Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Tool to Help Practices Compare What Insurers Are Paying

RVUs as a Tool
RVUs - The Right Tool
Physicians and their staff members have to slog through a quagmire of disparate payment schemes offered by a variety of third-party payers. Those differences make it challenging to compare contracts: Which ones are valuable? Which ones aren’t even worth the effort it takes to jump through the payers’ hoops to get paid?

Analyzing your own data—based on RVU data—not only helps you compare contracts, it can give you greater negotiating leverage when talking to payers who want to empanel your physicians.

The RVU (as defined by Medicare) has almost taken over the healthcare world as the primary measure of physician productivity, and it has by default become a standard way of measuring payment value. That’s because many managed care contracts offer reimbursement schedules based on a particular iteration of the Medicare fee schedule, which is driven by its Resource-Based Relative Value System.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Get the Most Out of Your Patient Portal

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Co- ordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), a patient portal is a secure online Web site giving patients 24-hour access to personal health information via the Internet.

Its Web site ( lists a half-dozen basic types of information available to patients this way:

  • Recent doctor visits; 
  • Discharge summaries; 
  • Medications; 
  • Immunizations; 
  • Allergies; and 
  • Lab results. 
ONC’s Web page goes on to list another eight services that a complete patient portal may offer. Many sites allow patient to:
  • Exchange secure email with their healthcare teams;
  • Request prescription refills; 
  • Schedule non-urgent appointments; 
  • Check benefits and coverage; 
  • Update contact information; 
  • Make payments; 
  • Download and complete forms; and 
  • View educational materials. 
Why care about the ONC’s patient portal description? Because the ONC has the responsibility and authority under the HITECH Act to build “an interoperable information system promoting widespread, meaningful use of healthcare technology.” In other words, the ONC defines “Meaningful Use,” on which your potential bonuses (and threatened penalties) are based.