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3 Spring Cleaning Items for your Medical Practice: An Account Manager’s Perspective - Part 2

We’re all excited to move past this frigid, never-ending winter and greet the warmer weather of spring. For me, this season means doing some spring cleaning, and this past weekend, my wife and I spent time on the yard that we have neglected over the past several months. I tend to procrastinate doing the initial work, but I always enjoy seeing the positive transformation of what the yard looks like after our cleaning.

Likewise, it's a also good time to do some spring cleaning around your practice, hospital, or organization. Every year it seems to be the same story: find additional ways to improve revenue and cut costs. In my last post, I discussed questions that you should be asking when evaluating new technology and charge capture software for your organization. Below, I've outlined three areas for your spring cleaning checklist:

1. What is Your Charge Lag for Hospital Billing? The length of time from the date of service to when your billers submit claims can often be days and even months, and some hospital charges may not make it to the office at all. This is an area that proves to be challenging because physicians are extremely busy and moving from one location to the next while being asked to keep up with pieces of paper, index cards, or excel spreadsheets that are the lifeline of the practice's revenue. Reducing your charge lag can be the difference of getting paid faster and earning interest on your revenue. And with some payer deadlines, it can be the difference of getting paid at all.

2. What is Your ICD-10 Plan and Strategy? We all received some extra breathing room on this massive change in health care due to the recent legislation that delayed the implementation of ICD-10 until 2015. However, the well-run organizations and practices that I've spoken with are planning on using the extra time to successfully implement their plans, educate physicians and staff, and move forward with leveraging the extra time to practice their ICD-10 roll-out. This strategy has allowed them to not be caught off guard and rushed, which was a recurring theme with many of the practices I spoke with earlier this year.

3. Are your Physicians and Staff Really HIPAA Compliant? I would conservatively say that eight out of 10 practices and organizations that I speak with recognize that their physicians and staff are sending SMS / text messages that include a form of PHI that could result in a HIPAA compliance violation. Many look the other way or laugh this off stating they cannot get their physicians to stop; however, it's scary to think about what information may be sent through non-secure channels when I think about myself as the patient. The reality to every physician owner, CFO, and compliance officer is that you could be fined up to $50,000 for one HIPAA violation. There is certainly nothing funny about that. Implementing secure, easy-to-use software can assist in eliminating HIPAA violations and instances of non-compliance.

As you study these three areas of your practice, you should be able to uncover opportunities that can have an immediate positive impact and that will put you in a strong position heading into 2015.

In my next post, I'll be sharing ideas of how charge capture can be part of your strategy to improve charge lag, ICD-10 planning, and HIPAA compliance.
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