communicate how they bill and how they can be sure to properly classify to get paid. You need to review what they have done in the past and how they can improve in the future by training staff.”
“You can also add value by making them the good guy and yourself the bad guy when dealing with patients and getting paid. We allow patients to call us directly, we answer the questions, and tell them how much they have to pay—then we forward the call to the office. Remember, at the end of the day, you have to show them the money. They work hard and they deserve to get paid.”
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.
Denials are a concern for every provider and institution. Denials stress every aspect of revenue cycle management as they eat away at the bottom line, stress cash flow, and subsequent operations, and drain and entangle administrative, clinical, and financial resources during appeals. IMO has the tools you need to aid in reducing denials.
Some estimates suggest that as much as 9% of claims are denied annually and with ~$3.6 Trillion in spending in 2018, ~$324 billion in claims were denied, initially. Fortunately, 63% of claims that were denied were recovered, but not without a cost.¹,²
A closer look at the causes for denials, suggests that missing or invalid claim data and medical coding accounted for 20% of denials.¹ Without a doubt, these mid-cycle and back end processes are critical components to efficient revenue cycle management.
We understand how important it is for practice managers to align clinical descriptions documented at the point of care to the correct ICD-10CM codes to ensure accurate coding and appropriate reimbursement.
IMO knows how challenging it can be to translate diagnoses documented in a provider’s clinical language to the appropriate ICD-10CM codes, especially when code sets change.
Furthermore, we understand the risk to the bottom-line if diagnoses are not accurately captured when they are transferred between systems.
To help our customers tackle coding challenges, simplify their workflow, and manage risk, we developed IMO Core, our industry-leading clinical interface terminology.
IMO Core can help billing and coding professionals streamline the process of transferring diagnoses and codes from the billing summary or EHR into the practice management system. Additionally, IMO Core helps maintain the clinical, diagnostic, and coding integrity of claims that originate from a different EHR system to help billing and coding professionals easily navigate through interoperability challenges.
With IMO Core you can:
Document more credibly
Maximize reimbursement by easily capturing secondary conditions
Reduce denied claims with accurate, specific diagnosis terminology
Increase Medicare Advantage reimbursement by identifying all HCC diagnoses and codes
Operate more efficiently
Quickly and accurately find and document diagnoses that are mapped to appropriate codes
Save time with diagnoses and codes that are automatically updated by IMO subject matter experts (SMEs)
Ensure accurate billing and coding with maintenance-free terminology that is always current
About Intelligent Medical Objects
At IMO, we are dedicated to powering care as you intended, through a platform that is intelligent, intuitive, and intentional. Used by more than 4,500 hospitals and 500,000 physicians daily, IMO’s clinical interface terminology (CIT) forms the foundation for healthcare enterprise needs including effective management of EHR problem lists, accurate documentation, and the mapping of over 2.4 million clinician-friendly terms across 24 different code systems.
We offer a portfolio of products that includes terminologies and value sets that are clinically vetted, always current, and maintenance-free. This aligns with provider organizations’ missions, EHR platforms’ inherent power, and the evolving vision of the healthcare industry while ensuring accurate care documentation and administrative codes. So, clinicians can get back to being clinicians, health systems can get reimbursed, and patients can more easily engage in their own care. As intended.
Need help getting your To-Do list done? We have you covered!
With 2019 nearing its close, now is a great time to evaluate your revenue cycle management
and look for areas of improvement in the coming new year. Make 2020 the year you put the
focus back on your patients by automating your revenue cycle and improving your bottom line.
The best place to start is by ensuring you get your To-Do list done early!
Making the list is just like a New Year’s resolution: Easy to do but hard to complete without a
partner there to support you. The right solutions should be at the root of your strategy. EZClaim
and TriZetto Provider Solutions (TPS), a Cognizant Company, have the tools and support to
make a difference in your practice and can help you get through the list:
Go digital – Check!
Improve denials management – Check!
Get paid faster – Check!
If these challenges are at the top of your 2020 To-Do list, get in touch with our revenue
cycle experts now to find out how we can help you check them off your list and make sure you
are ready to recoup all that you are owed in the coming new year.
In the meantime, download our infographic with the details of the financial and operational
benefits of getting your To-Do list done early this year.
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