Awkward. That’s likely the word that comes to mind when you or members of your staff think about confronting patients who have a habit of arriving late — or not at all. Discussing a patient’s penchant for no-shows takes a bit of fancy footwork at the very least. Mishandle the situation and you may lose a loyal patient.Read more
Early in the history of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), violations typically involved receiving a warning letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It was basically toothless and carried no penalties. In 2009, Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), which supplied the government with a range of tools to support enforcement. In short, HIPAA grew fangs.Read more
You may have heard about the Vermont doctor who was fed up with way medicine is practiced today and opened an office she calls “Simply Medicine.” The sole practitioner doesn’t accept insurance. Her fee is listed on a board in the waiting room: $2 a minute for labor, plus the cost of supplies.Read more
As you know, medical practitioners are subject to a federal law that makes it a felony to influence the referral of federal health care business, including Medicare and Medicaid.
For example, if a physician refers a patient to a specialist and receives part of the specialist’s Medicare payment in exchange, the doctor has committed a felony under the Anti-Kickback Statute and could be subject to criminal and civil charges. The physician could also be excluded from Medicare and other federally funded health care programs. Read more
With the increase in health plans requiring members to pay for all or part of their office visits, practices are faced with the challenge of asking patients for full payment. This can be upsetting for the patients and uncomfortable for staff members. Here are eight strategies for improving collections, including preparing for time-of-service collections, setting up prompt-pay discounts and showing staff how to interact with patients. Read more
Like any well-run business, a medical practice needs to step back periodically and try to get a bird’s-eye view of where it has been and where it is going. A good time to perform such a review is at the end of the calendar year. Go into the meeting with a plan, prepared to focus on three critical areas: corporate, financial and operational planning.
It is helpful to have a trusted adviser, such as your accountant, facilitate the meeting. An adviser who knows your practice can keep the agenda focused on the business issues, diffuse tense emotions and provide insight based on experience with other medical offices. Read more
Medical malpractice insurance isn’t just a requirement — it’s also a major practice expense. Selecting the terms of coverage is a complex, critical task, as is evaluating insurance carriers. In fact, the future of the practice and the reputation of physicians may rest in the balance. Read more
In the wake of health care reform, you might find your practice inundated with new patients. With the extra workload, you might want to hire one or more physicians to help out.
If so, and if these physicians intend to take an ownership share of your practice, make sure each one signs a buy-sell agreement. Reason: It can safeguard your practice from disgruntled doctors and minimize disputes should they arise. Read more
You may have heard about the Vermont doctor who was fed up with the way medicine is practiced today and opened an office she calls “Simply Medicine.” The sole practitioner doesn’t accept insurance. Her fee is listed on a board in the waiting room: $2 a minute for labor, plus the cost of supplies. Read more
Nearly every physician has claims denied from time to time. Medicare, as a government program, has its own way of doing things. As you know, the process is different from insurance companies, which also have their own way of handling claims. Read more