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
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 acrucial 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 toassess 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.
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.
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.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.