How Useful is Outsourcing Medical Billing for a Small Practice?

Medical billing is a necessity if your practice wants to get reimbursed for services provided. If you’re a small practice with only a few physicians, and having trouble deciding how to go about your practice’s billing, here’s some tips to help you decide if outsourcing medical billing is the right option for you.

Your options
First, you need to know who you can outsource to.  Some of the most common outsourcing options are professional medical billing companies, your Electronic Health Record (EHR) and practice management vendor, at-home specialists and practice management companies.

Focus on the practice
A small healthcare setting such as your practice cannot afford to keep a large medial office staff at its disposal. Your limited staff is probably overworked as it is. Even if they aren’t, it might still be extremely difficult for them to divert all their efforts towards billing, and moreover, they might not have the necessary know how and skill to optimally manage this service. Thus, by outsourcing your billing, your will free your staff to focus on the tasks they specialize.

Focus on the patients
Additionally, for physicians to efficiently manage providing patient satisfaction and quality care, they don’t need the extra stress of managing the practice’s financials. By outsourcing, you will have the time you need to focus entirely on your patients.

Expediting billing
Faulty coding leads to rejected claims, and I’m sure you’ve come across those time and again. But with dedicated personnel managing your medical billing, such errors will exponentially fall and consequently raise your revenue levels.   

Furthermore, the whole billing process will be expedited including the submission of claims, follow-up and the actual reception of money. Moreover, the outsourcing company might provide performance reports and aide you in enhancing the profitability and revenue cycles of your practice.

Another important problem outsourcing helps identify and cleanse is that of fraud. You will probably not be able to identify each and every inconsistency in your practice’s finances. The billing company will have a much higher chance of identifying them so that you can take necessary action against whoever is responsible for those. 

In conclusion, outsourcing can be a low-cost alternative which additionally provides you with the professional expertise to optimize the financials of your practice.

How Your Practice Will Benefit from the Endocrinology EHR

Electronic Health Record (EHR) solutions are designed in such a way as optimize efficiency and to decrease costs for providers. There are numerous different, customizable EHRs to cater to practice-specific needs. The Endocrinology EHR is one such option, which allows endocrinologists to simplify and enhance their practice’s functioning.

These customizable EHR’s provide simple solutions including those to accelerate the documentation process, track reports and facilitate online prescriptions. There are numerous benefits of these EHR for both physicians and patients. The system amalgamates the complete healthcare care delivery process, consequently boosting the healthcare experience for both parties.

Customizable templates and single screen information: Several pre-defined and customizable templates including those for performing physical exams and entering patient information will allow your practice to get to the workflow right away and also for faster data entry.

 You can make import images and comment on them which will allow you to create extremely useful medical drawings which speed up the diagnosis, analysis and treatment.

Moreover, with patient history, demographics, clinical notes, physical exams, lab results, and clinical alerts on a single screen, analyzing a case will become extremely simple and your productivity will rise.

E-prescribing, online labs and tracking: Using EHR, you can almost instantaneously review your patient’s drug history before prescribing medicines within a few clicks.

Flexible search options also allow for extremely quick data mining to extrapolate relevant patient information. Anomalous results will be automatically identified, so you can analyze data, trend information and track results with more ease and reach conclusions faster and more accurately.
Additionally, lab orders can also be sent and received online, saving valuable time for all parties concerned.

Get rid of paper: You won’t need piles of documents inundating your practice as paper charts, x-rays, photographs, diabetology images and medical drawings can be directly scanned, attached and copied to the EHR’s electronic chart.

Clinical Forms and Reminders: Detailed and complete visit forms including Diabetes Type-1, Type-2 and weight loss tracking (both before and after results) are available via this software. Additionally, auto generated clinical reminders based on characteristics such as age, gender and medical conditions allow you to send automatic reminders, for example, to patients who need more medication or require another test. This enhances the care experience for the patient and also helps prevent potential problems.

Ready for EHR Software?

You need to make sure that you have everything ready if your practice is trying to implement EHR software.
If you have issues in communicating with your current EHR software vendor, you need to make sure that there is one specific person in the organization who is overseeing the implementation and hence knows about each and every little detail about the software.

Before it is actually supposed to go live at the practice, make sure that you test the EHR software beforehand. Before the actual starting date, initiate the use of EHR software throughout the office a couple of months.

Analyze the occurred problems in the first place and take control of your previous problems caused by paper-based records.

It is crucial to keep asking relevant questions from the vendor about issues that you feel you might have to face with the software, and get answers on how they think these issues should be resolved. Putting in place someone who will coordinate with the vendors and solve issues at the workplace is another good idea.
Financial stability at the workplace is instrumental to handle the onslaught of EHR software because the implementation of EHR software can be a little costly in the implementation phase.

Benefits of cloud-based health IT systems

Health IT adoption continues to grow at a rapid rate but with that, the costs are on their way up too. A recent data from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), medical practices’ annual expenditures for every full-time physician on IT costs have increased from $15,211 in 2008 to $19,439 in 2012, showing an increase of 27.8%.
However, health IT is largely benefiting from the power of cloud to move beyond client-based technologies. Thankfully, cloud-based EHR, practice management and medical billing services are helping physicians mitigate the rising costs of health IT in these ways.

Low start-up costs
Instead of spending a huge sum of money up-front on expensive hardware or software in the server-based model, the cloud-based solutions require virtually no start-up costs because of their ability to use any current system with a browser and a working internet connection.

No IT staff required
With the server-based model, hardware and software are housed in your practice, requiring you to hire an in-house IT person or at least have an IT contractor whenever you develop a problem. As the case with any other industry, IT problems are common and you would be spending a lot on troubleshooting the problems whenever there are any.

On the other hand, cloud-based software is entirely managed by your health IT vendor and you don’t have to worry about repair costs in case there is any problem. Your data also stays safe because it is on the cloud and the vendors take care of repairs.

Free upgrades
Unlike server-based models, who can charge you hundreds of thousands of dollars in case of an update, most of the cloud-based health It vendors take care of updates and upgrades automatically. The completely integrated cloud-based solutions allow for updates across the network without disrupting your workflow.

Want to learn more ways to save your practice money? Read the “6 Simple Steps to Improve Practice Revenues” whitepaper.

Four reporting features your PM needs

Practice Management systems provide numerous benefits to medical practices. They help improve revenue cycles with features such as payer rules intelligence, streamline operations and promote engagement through patient portals.

The true power Practice Management systems reside in their ability to report well. Generating reports on practice operations can reveal performance trends and show areas that need improvement. However, when it comes to reporting, not all PM systems are equal.

Here are four characteristics that your PM must contain if you would like to generate reports that help you stay on top of your finances.

Customizable: Every PM software has its own set of reports which you should be able to access in a matter of a few clicks. However, the best PM systems allow users to create customized reports that show what you want to see. Some of the performance metrics that you would want to track are:
·         Gap between date-of-service and date billed
·         Time-of-data-entry per patient
·         Time-of-data-entry per encounter
·         Overall percentage of claims denied
·         Average life of denials and no-response incidents

User-friendly: You must remember, creating customizable reports will be of no benefit if it is a stress to use them. Reporting should be easy to read and understandable. Data should be able to be filtered easily through important categories like provider, location, date, payer and procedures. If you spend less time finding the information you need, you will have more time to attend to your patients.

Exportable in multiple formats: The reports from the Practice Management system should be exportable in multiple formats depending on each user’s preference and their mode of viewing the information. Some famous exportable report formats are PDF, CSV and XLS.

Remotely accessible: Another important feature to have is to be able to access the reports remotely from anywhere. Physicians and employees in your practice should be able to work from home whenever they want. An ideal fit for such are cloud-based PM systems, which are really convenient to access.

CMS looking to recover improper payments

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is looking to recover all the improper payments made through its Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Electronic Prescribing Incentive (eRx) Program.

This was revealed in a notice published in the Federal Register.
Problems such as data integrity, rejected and improper payments are the main cause of this step by the CMS. It plans a four-year project to skim through its records and will look for ways to avoid such issues in the future as well.

“Data submission, processing and reporting will be analyzed for potential errors, inconsistencies and gaps that are related to data handling, program requirements, and clinical quality measure specifications,” the notice reads.

CMS plans to survey 400 group practices, registries and vendors every year and interview a select number about the programs. Since the publication of the notice, there will be a 60-day comment period that will end on May 16.

e-Prescribing has continued to grow through the federal incentive programs. In 2012, nearly 69% of physicians used e-Prescribing, with a record 788 million prescriptions (44%) routed electronically in 2012, up from 570 million (36%) in 2011. These figures were revealed by Surescripts’ annual National Progress Report and Safe e-Rx Rankings.

A New York state law creating a prescription-monitoring database has been touted as reducing doctor-shopping for painkillers by 25%. That law requires that providers e-Prescribe all drugs by March 2015.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is calling for a similar effort nationally to help curb the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

The Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program is a reporting program that uses a combination of incentive payments and payment adjustments to encourage electronic prescribing by eligible professionals.

What Are Accountable-Care Organizations

Did you know? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering several Accountable Care Organization (ACO) programs. They include:

      Medicare Shared Savings Program – For fee-for-service beneficiaries

      Advance Payment ACO Model – For certain eligible providers already in or interested in the Medicare Shared Savings Program

      Pioneer ACO Model – Health care organizations and providers already experienced in coordinating care for patients across care settings

Are you participating in any of the Accountable care organization models offered by the CMS? If not, then you should start as soon as possible because it will help you bring down the cost of care delivered and improve the quality. Learn how you can benefit being an ACO with CureMD.