Start Your FREE Membership NOW
 Discover Proven Ways to Be a Better Medical Office Manager
 Get Our Weekly eNewsletter, MOMAlert, and MUCH MORE
 Absolutely NO Risk or Obligation on Your Part -- It's FREE!
EMAIL ADDRESS



Upgrade to Premium Membership NOW for Just $90!
Get 3 Months of Full Premium Membership Access
Includes Our Monthly Newsletter, Office Toolbox, Policy Center, and Archives
Plus, You Get FREE Webinars, and MUCH MORE!
CASE STUDY

5 strategies to keep high-risk populations safe during disasters

 By Margarita Gil & Racquel Arden  The rapid spread of COVID-19 put healthcare institutions around the country on high alert, with special emphasis placed on those Americans deemed to be most vulnerable or with pre-existing conditions. But what happens when your entire hospital is filled with patients who fit that criteria? Such was the challenge faced at Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Serving children and their families for nearly half a century, Totally Kids provides complex medical care and treatment to children, adolescents and young adults who are recovering from physical trauma or surgery, have suffered catastrophic illness or who are dependent on technology. Programs include pediatric acute rehabilitation, pediatric subacute, and pediatric intermediate care. As soon as the coronavirus was barely a blip on anyone’s radar, it was apparent that… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

How to create a legally sound COVID-19 medical screening policy

 As essential workplaces, medical offices need to remain open and operating during the pandemic. At the same time, they need to ensure that employees practice social distancing and keep the infected and potentially infected away from the well. Like so many other companies facing the same challenge, you may be considering medically screening your employees each day before letting them into the workplace. While screening is highly problematic in normal times, regulators have grudgingly acknowledged that it may be a justified health and safety measure during the pandemic. The operative phrase is “may be,” which means that limits still apply. As office manager, you need to recognize and ensure keep your facility in compliance with those limits. Here’s how. Three ways COVID-19 screening can get your office into legal hot… . . . read more.

CODING

Impact of 2021 evaluation and management coding changes to WRVU based physician compensation

By John McDaniel bio As you may know, all physician contracts which include any form of WRVU based compensation will need to be reviewed and probably amended due to the increase in WRVUs (work relative value units) associated with E&M CPT codes effective Jan. 1, 2021. We recently conducted an assessment for one of our hospital clients which showed the ʺunintended consequencesʺ of increased compensation to the physicians/providers and the resultant impact to fair market value standards. This has been necessitated by CMS whereby the final decision involved eliminating CPT Code 99201 and leaving CPT Code 99211 unchanged. The changes for CPT Codes 99202‐99205 and 99212‐99215 have resulted in increased reimbursement since the WRVUʹs for these codes have increased. Indeed, the increase in the WRVU component will certainly affect physician compensation… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

New COVID-19 guidance for your medical office from EEOC

By Mike O’Brien bio The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated its COVID-19 guidance page, addressing a number of issues. Here are some of them: On coronavirus testing, the EEOC said general testing administered by employers consistent with current CDC guidance will meet the ADA’s “business necessity” standard, and noted that employers should ensure that the required COVID-19 tests are accurate and reliable according to the FDA, CDC, and other public health authorities. If an employer wants to test only one employee, however, the employer should have a reasonable objective belief that he/she might have the disease. The EEOC says an employer can ask employees whether they have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who may have symptoms associated with the disease, but should not phrase that… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Who’s an independent contractor? DOL explains

By Mike O’Brien bio DOL tries to clarify independent contractor definition The US Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed what it believes is a simplified definition of independent contractor (IC) for purposes of applying wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which applies only to employees. The new DOL proposal still focuses on the factors of economic reality, but tries to clarify how to apply them. DOL says employers first should focus on two core factors: (1) the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work and (2) the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative and/or investment. If both factors point to either employee status or IC status, that probably is the right classification. If not, DOL says three additional factors must be… . . . read more.

CMS ANNOUNCES NEW TERMS

You have more time to start COVID-19 Medicare loan repayments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced amended terms for payments issued under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program.  This Medicare loan program allows CMS to make advance payments to providers and are typically used in emergency situations.  Under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act repayment will now begin one year from the issuance date of each provider or supplier’s accelerated or advance payment.  CMS issued $106 billion in payments to providers and suppliers in order to alleviate the financial burden healthcare providers faced while experiencing cash flow issues in the early stages of combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (PHE). “In the throes of an unprecedented pandemic, providers and suppliers on the frontlines needed a lifeline to help keep them… . . . read more.

BILLING & COLLECTIONS

Retaining patients as insurance landscape shifts

By Kerri Lenderman bio Walmart’s July announcement that they plan to start selling Medicare insurance should have resonated with America’s physicians as more than an interesting headline to interrupt a summer of coronavirus news.  Indeed, it should be a wakeup call and a reminder that unsettling and unconventional forces with deep pockets and consumer brand loyalty are forming a tsunami of disruption in how insurance will be marketed and influenced for years to come. Competition for Medicare market share has always been steep.  Historically it manifested in the form of aggressive health plan marketing campaigns from insurers and brokers, all trying to lock in Medicare eligibles – especially people approaching age 65.  Selecting a plan is overwhelming with dozens of plan options to choose from in a given market, including… . . . read more.

COVID Q&A

5 questions on the virus and your medical office

By Lynne Curry  bio 1 Pushback from employees who choose to stay on unemployment Question: We didn’t expect the pushback we got from two of our furloughed employees when we called them back to work, particularly as we allow employees to work from home part of the workweek if their work can be accomplished remotely. One ignored two “return to work” emails but responded to a “work starts Monday” text with “thanks, but no thanks.” The other emailed he needed a raise if we wanted him back. We called him and said, “that’s not in the cards, we’re barely squeaking by.” He said he made more money on unemployment than working, so there was no real percentage in returning to work. What do we do with this? Answer: A condition… . . . read more.

Quiz

Office’s duty to protect returning employees from COVID-19 discrimination and harassment

SITUATION Fully recovered from his bout with COVID-19, Max is thrilled and excited to return to his custodian job after 14 days of mandatory home isolation. But almost immediately, he senses that something is wrong. His co-workers shun him and leave the room the moment he enters. And, while hygiene and handwashing are de rigueur for all maintenance staff, Max alone is required douse his hands in germicide and don rubber gloves each time he touches a piece of equipment. Worse, his supervisor harasses him and calls him “virus boy.” After weeks of putting up with it, Max complains to office management. But his complaints fall on deaf ears and he continues to be ostracized and made to take extraordinary safety and hygiene measures not required of anybody else. So,… . . . read more.

CODING

Here’s how to represent telehealth encounters in QRDA I Format for eCQMs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted additional guidance for using the Quality Reporting Document Architecture I (QRDA I) format to represent telehealth encounters for the Eligible Professional and Eligible Clinician electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) used in CMS quality reporting programs for the 2020 and 2021 performance periods. There is no change to the original guidance provided by CMS in July 2020. Representing Telehealth Encounters in QRDA I format by using the Qualifier attribute: To represent “telehealth-eligible” Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes for eCQMs in QRDA I, submitters should use the optional qualifier attribute of the encounter code element to send the telehealth modifier code in addition to the primary “telehealth-eligible” CPT or HCPCS encounter code from the eCQM-specified value sets. The qualifier attribute name is… . . . read more.


(-0)