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Medicare Quality Reporting Programs: 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Call — Register Now

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Tuesday, December 8 from 1:30-3pm ET

To Register: Visit MLN Connects Event Registration. Space may be limited, register early.

During this call, find out how the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule impacts Medicare Quality Reporting Programs. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.
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ClinicMind Mental Health Software – Patient Scheduling Workflow

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ClinicMind Mental Health Software Introduces Patient Scheduling Workflow Automation for Healthcare Organizations and Practice Owners

 

Practice owners using ClinicMind‘s Scheduling Workflow can now build a continuous patient experience improvement process, including systematic patient relationship monitoring and control

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Nothing Assuring about Health Insurers

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by Sally Ginsburg, MD, for athenahealth

I recently read a New York Times article about the salaries of insurance executives that left me gobsmacked. Did you know the average annual base salary of insurance company CEOs in 2013, according to the article, was $544,000? (Wait, that’s just the base pay — annual total compensation is typically between 11 and 18 million dollars.) If the health care reimbursement process was a seamless one, then perhaps these numbers wouldn’t leave such a horrible taste in my mouth. But that’s not the case.

I doubt that I am alone in thinking U.S. health insurers have somehow negotiated themselves the deal of the century. They have managed to create a situation in which they collect huge sums of money in the form of premiums, not having to make payments until all the patient responsibility — co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles — max out. Once that maximum out-of-pocket limit is reached, then the payers are obligated to pony up their reimbursement payments.

The payment paradigm in health care is in the midst of a gradual, yet massive shift, from the classic fee-for-service model to a system that rewards value; at the same time, it has become increasingly difficult for patients or physician offices to contact insurance companies.

Read the full story here.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished in Meaningful Use

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Last week CMS essentially reversed their compliance date stance for the Meaningful Use program in what amounted to  a big smack in the face to any health care provider that has put in the effort and time to knock Stage 2 out of the park. Providers working hard to successfully meet the Stage 2 measures shouldn’t feel that it is all for naught. You are on the cutting edge of using technology to deliver better care, and that makes you some of the best care providers out there.

Read more at: http://athenahealth.com/blogEHRScope

Update on Meaningful Use

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CMS released a new proposed ruling regarding the Meaningful Use timeline.  The new time frame would allow all providers to attest for Meaningful Use this year under the original Stage 1 MU criteria.

This is great news for those clinicians who were waiting to attest. Read more on the proposed ruling:

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Pros and Cons of Online Medical Test Results

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Technology is amazing! With the advancement of technology we can get information almost instantaneously with the tap of a key. With easy access to computers and the Internet, information is at our fingertips. Technology has empowered us.

Because of this wonderful technology, people are now able to view their own personal health records (PHR) online; people are becoming assertive patients more so than ever before. However, not every physician and hospital is on board to this fairly new concept. Not everyone is convinced that the Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a good thing.
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ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 2

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The ICD-10 compliance date of October 1, 2014 draws nearer every day. While many individuals in healthcare believe this initiative to impact only coders and billing staff, that misconception will certainly prove detrimental on many levels. All involved in the patient care experience will be impacted, even the patient (as introduced in ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1.) In Part 2 of this 4 part series, we will continue to follow our patient through her post-ICD-10 experience. When we last left off, Doris Jones was waiting for an exorbitant amount of time in the clinic waiting room to see her doctor. After an hour, she is finally checked in and called back by the Medical Assistant.

Scenario: Please Visit Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1 for Mrs. Jones’ situation.

Now let’s see just how this change really can affect everyone…

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ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1

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By now, most individuals working in Healthcare have heard of ICD-10. The varying degrees of familiarity with the new diagnostic and procedure code set are as varied as the individual reactions to its upcoming required implementation. Some individuals shudder in fear as the diagnosis codes leap from ~13,000 codes in ICD-9 to ~60,000 in ICD-10 (not to mention the ~76,000 procedure codes that will now be required for use in the Inpatient environment.) Some individuals (certainly most coders and billers) can not sleep at night knowing the learning curve, productivity slowdown, and likely revenue loss that this initiative will certainly yield. Perhaps most disturbing, however, is that many individuals (including providers) believe that ICD-10 will not have an impact on their staff, their work, their finances, or the patient experience.

That, unfortunately, is a scary and fallacious understanding of what is ahead. ICD-10 will impact everyone. To make the point, I offer an example of a basic patient office visit.

Continue reading: ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1

I’m a Doctor. I treat Patients. Knowing ICD-10 codes is the Coder’s Job!

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The title of this article seems reasonable and appropriate. Unfortunately, it is patently false!

By now you are probably likely acclimated to (perhaps even enjoying!) the ‘touch once’ method of encounter documentation, in which you dictate, click and/or type through patient visit documentation. Once the patient leaves the office, you are 100% done with the documentation. Although this may not always be possible, this serves as the preferred method to complete your charting.

With the impending changes that ICD-10 will bring, you are all but assured of the requirement to re-touch a large number of your charts if you have not been properly trained in the methodology of ICD-10 billing.

What does this mean? Why is this?

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ICD-10 Training Timeline: Are You Already Behind the Curve?

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ICD-10 looms over Healthcare in America ominously. Many studies project that a tremendous number of ambulatory medical practices will have very significant cash flow shortfalls . Many of them actually may declare bankruptcy, because of the draconian changes in the required billing processes on October 1st, 2014.  A number of sources of information, including the Federal government at CMS, as seen at http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ICD10/Downloads/ICD10SmallMediumChecklistTimeline.pd encourage immediate action!

Don’t get caught short.  Arm yourself with the  knowledge that will prove vital to your practice.  Just as it took a year to learn anatomy, it will take your office a year to undertake the painful migration to using ICD-10 for all of your billing.  To state the obvious, if you are not using ICD-10 for all medical services on or after October 1st, 2014, you will not be paid!

To state the less obvious, this is not an issue only for your billing department.  You, the physician, will need to either:

Continue reading: ICD-10 Training Timeline: Are You Already Behind the Curve?