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How the front Desk Team Optimizes the Front End of Pediatric Revenue Cycle and Billing

May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized by support Team  |  Comments Off on How the front Desk Team Optimizes the Front End of Pediatric Revenue Cycle and Billing

The revenue cycle for a Pediatric Practice consists of a front and back end. The processes and procedures of claim submission and patient statements are usually established and led by the group that manages the back-end of the revenue cycle. If you outsource your billing for your Pediatric practice, this is the Medical Billing Company that manages the billing of insurance companies and patients. This billing company should have defined processes and systems to manage their billing and collections for clients. They should provide the practice with a billing manual on how they manage the billing for the practice. This manual helps insure there is good communication and compliance with a process. Make sure to select a company that has processes and procedures with focused experienced in Pediatrics. If your practice utilizes a biller in-house, you need a practice administrator to develop processes and procedures then monitor these processes on a routine basis to insure adherence to these systems. Some questions include: what % of claims is sent to the insurance company within 3 days of being seen in the office? What is the rejection rate at the clearing house? What are the trends in re-submissions? How often do you train your billing team? Is the biller aware of the current changes in codes and coding rules? What is your management plan? Although physicians have the intellect to learn these items, does this extra management and learning reduce revenue generating areas like new patients and alliances with other providers? No matter if the billing is managed by a professional billing service or in house, the practice will need to manage the front end of the revenue cycle.

What is the front end of the revenue cycle? The most important aspect of the front-end of the revenue cycle is managed by the front desk team. Prior to a patient checking in, a front desk team member needs to verify the patient’s insurance, collect the co-pay, scan the insurance card and collect any outstanding bills. How well the ‘back end’ casino online of the revenue cycle communicates with the front end is important to optimize the payment due from payments. This level of coordination and communication is dependent on the system being used as well as the people using the system. For instance, a good system will allow the billing team to flag a patient that has a balance so that this information shows up on the schedule when the person checks in. The staff at the front desk needs to be coached and provided feedback on their consistency on collecting any flagged balances. A person in the practice (usually a physician partner) should be reviewing each week to verify that all co-pays are collected, insurance cards scanned in and patient balances collected when the patient shows up.

These are some examples of what the front desk team needs to do. Managing the front end of the revenue cycle is usually very simple and not time consuming. No matter if the practice leverages a professional billing company or decides to utilize their own billers, it is in their best interest to manage the front end of the revenue cycle.

Phase I Meaningful Use for Pediatric Practices: The Need to Change or Modify Practice Processes

May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized by support Team  |  Comments Off on Phase I Meaningful Use for Pediatric Practices: The Need to Change or Modify Practice Processes

I was on the phone with one of our valued customers this morning discussing Phase I Meaningful Use and the details on the “how” related to Meaningful Use. The overall goal of Health and Human Services is that providers utilize a certified E.H.R. in a meaningful way. A group of individuals invested months of discussions and feedback to obtain a list of parameters. One challenge for the group is to provide a universal list that applies across all fields of medicine. Some of the parameters in Pediatrics only apply to a certain segment of the population. For example, smoking status is for patients greater than 13 years of age. There are core measures that each provider needs to meet the benchmark for all these measures during the 90 day period being measured as well as selecting a list of 5 of the 10 menu measures.

A good E.H.R. system should provide a simple manner for a physician and/or Practice Administrator to evaluate performance of each of these benchmarks as well as very easily ‘drill down’ to identify how to correct/update patient data associated with the measure. How to use a meaningful use dashboard should take minimal training and review. The E.H.R. vendor should be able to guide an individual in the practice on the process via a web meeting or teleconference. So if you selected the ‘right’ E.H.R. system for Pediatrics, using the software and monitoring meaningful use should be straight forward.

The ‘tough’ part of Meaningful use: Changes to how the practice operates. For example, most practices did not record language, race and ethnicity as part of their intake/demographics. This needs to be captured for over 50% of patients seen during the 90 day measurement period for Phase I. If your E.H.R. system is well design, the practice should be able to click on a link and show the patients that do not have this information during the 90 day period. The most efficient way to enter this information is to capture the data when the patient visits the office. The “ah-ha” moment for many individuals is when they first run a meaningful use report, then they make the changes to their office flow and intake forms as needed.

Some questions to ask related to Meaningful use and your Pediatric Practice: Are we entering all medications in the system and sending medications via electronic prescriptions? Do we list the problems for each visit and maintain the patient problem list? Are we maintaining our Medication list and Allergy List? Does our standard protocol for demographics include recording smoking status of patients >13 years of age? Do we record vitals on each visit? Can we connect to the immunization registry? Are we connected to the lab companies that we send the majority of our labs?
This is not meant to be an a complete list of questions but a list to stimulate thinking around meaningful use. There are many resources, websites and references to obtain detailed information. Good luck on meeting Phase I Meaningful Use!

Is Your Pediatric Practice Achieving >99% Collection Rate versus the Contract Amount?

April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized by support Team  |  Comments Off on Is Your Pediatric Practice Achieving >99% Collection Rate versus the Contract Amount?
2011 Pediatrician Pay versus other Specialities

2011 Pay of Pediatrician versus other Physician Specialities

Many Pediatricians look at their deposits in the practice bank account as well as track the increase/decrease in revenue. The practice has to provide optimal Pediatric care and achieve >99% collection rate to optimize the revenue collection process. Given that Pediatrics are the lowest paid specialty (per the 2011 Medscape Salary Survey – see link at http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2012/public?src=ptalk&firstbullet), insuring that the practice achieves the revenue due per the contract is a necessity.

Increasing revenue year on year is important but an increase in revenue might not mean increased income/profit for the practice. For instance, if the practice has a 10% increase in visits that is due primarily to higher rates of vaccine visits, and the practice has vaccine leakage (loss of vaccines) as well as sub-optimal coding and billing follow-up, the overall practice profit might decrease. How could this happen and how could I prevent this from happening?

How a lower profit margin could happen? According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) via benchmarking of collection rate, the average practice collects 95% of their contract amount. If a practice has ‘average’ billing systems and processes in place, per the MGMA benchmark of 95%, the practice would not see 5% of their revenue. If the practice had revenue of $1,000,000, they did not collect $50,000 of the contract amount (either the insurance or the patient did not pay). In addition to this, some practices lose entire visits because of the disconnect between the biller and the clinical (common when the practice fills out paper charts and paper billing sheets for a biller to complete). Some other ways that a practice has reduced revenue is improper coding. For example, if a child has a well visit and receives a MMR Vaccine, some billers miss the 90461 CPT code with 2 units. Some billers might send this CPT code but miss that the EOB only paid one of the units and they need to re-file the claim (e.g. 99391, 90707, 90460, 90461 (2 units)).

How could I prevent this from happening?
#1 insure that your Pediatric Practice leverages a medical billing system that is designed, developed and utilized only for Pediatrics.
#2 The Pediatric Medical Billing team needs to be trained and re-trained (at least 1x per quarter) in Pediatrics. The Pediatric E.H.R. should be integrated with this Pediatric Practice Management. The office needs to have audit systems in place to verify that co-pays are collected and match the insurance card as well as a monthly audit of the Pediatric Medical Biller.
#3 There also needs to be redundancies in the Medical Billers to manage the claims while a Pediatric Medical Biller is out sick or on vacation. I have seen both large (>8 providers) and small pediatric practices for which the entire revenue cycle was outdated and disconnected. Unfortunately, I have even seen a large Pediatric Group where the entire team had a significant gap in their knowledge and skills.
This will never be perfect BUT every practice should achieve >99% collection rate and strive for 99.8% (we have a few practices at 99.7%). At least each quarter and preferably once/month the practice should measure and monitor the collection rate.