After a flurry of holiday events, time off, family get-togethers and decadent food, January is here. It brings fitness center promotions (with not-so-subtle ads telling us to join now!), meetings to jump-start new projects and alarm clocks set for very early mornings. In other words, January delivers a big dose of reality and normalcy.
While they don’t sound too exciting, reality and normalcy aren’t all bad. Sure, they pale in comparison to hors d’oeuvres at a swanky party or gift exchanges by a roaring fire. But the air of new beginnings – along with the promise of what you can accomplish – can make January one of the best times of year.
In the recent webinar, Reimbursement Reality 2015, Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, addressed the many changes that will make this year’s revenue cycle management new, different and challenging. The list is long. There’s a new CPT code for chronic care management – a tangible step in healthcare’s transition to whole-person care rather than episodic. Due to CMS’ heightened attention to split billing, or billing by a parent organization for treatment at a physician practice, we’ll likely see a new ruling regarding “place of service” codes. And speaking of CMS, unless Congress intervenes, Medicare reimbursements will decrease by 21 percent beginning in April.
Sound like enough change? Not quite. Woodcock also notes that there’s a brand new payer in town. It is responsible for more than 30 percent of a practice’s revenue, and it comes with numerous challenges and demands.
As you may have guessed, Woodcock is referring to the patient population. As patients shoulder more care costs in 2015, practices can’t afford to leave any self-pay dollars uncollected. A strong financial clearance program can jump-start collections efforts, enabling staff to set expectations and take payments at the point of care. Technology to securely store credit card information and automate payment plans can also streamline workflow while increasing collections.
Make sure your practice’s new normal for 2015 includes technology and processes to expedite patient payments. It’ll bring a great sense of accomplishment for your team, help you conquer your newest payer and keep your practice financially healthy, too!