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READER TIPS

Start local managers group to make job easier

“It doesn’t matter if there are three people or five or 20,” says the manager of an internal specialty medical office in Tennessee. It’s worth the effort to set up a local management group. She did that in her area 11 years ago and still finds it useful.
The setup was not difficult. It was just a matter of calling the other managers and saying, “Why don’t we get together and share information rather than having to call each other about everything?” Interest was high because the area, which is rural, has a large number of small offices, and most of the managers have neither the time nor the staffing to travel to…

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MANAGING THE OFFICE

Are your patients happy? Here’s how to find out

Monitoring the pulse of patient satisfaction is crucial to the health of your practice.
Indeed, patient satisfaction can mean the difference between a thriving, profitable practice and one that’s barely breaking even. And since patients have a significant effect on the work environment, their satisfaction impacts your staff’s morale.
In order to accurately assess patient satisfaction, you have to measure the practice’s performance. This can be done by surveying your patients.
CAHPS surveys
Depending on the size of your practice, as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) you may be required…

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EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Employer Checklist: Affordable Care Act

Why you need this checklist:

The numerous provisions and requirements of the ACA can be overwhelming for employers.

 

 

 

TECHNOLOGY

Is your practice eligible for Medicaid incentive payments?

Certain professionals can alternatively pursue meaningful use incentive payments from the Medicaid program, which is run by the state Medicaid agencies.
Eligible professionals for Medicaid include doctors of medicine and osteopathy, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, dentists, and physician assistants in a federally qualified health center or rural health clinic led by a physician assistant. Some states allow optometrists to participate.
The professional must have 30% Medicaid patient volume (20% Medicaid volume for a pediatrician) or predominantly practice in federally qualified health center or rural health clinic and have a minimum of 30% patient volume of…

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INSIGHT

How the right payment technology can improve profitability at your practice

By Brent Warrington  bio
Medical practice profitability is a regular concern for practice managers. Now the Affordable Care Act has perhaps shined a brighter light on what it takes to stay in the black. What’s more, insurance companies are under pressure to manage costs and grow revenue, sometimes resulting in lower payments to physicians for patient visits, services, and annual reimbursements.
The Affordable Care Act is expected to increase participation in Medicaid by 16 million individuals. Since Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates are lower than those offered by private insurers, this means a reduction in reimbursements for physicians who accept these patients. Combined with the trend toward flat-rate reimbursement models…

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COMPLIANCE

CQM reporting and HIPAA

One reader questioned whether reporting CQMs using the Physician Quality Reporting System and reporting patient level data in the Quality Reporting Data Architecture (QRDA) format would require sending protected health information to CMS in violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
The QRDA format does require some identifying information.
However, Paula Stannard, a health care attorney at Alston & Bird in Washington, D.C., and a former HHS deputy general counsel and acting general counsel, doesn’t believe such reporting of CQMs that include PHI would be a violation of the Privacy Rule. She indicates it is likely that such reporting…

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TECHNOLOGY

‘Meaningful use’ can safeguard big money for your practice

Have you been participating in Medicare’s or Medicaid’s electronic health records incentive program? If not, you are leaving money on the table—or in the government’s bank. Incentive payments still available could total up to $24,000. But that’s not all you’re missing by not achieving meaningful use of certified electronic health records (EHR) technology (CEHRT).
“Starting in 2015, if you participate in Medicare you face the possibility of having your Medicare payments reduced with a negative payment adjustment if…

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INCREASING PROFITS

Model Tool: Meaningful Use resources

Why you need this list:

Getting certified electronic records technology can help your practice retain profits.

COMPLIANCE

How the new OIG 2014 Work Plan affects your medical office

The OIG, Office of Inspector General, oversees Medicare and Medicaid enforcement and highlights areas of focus in its enforcement efforts in a Work Plan. The 2014 Work Plan was released at the end of January and contains some items of note for medical practices.
Some items are new and others have been on the OIG Work Plan in prior years and are a continuing project.
The following items directly affect medical practices:
   1. Evaluation and management services. Billing for E/M services continues to be a concern for the OIG and this is noted as an ongoing…

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HEALTH CARE REFORM

How the Affordable Care Act affects your medical office policies and practices

You’ve heard a lot of talk about Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are a lot of changes for healthcare delivery that affect medical offices. But are you up-to-date on how ACA affects your office as an employer?
The ACA imposes new obligations on employers. Some of these are already in effect and are continuing obligations you should be satisfying, but others don’t kick in until next year or later. Review our summary of the key requirements for employers below to make sure you are compliant with those already in effect and will be ready for future deadlines.
Here are 13 key ACA requirements for employers…

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