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The Five Levels of The Medicare Appeal Process

May 11th, 2021 by

medicare appeals pricessBy: Zach Simpson

There might be times when Medicare denies coverage for an item, service, or test that you or your company provided. In the event this occurs you have the right to formally disagree wit the decision and encourage Medicare to change it. Therefore, understanding the appeals process for Medicare claims is vital for all providers. The aim of this article is to give providers a better understanding of the five (5) levels of the Medicare Appeal process, and what must occur at each level.

The Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) has five levels in the claims appeal process:

Level 1 – Redetermination by a Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC)

Level 2 – Reconsideration by a Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC)

Level 3 – Disposition by Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA)

Level 4 – Review by the Medicare Appeals Council (Council)

Level 5 – Judicial review in U.S. District Court read more

6 Essential Questions For Audit Preparedness

May 5th, 2021 by

medical practice auditBy: Zach Simpson

As you train your staff on the changes that were recently made regarding evaluation and management coding it is very important to ensure that your staff understands the auditor’s perspective as well. There are four distinct portions of an auditor’s tool when evaluating the documentation guidelines for office/outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) services (99202-99215). The four distinct portions are diagnoses, data, risk, and calculation of medical decision making (MDM).  In order to ensure that a provider’s progress note is complete in the auditor’s eyes the provider should ask themselves the following six questions to create the best chances of successfully meeting the auditors expectations:

  1. Does my progress note contain a medically appropriate history and examination?
  2. Were my diagnoses addressed appropriately?
  3. Did I document all orders and data reviewed?
  4. Were other professionals included in my documentation that I worked with?
  5. Was an independent historian used?
  6. Does the documentation support the level of risk I chose?

For the remainder of the article, I am going to dive deeper into each question above so that you, as providers are able to recognize insufficient areas in a provider’s E/M documentation when you perform a self audit to better your practice. read more

How Often Should Chiropractors Have Their Patients Sign A New Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN)?

April 12th, 2021 by

chiropractor abnBy: Zach Simpson

Over the years I have come to grasp that ABNs although very useful are quite difficult to implement appropriately for chiropractic practices. My goal for this article is to help practices understand how often ABNs should actually be signed by their Medicare beneficiary patients. A question I am typically asked about ABNs is when should a patient sign a new one? Many offices have the misconception that a new ABN should be signed by Medicare beneficiaries at the beginning of each year which is not the case.

Medicare only requires that the ABN form be completed before the first spinal chiropractic manipulative treatment is rendered for maintenance, wellness, palliative, and/or supportive care. Until one of the following takes place the ABN remains active:

  • In the event a new condition or active treatment is initiated the current ABN would be rendered invalid because the active treatment would likely meet Medicare’s medical necessity guidelines and be considered eligible for payment again; or
  • The current ABN on file is more than twelve (12) months old. In the event the ABN is more than twelve (12) months old an updated ABN must be signed in order to continue maintenance care. Once the new ABN is signed it shall be valid for twelve (12) more months or until another active treatment is initiated.

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5 Easy Steps To Implement An ABN Into Your Practice’s Standard Procedures

April 7th, 2021 by

adding abn to your medical practiceBy: Zach Simpson

Due to the increasing number of forms being required these days it is all too common for practices to get lost in the vast terminology, rules, and coding requirements that have to be followed as well. An area that practices have one of the most difficult times with is operationalizing the issuance of an ABN properly. I am frequently asked to consult for practices that ask who does which part, when, and with whom in regards to ABNs? In other instances, many practices I have worked with simply make the mistake that they can solve the complexities of trying to understand the nuances of how to properly utilize ABNs by deciding to issue ABNs to every Medicare patient for every service which is not a viable option either. The solution that many offices try that I just described is called issuing blanket ABNs, which in turn may cause Medicare to invalidate all issued ABNs from the practice, including those that may been appropriate which is why it is very important that blanket ABNs are never issued.

One thing in common with practices that issue ABNs in a proper manner is that they all have a process in place for identifying potential denied services prior to delivering them. To many practices this may sound easy, but to ensure that your practice is as effective as possible it will take some claims data analysis to ensure that your practice is capturing all potential opportunities for ABN issuance. The aim of this article will be to provide practices with 5 steps that will make ABN issuance easier. read more

The Question of the Week: Who Owns Your intellectual Property?

April 5th, 2021 by

intellectual property lawBy: Steven Boyne

THE FRACTIONAL GENERAL COUNSEL

This question is a redundant question, if it is my intellectual property, then by definition – I own it.  True, but this question raises important issues that employers need to worry about – ownership of intellectual property.  The general rule is that if your employees create intellectual property while they are working for you, the employer will own it.  So, for example, if your office manager takes some pictures around the office and creates personal bios of your employees and puts that information on your website then you own that information.  However, what if they created that information at night while they were not at work and technically you were not paying them?  Well, now we are getting into a greyer area.  So, my recommendation is to avoid this issue, by updating your HR manual to state that you own the intellectual property, and not your employees.  read more

Buying a Dental Practice? Here’s What to Consider

March 30th, 2021 by

tips for buying a dental practiceBy: Chase Howard

Whether you’ve been in practice for years or you’re just graduating, buying an existing dental practice can be a great way to quickly enter into an already established patient base without the pains of starting up from scratch. While it may seem like a daunting task, the right team can make the purchase transaction flow as smoothly as possible. Here’s a list of important things to consider when negotiating the purchase.

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Just The Fax, Ma’am…

March 30th, 2021 by

hipaa compliant healthcare communicationsGuest Blog Post By: Phil Liberty, Universal The Communications Company

The healthcare industry is doing its level best to keep fax machine manufacturers in business. Because fax machines are considered to be HIPAA compliant, it’s easy to keep them humming along. Paying for expensive toner, electricity and the telephone line attached to the wall behind the machine is just the way we’ve always done it. But that telephone line should give you enough reason to consider your options.

AT&T built and owns the copper telephone network that provides the analog signal required for T1 lines, traditional telephones, fax machines, credit card machines, postage meters, alarms and elevators. That service is known as POTS – Plain Old Telephone Service. Maintaining that antiquated network is costly and inefficient for AT&T so they will retire POTS in the near future. All services will eventually run over fiber optic cables and your equipment may have to change to keep up. You may have received a letter telling you about this transition but probably ignored it or did not even open it thinking it was a solicitation. So, how does AT&T get your attention if you won’t read their letter? Check your phone bill!

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What Can I Negotiate In A Commercial Lease Agreement?

March 26th, 2021 by

commercial medical lease propertyBy: Chase Howard

Commercial leases are arguably the most one-sided contracts you could enter into while doing business. Most, if not all, commercial property owners and landlords will shift all of the liability of the premises onto the tenant. This includes maintenance, repair and replacement of structural components, roofs, wiring, plumbing, and even store fronts and sidewalks.

While a majority of the terms in a lease are “non-negotiable” there are a number that landlords can reasonably agree to change. read more

Can I Provide in-home or mobile IV Therapy?

March 24th, 2021 by

By: Chase Howard

IV hydration therapy has many applications and purposes. In the most common cases, the purpose is for post-surgery recovery or wellness optimization. IV therapy businesses that want to offer a more concierge type of service by offering mobile or in-home services, need to be aware of Florida home health agency laws and regulations.

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PLLC v. LLC: What’s The Difference?

March 24th, 2021 by

healthcare business llcBy: Chase Howard

In most cases, the limited liability company, or LLC, is the preferred business structure for a wide variety of healthcare businesses. If you’re a licensed professional, you can also use the professional limited liability company, or PLLC for your healthcare practice or business. While generally these two entity types are the same, there’s a small difference to be aware of when organizing the company.

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