If a medical billing program has “scrubbing,” why did my medical billing claim still get denied? It is a common question that we are going to answer today.
First, let’s get a better understanding of the words we are talking about. In the medical billing world, validation and scrubbing tend to be used interchangeably. While they are similar – they are not actually the same. Understanding what you have and what you need will help you submit ‘clean’ claims.
According to Technopedia, data validation checks for the integrity and validity of data and ensures the data complies with the requirements. So, what requirements? Often people assume that this means payer requirements, but that is typically not standard. Validation rules are built into your practice management software and can be used for several points. Following are some common rules you may find in your program:
Ensure NPI‘s and Tax IDs are the appropriate lengths
Ensure patients date of birth is entered
Ensure that a procedure code and place of service are present on each claim
While these scenarios are standard across the industry, there may be other situations that a validation rule can help. Some programs will allow you to create custom rules for your practice. A customized validation rule will allow you to create a rule for a payer requirement. For instance, you could create a rule to prevent the following:
Do you have a code that always requires a modifier, but only for a specific payer?
Work with pediatrics and always need the ‘relationship to insured’ to read something other than self
How about insurance ID numbers that are a specific alpha-numeric combo, like 3 letters followed by 9 digits?
Keep in mind, if you are creating validation rules the program will make sure that the criteria are met based on the rule entered into your software. When creating custom rules, it is important to note that this will not verify payer billing guidelines. You will need to obtain information directly from your payer to create a rule that coincides with their policies.
Once any validation errors have been addressed your claims will go to the clearinghouse you are working with. Most clearinghouses offer claim scrubbing for an additional fee. Technopedia defines data scrubbing as the procedure of identifying and then modifying or removing incomplete, incorrect, inaccurately formatted, or repeated data.
Claim scrubbing is available in several ways. It may be used within your practice management system, your clearinghouse, or even a third-party vendor. Claim scrubbing services can vary greatly in what they are looking for.
Once the claim has left your practice management system it will likely go through at least 2 scrubbing programs—one with the clearinghouse and one with your payer, prior to accepting the claim for processing. When claims are found to have an error, these results are sent back through a Claim Status Report (ANSI 277 file or a human-readable text file). This report will include information about why the claim cannot be processed. This report will also indicate whether it is the clearinghouse or the payer that is rejecting the claim. If you have further questions about the rejection, you will need to contact the entity that has rejected it.
Checking the Claim Status Reports on a regular basis will help you correct the errors and resubmit in a timely manner. In addition, the information you have gathered from the rejections can be used to update internal processes or create customized validation rules to prevent future rejections for the same error–saving you time and money!
RCM Insight is a medical billing company that uses EZClaim’s medical billing software. For any details that have to do with claims validation and “scrubbing,” contact RCM Insight directly.
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.
Do you have a fee schedule? If so, do you maintain it on a regular basis?
Well, this is an easy step to skip, but an annual review could put some extra cash in your pocket and help you keep a better handle on how much collectible money you have outstanding. Here are three things you should consider when creating or maintaining your fee schedule:
1. Mark Up the Charge Amount: Did you know that most payers will not pay you more than what you charge, even if you charge less than the allowed amount? They will accept whatever charge amount you have and adjust the difference, but they won’t pay you more than you charge. This can really cost your practice!
2. Allowed Amounts Change: In addition to payers updating the allowed amount for services, many insurancesare offering incentive-based programs you may be eligible to collect a percentage over the allowed amount! If you are basing your charge amount on the payer’s allowed amount you may never see the incentive money that you have earned! Even a small percentage can add up quickly!
3. Decide on an Amount: If you aren’t sure where to start, consider setting your charge amounts based on the Medicare allowed amounts. Using 150% of the Medicare allowed amounts is a fairly standard starting point.
In addition to keeping the fee schedule current, make sure to monitor Allowed Amount and Paid Amount on a monthly basis. If you find that you are collecting the full allowed amount, it is time to increase the charge amount so you don’t leave money on the table!
If you need help getting started, consider working with a consultant. At RCM Insight, we offer annual fee schedule reviews. During the month of February 2021, we will be offering four practices a FREE fee schedule review, so visit our website at www.rcminsight.com and visit the CONTACT US page for your chance to win!
RCM Insight uses EZClaim’s medical billing software for their billing services. For more details about EZClaim’s medical billing solutions, visit their website, e-mail their support team, or call them at 877.650.0904.
[ Contribution: Stephanie Cremeans with RCM Insight ]
So, it looks that there will be a lot new for E/M coding (Evaluation and Management) in 2021, and practices should start to get ready for it.
Well, it seems the only constant in the world of medical billing changes, and 2020 would only compliment that cliché. While the chaos of COVID-19 forced many unexpected changes—how you see your patients and bill for services—a bigger change is in the works for 2021. This change will complement the “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative from CMS and the AMA, which has been developed to eliminate “Note Bloat.” So, since the new year will roll out changes to E/M visits, now is the time to make sure that all parties are prepared for this long overdue and welcome change to medical billing.
Evaluation and management services have been long overdue for an overhaul. The 1995/1997 guidelines were in place well before electronic medical records, and with the growth of EMR’s, the process to document for a specific level required a lot of tedious, unnecessary documentation. (A cursory look at some of the proposed updates for E/M CPT coding and documentation requirements will verify that!)
PROPOSED CHANGES: • History and Examination: While the elements of history and examination that are pertinent to a specific visit shall be recorded, they will no longer be used to ‘score’ the level billed • Code Selection: It will be based on MDM or time • Medical Decision Making: It will still utilize the CMS Table of Risk. However, the wording and explanations are being updated to provide more concise language. For instance, definitions will now be included to clearly identify subjective wording like “self-limited and stable chronic illness.” The clinical example will likely be removed, and the terms are more clearly defined. We will see this same type of clarification in the MDM table. For example, the 2021 guidelines will specify that the amount and/or complexity of data to be reviewed must also include analysis. • Time-based Code Selection: It will also be easier. The guidelines will give specific amounts of time rather than the generic estimate that we currently see attached to E/M codes. Another major advantage to the codes selected based on time, they will now include non-face-to-face services. There will also be additional add on codes—in 15-minute increments—if the time has been exceeded for the 99205 or 99215.
While changes are daunting, this change will be rewarding from a documentation standpoint. So, if you need help with training your team on these new updates, there are FREE videos available on the AMA website, or you can enlist the help of an independent consultant like RCM Insight.
One way of keeping up with these changes is to use EZClaim’s medical billing software, which is continually updated. For more details, visit their website, ezclaim.com, contact them, or just give them a call at 877.650.0904.
Compliance Plan Breakout – Written by Stephanie Cremeans of EZClaim
Any provider that is treating Medicare or Medicaid patients is required to have a compliance plan for their practice. This is mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has established an outline of seven components to help the small or individual provider offices get started. They also understand that small practices don’t typically have extensive resources creating and establishing a plan, and encourage practices to start with one item, making the compliance plan a working document that is updated and added to as necessary. The seven components are as follows:
Conduct internal monitoring and auditing
Implement compliance and practice standards
Designate a compliance officer or contact
Conduct appropriate training and education
Respond appropriately to detected offenses and develop corrective action
Develop open lines of communication with employees
Enforce disciplinary standards through well-publicized guidelines
Let’s dig in a bit to the first component, conducting internal monitoring and auditing. Starting with this step will help a practice lay the groundwork of its compliance plan and shed light on areas that need additional work. There is no set number of records that are required to be audited, rather a suggestion of 5 (or more) per provider annually for a small or solo practice. You can start your compliance plan by simply documenting that no less than 5 charts per provider will be audited annually. Keep track of the results and use them to start implementing other components. For instance, you have the audit results, but what is considered passing? What are you going to do if a provider isn’t compliant? Document the answers and you are building your plan. Did the audit show specific areas for improvement? Find applicable training or host training for those that need it, document it in your plan. Did you find overpayments? Document how these are to be handled, resolve them quickly, and put policies in place to prevent a bigger problem.
By taking steps to create a compliance plan and show a good-faith effort to improve on risk areas your practice will reap the benefits of clean claims with a reduction in denials, fewer billing errors, and the assurance that your records are ready for an audit. This will also reduce your risk exposure to fines.
For help getting started with that first audit, setting benchmarks and improvement plans or for education on problem areas contact RCM Insight. For additional assistance with building your HIPAA compliance plans contact Live Compliance.
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