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TECHNOLOGY

5 tech resources improving medical practice efficiency this year

By Alison Foster bio There was a notable increase in the adoption of healthcare technology by practices and providers in 2020. This continues in 2021, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up. Many practices are short on both human and financial resources and need to increase efficiency to the maximum. Here are some forms of healthcare technology you can rely on to optimize your practice’s efficiency in 2021. Cloud computing Keeping patient data safe and accessible is critical in healthcare. Traditional methods of storing patient data often have challenging retrieval and sharing processes. Cloud computing solves many of these problems and is fast becoming the go-to choice for many practices. Electronic health records stored on the clouds means that providers and authorized personnel can access patient data… . . . read more.

CMS

Medicare payment upped for COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has increased the Medicare payment amount for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. This new and higher payment rate will support important actions taken by providers that are designed to increase the number of vaccines they can furnish each day, including establishing new or growing existing vaccination sites, conducting patient outreach and education, and hiring additional staff. For COVID-19 vaccines administered on or after March 15, the national average payment rate for physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and many other immunizers will be $40 to administer each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents an increase from approximately $28 to $40 for the administration of single-dose vaccines, and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. The exact payment… . . . read more.

CODING

New devices, technology dominate 2021 CPT code changes

By Lisa Eramo bio There is a whole slew of new and revised CPT codes—329 changes to be exact—effective since Jan. 1. This includes 206 new codes, 54 deletions, and 69 revisions. Interestingly, the majority of changes pertaining to new technology and devices, giving medical practices the opportunity to provide high-quality patient care while also receiving reimbursement. This article summarizes three notable changes. Retinal imaging using augmented intelligence The American Medical Association (AMA) added CPT code 92229 for retinal imaging with automated point-of-care analysis and report (unilateral or bilateral). Per the AMA, this technology better supports patient screening for diabetic retinopathy, and it increases the early detection and incorporation of findings into diabetes care. What’s interesting about this procedure is that it relies on augmented intelligence (AI) technology, says Kimberly Huey,… . . . read more.

MIPS & QPP

Two data deadlines approaching this month

Two deadlines are coming up for physician practices: The Quality Payment Program Doctors and Clinicians Preview Period will close on March 25. And the data submission period for Merit-based Incentive Payment System eligible clinicians who participated in the 2020 performance year of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) ends March 31. Preview your performance information CMS opened the Doctors and Clinicians Preview Period on Jan. 25, 2021 at 10 a.m. The Preview Period provides an opportunity for doctors and clinicians to review their 2019 Quality Payment Program (QPP) performance information before it is publicly reported on clinician and group profile pages on Medicare Care Compare and in the Provider Data Catalog (PDC). You can access the secured Preview through the QPP website. Here’s where to find guidance on previewing your information: Pre-recorded Presentation: Preview Period: Performance Information for Doctors and… . . . read more.

INCREASING PROFITS

The physician enterprise model: a non-employment alternative

By John W. McDaniel bio Hospitals are seeking new and innovative ways to affiliate with physicians that differ from tactics used in the 1990s, These new relationships involve a more formal type of relationship with physicians, which might reflect lessons learned through previous less‐than‐satisfactory relationships. Most hospitals have physician integration strategies as a part of their long‐range plans, but because physicians employed by hospitals lose approximately $190,000 per year, hospitals and health systems must explore alternatives to physician affiliation aside from the traditional employment model. Beyond employment Affiliation is sought for various reasons. Large hospitals seek a wider reach into communities, while small and rural hospitals seek help with physician recruitment, which has been troublesome over the past years due to 84% of senior medical residents desiring to practice in… . . . read more.

BILLING & CODING

Updated info for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID‑19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 16 years of age and older. Review Pfizer’s Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) regarding the limitations of authorized use. During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), Medicare will cover and pay for the administration of the vaccine (when furnished consistent with the EUA). Review the CMS updated payment and HCPCS Level I CPT code structure for specific COVID-19 vaccine information. Only bill for the vaccine administration codes when you submit claims to Medicare; don’t include the vaccine product codes when vaccines are free. Related links: CMS COVID-19 Provider Toolkit CMS COVID-19 FAQs CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for medical centers, clinics, and clinicians FDA COVID-19 Vaccines webpage

CODING

Impact of reimbursement and compliance to WRVU-based compensation

By John McDaniel bio All physician contracts including any form of WRVU based compensation may need to be reviewed and probably amended because of the increase in WRVUʹs (work relative value units) associated with E&M CPT codes effective Jan. 1, 2021. 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 physician/provider reimbursement since the WRVUs for these codes have been significantly changed. Indeed, this increase in the WRVU component will certainly affect physician compensation. While the major commercial payers have not yet announced their intention to utilize the 2021 E&M codes, those decisions will greatly impact both provider reimbursement and WRVU utilization. It should be noted… . . . read more.

WRVUs

The new paradigm for physician compensation: payment for value/quality v. volume

By John McDaniel bio How will physician compensation arrangements be impacted by quality incentive payments with respect to determining Fair Market Value and commercial reasonability? The enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in November 2016 set forth future options for payment from Medicare, those being participation in the Merit‐Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or participation in one or more Alternative Payment Models (APMs). Both models will likely change how physicians are compensated. MIPS requires participating Medicare providers to be subject to payment adjustments, both positive or negative, based on their performance as determined by four measures, those being (1) quality, (2) advancing care information, (3) clinical practice improvement activities and (4) cost. While MIPS was designed to provide incentives for both quality and value improvements, it… . . . read more.

Medicare

New deadline of Dec. 13 to update APM Incentive billing info

Is your office among the clinicians that need to verify Medicare billing information by Dec. 13 in order to receive payments? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Payment Program website includes 2020 Alternative Payment Model (APM) Incentive Payment details. To access information on the incentive amount and organization paid, clinicians and surrogates can log in to the QPP website using their HARP credentials. Many eligible clinicians who were Qualifying APM Participants (QPs) based on their 2018 performance began receiving their 2020 5% APM Incentive Payments last month. If you have already received your payment, you do not need to do anything. CMS also posted a new 2020 APM Incentive Payment Fact Sheet to explain: Who is eligible to receive an APM incentive payment in 2020 How CMS determines your 2020 APM… . . . 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.


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