09 Dec Could New Medical Billing Rules Be Reducing Revenue for Medical Practices?
In the last couple of years, medical billing rules have changed drastically. With the introduction of ICD-10 in 2015 coding for patients changed. ICD-10 is the new and updated coding and classification system for mortality data from death certificates. ICD-10 replaced ICD-9, and whilst making improvements to the system it also meant that there was a massive increase in the complexity of the codes. DX codes went from around 20 000 to 70 000, a huge increase of 50 000 new codes. In fact, some estimates suggest that the time to code 1 patient has increased by a whopping 70-75%. Could new billing rules have a drastic effect on the bottom line of medical practices across the country?
Reports show productivity is down
With the huge increase in complexity, it is no surprise it is a longer, more time consuming and more expensive process to code patients. Some reports have suggested that in-house billing productivity has fallen. ICD10monitor.com found that productivity fell 22 percent in the 6 months after the introduction of ICD-10. This is expected as a new code means a whole host of new information to learn. But in the following 6 months, the productivity was still down 11% from coding in ICD-9.
Tips to overcome the new billing rules
- Help from Medical Practice Management companies: Loss of productivity can be a major issue for the bottom line of many medical practices. One option is to hire a specialist medical practice management These outfits are usually experts in navigating the rules, and outsourcing to them can often save money. Usually, these companies take significantly less time to code each patient and make far fewer errors. Errors can be costly to a medical practice as undercharging patients obviously hurts your bottom line.
- Audit Audit Audit: According to Julia Hammerman auditing workers as they are making the change to the new rules is essential for any management strategy.
- Create an assessment tool: Another top tip recommend by Ms. Eichelmann, talking to beckershospitalreview.com is to create an assessment programme for you coders. As these workers are often remote and are learning the new rules, assessing them and making sure they are up to date is essential. It is no use throwing money away on inefficient workers who make mistakes and bill patients incorrectly.
- Train your worker’s area by area: Start with simpler areas of medicine and common types of charts before ramping up the difficulty. Mastering an area can be increased productivity in workers as they feel a sense of accomplishment.
Is your revenue down as a result of new billing rules? If so these tips could help you improve your bottom line. If you are struggling, or if the tediously training in-house staff doesn’t sound appealing to you then medical practice management services to provide an easy solution to financial woes. These can be seen as one-stop shops for outsourcing all billing and medical practice management services.