Saturday, August 10, 2013

For New Physicians: The Do’s and Don’ts of Working in a Practice (Part 2 of a 4 Part Series)

New Physician Behavior
Focus on Employees
Walk through the front door everyday, greet everyone and pay special attention to new employees. Don’t head in the back door and right to your office.

Don’t “skip” out of staff meetings because you have something more important to do. Staff meetings are an opportunity to connect with staff members and find out what’s on their minds. Staff meetings are important and you are expected to attend and participate in them.
Praise in public, criticize in private. Public criticism is devastating to morale and shows a lack of respect for staff. Don’t ever do it.

What goes on in the practice is confidential. Everything you see and hear should not leave the office and should be discussed appropriately and only when necessary. Be mindful of who is around when you speak.

Coding

Understanding the coding rules for crucial to your practice. Not only is it a function of compliance with Medicare and other insurance carriers but it is crucial for the appropriate financial reimbursement for the work that you do. Coding is the most important component in reimbursement. If you don't have a certain modifier on a code, if you don't have it positioned properly on the CMS form (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services), your claim is put into review or thrown out. Make no mistake…delays in reimbursement have a direct effect on the paycheck you take home.

Codes are the building blocks of reimbursement. All the insurers know is what the doctors tell them, and the codes describe the work. Insurance companies request records to make sure that what doctors say they did is what they actually did. Although this is not something that is emphasized in medical school or residency, it is your responsibility to be up-to-date on CPT and ICD-9 codes that relate to your practice. Poke around free sites like www.codapedia.com to get the lay of the land. And note that ICD-10 is coming in October, 2014.

In your own practice, empower the professional coders to assume responsibility for educating physicians and staff on coding rules and changes in modifiers that directly impact the finances of the practice.

And a word about charge submissions. 

Accurate and timely charge submission is the responsibility of the person performing the service. Make sure you report hospital charges and complete the charge document in real-time. Do today’s work today, tomorrow’s work tomorrow. Do not let these reports pile up on your desk.

photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc