Medical billing services, Telehealth billing services, MIPS consulting, P3Care, Revenue cycle management

APTA Surveys Physical Therapists against Telehealth

Perhaps the most dramatically impacted area of healthcare as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is telehealth. Previously, the conditions were not in favor of virtual clinics because face-to-face visits were the norm. Now, however, the situation has changed. When other clinicians are making use of telemedicine, PTs and PTAs are, definitely, not far behind.

On March 17, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allowed PTs to conduct e-visits after which they can reach patients at homes keeping them away from the contagious virus. But it wasn’t easy, to say the least – It took a lot of effort.

It was not until April 30, 2020 – after rigorous advocacy by APTA – that CMS decided to include PTs and PTAs among providers eligible to bill for telehealth services. Such services include virtual visits contrary to real-time, face-to-face meetings.

In other words, COVID-19 persuades the government to make PTs and PTAs eligible for remote patient management, which results in a rapid increase in telehealthcare.

Increase in Video Consults via Live Sessions

Before the pandemic, 98% of physical therapists questioned did not do live video sessions with their patients. Furthermore, out of 2% who did, 69% of them saw only one patient per week on average. As a result of this awful virus, we saw 50% of PTs adopting live video sessions as an outlet to see their patients. In a matter of months, most of the physical therapy switched from real-time visits to remote visits.

Generally speaking, medical billing services, under the new world order, have to readjust keeping in view the regulatory and federal guidelines specifically for e-visits.

One of the PTs said, and I am paraphrasing it: Some of the aspects of video visits are a revelation – seeing positions of patients while they sit and watch TV or examining their postures of sleep. They would like to continue with live video sessions as part of their treatment even after the pandemic.

Uncertainty with Telehealth Billing Returns

Medical billing services, Telehealth billing services, MIPS consulting, P3Care, Revenue cycle management

The survey by APTA brought vital information to the limelight. Of those PTs who participated in this survey, 25% of them were sure their telehealth payments were consistent with in-person visits, while 53% were not sure of it. Similar, uncertainty was there when it came to patient satisfaction with telehealthcare.

As much as there is uncertainty in life, there is vagueness to practicing medicine online because we are all new to it. However, for consistent revenue cycle management, we must adhere to local and federal instructions for telehealth as we follow the HIPAA code of conduct in terms of PHI safety.

There is no denying the fact that telehealth has emerged as a blessing in disguise in these challenging times. When elective medical procedures were restricted, this facility helped many physicians to make up for the loss.

Yes! There were issues related to technology familiarization, but in most cases, there was relief that doctors were available for you. It was particularly beneficial for patients with chronic health conditions, who require regular monitoring.

Zoom to Meet and Treat

Medical billing services, Telehealth billing services, MIPS consulting, P3Care, Revenue cycle management

The survey showed Zoom as the most popular platform for video consults, according to 43% of the participating PTs. APTA’s June 2020 report covers the impact of COVID-19 on physical therapy. We deduce these results from it. The rest of the practitioners among the participants reported using more than a dozen other platforms for video care.

The graph below shows the usage of virtual platforms since the pandemic spread in the US.

Technology Is Both A Blessing and Burden

Technology, on one side, is the facilitator, but on the other, an obstacle. 31% of practitioners said their patients were not technologically ready for an e-visit, while 21% of the PTs said their facility lacked the technology to facilitate patients during the pandemic.

Another common barrier faced by PTs and PTAs was the lack of payments for telehealth services. Telehealth billing services by P3Care supports physical therapists to get them higher reimbursements, fewer accounts receivable, and responsive customer support. Besides, we apply tools and techniques to take our clients up the road of virtual visits resulting in better collections.

Below, you’ll see a graph of what obstacles our PTs face against technology, courtesy APTA’s June 2020 report.

Medical billing services, Telehealth billing services, MIPS consulting, P3Care, Revenue cycle management

Conclusion

PTs and PTAs are part of the frontline workers of the COVID-19 emergency response that have been crucial to the healthcare teams, providing care in private clinics, facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals nationwide. Moreover, it is due to their constant support that the patients in local community settings not affected by COVID-19 receive continuous care.

Mobility, strength, consistency, and patience are fundamental elements of physical therapy in any setting. PTs and PTAs help patients get well sooner with their expertise in musculoskeletal conditioning. Unquestionably, the role of PTs is vital to see us through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: At all times, the CDC recommends PPE for the safety of patients and therapists alike.

A Guide to MIPS 2019 Reporting for Physical Therapists is where you can find MIPS consulting essentials for the previous year leading to the year 2020.

Medical billing services, Healthcare IT experts

4 Approaches to Managing Old Homes to Minimize COVID-19 Community Spread

Medicare promotes and safeguards the health of senior citizens. A survey reports that by 2030, every 1 in 5 people will be 65 or above. As a result, exhaustion of the Medicare program is more than likely to happen.

However, with the recent COVID-19 spread in full-bloom, to protect the senior citizens and managing old homes is more important than ever before.

We see hospitals and practices, in general, are equipped with the latest certified EHR systems aiding a new-age healthcare system to evolve, sustain, and respond to improved outcomes – technology is now an essential part of the healthcare system. In such times, optimal use of tech is where it all begins and ends.

Furthermore, medical billing services have a responsibility to play in these critical times. They have to support healthcare providers who are fighting on the frontlines with coronavirus disease. As our healthcare heroes risk their lives, we, as healthcare IT experts, have a responsibility to fully support them in this time of crisis.

For the most part, growing old isn’t easy, but due to innovations in technology and new inventions, caregiving has become more manageable. As a senior citizen, you deserve all the care out there as it is your right to have that. We are here for you as a provider’s systemic support during the coronavirus pandemic. You mustn’t go on blaming yourself for running a cold, persistently coughing, or sneezing without a break because it is no one’s fault.

Let’s look at a few approaches we can adopt to minimize the COVID-19 community spread.

  1. Reunite seniors with their Professions   

We don’t realize our growing age, but others do not let it go unnoticed. The slow deterioration of health; the gray hair; the wrinkles on the face & neck give it away and have a story to tell the others. The fact of the matter is that the number of gray hairs tells us the number of years you have cared for others. Therefore, never feel the shame in being old. It is the exact opposite – you are the wisest of all!

As we reach the latter part of our lives, we grow fonder and closer to our memories, especially the most-cherished ones. We may not be able to perform even the basic tasks like going to the bathroom and back, but those memories are what hold us together during the darkest of times.

If you want the senior citizens to listen to you, you must respect their memories during the COVID-19 lockdown. A big part of their survival depends on the good times they had in the past. Make use of those memories as part of the place where they sit and spend most of their time. For example, put a movie on which they like from the past to take off the edge from this whole pandemic situation buildup.

Let them do what they do best. For instance, if someone is a carpenter, include semi-finished wooden shelves in their skills room. They can use tools under supervision to create the next masterpiece. This way they get to be happy and kill some time as well.

Similarly, a professor will be happy with books and students in a class.

On the whole, to keep coming up with ideas to engage them is a difficult but necessary process.

  1. Make them Feel Ageless

They are our seniors, and we have to give them respect more than anything else.

To never let them feel old should be one of our goals.

From where we see them, they are young and energetic souls and will forever remain like that. To stop the COVID-19 community spread, much needed along with the stay at home part is the motivation for them every hour of the day; and words of love and support to look past their problems could just be it.

In an old home, look for ways to make them feel young. It’s not a piece of advice but an opinion that we would do the same thing if we were in your place. When we feel happy, we feel young inherently; it helps in mental and emotional stability. (which we need at the time)

  1. The crippling old age demands a perfect meal during the coronavirus pandemic

A way toward happiness is to eat delicious meals. You must equip the facility with nutritionists who are ready to prescribe corona-friendly weekly diet plans to residents. Foods that add variety to the menu and also strengthen their immune systems.

Something delicious but allowed in their age brings color to their faces and puts an end to the routine doom & gloom. Hence, have a plan in place to prepare a variety of foods for them – Foods that do not interfere with their healing cycle, of course.

Since food is a natural motivator, to ask each of them of their favorite food item is a good start. Moving forward, set up diet charts for them with the help of nutritionists.

An example of food can be scrambled eggs; a name everyone understands. I am not a food specialist or an old home administrator, but I say these things out of my experience with elders at home and materials I read on the web.

  1. Ensure the flooring has no apparent obstacles

This is one of the factors we must take into consideration in a caregiving facility. It can be a real game-changer. The flooring should be plain and simple without any speedbumps. So, if you find some flooring that needs repair, it could help them from tripping over and falling. Since corona is in full effect, we don’t want hospitals to fill up with non-corona patients.

Stairs should not be part of an old home with seniors. If there are stairs, keep them locked at all times.

At an older age, we tend to fall without rhyme or reason. Hence, stairs present a big threat or an injury that is waiting to happen. Keep elders away from stairs and only let them use them as tools for exercise. A supervised trip to level one and back to the ground floor once a day can be a good workout for them.

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Medical billing, Medical billing company, healthcare system, healthcare services, Medical billing outsourcing

A healthcare System without Surprise Medical Bills is a Progressive System

Health is an important asset to human beings. Patients, physicians, medical billing companies, insurance companies, clearinghouses, all are connected in one way or another to offer quality services. Physicians are then reimbursed for their services and that’s how the process flows.

Patients are particularly free from the burden of paying for healthcare expenses by themselves when they get a healthcare plan. They just have to pay their premiums, and the rest is the work of medical billing outsourcing companies.

In recent times, the payment system in the US healthcare system has especially been under scrutiny to facilitate patients and clinicians alike.

Healthcare Costs Have Gone Up

Due to inflation and in the name of empowering patients, costs have gone up severely. Deductibles and copayments have increased, and patients can’t do anything about it as they have to maintain their monthly healthcare package in check.

Increasing expenses for care services have left patients financially vulnerable. According to an estimate, patients paid around 35% of the medical bill charges in 2019. Looking into it, this percentage is quite high as compared to the previous years.

The reason behind this is that patients have to endure surprise medical bills, and medical billing services were not to blame for this. Stats show that two-thirds of American adults, have savings less than $1000, and it is not enough to pay surprise bills sent by medical billing companies. Believe it or not, surprise medical bills are one of the causes of making families bankrupt.

All Stakeholders of Healthcare Industry will Suffer If Not Done Something to Resolve Surprise Medical Bills

A poll conducted by Kaiser Health Tracking in 2018 reflected that sixty-seven % of the Americans are somewhat worried about bearing unexpected healthcare costs for themselves or family members.

Another study showed that forty percent of the Americans who had insurance received surprise bills in 2019.

Forty-one of the Americans showed their concerns about how unexpected it was for them to see the bill going overboard.

The problem is huge. If patients are unable to pay for the rendered services, how will physicians survive? Medical billing services will not be able to get clear bills for physicians. The inability to pay bills and deductibles has increased seventeen percent from 2012 to 2016.

The US government has also noticed this issue, and there are multiple solutions into consideration.

What is the Solution?

Negative payment cycles can be reversed if taken proper actions against it.

One way to restrict the ever-increasing cost factor in the healthcare industry is to offer customized/personalized experience for patients.

The healthcare and billing process can be confusing for patients. A professional medical billing company on behalf of physicians should demonstrate each payment clearly to patients beforehand. From the appointment session to the final bill, every step should be clear to exclude the surprise element from bills.

The first strep of accurate billing services is to precisely estimate the cost of healthcare.

Medical billing outsourcing companies should break down each step for physicians to give them an idea of what patients can bear from their health plan and whatnot.

Listing payment options is also useful for patients when comes to out-of-pocket expenses.

Providers who work in efforts to improve the quality of healthcare and reduce surprise billing can enjoy a significant improvement in revenue cycle management. One can’t expect a sudden change in the healthcare industry, but a seamless billing process without surprise bills is only possible via offering tailored payment models based on the patient’s financial situation.

Switching to Cloud Isn’t Easy for Pharmaceutical Industry

The modern healthcare industry is the amalgamation of technology and medical services. With this growing trend of health IT, data security and privacy have become the main concerns for physicians. Be it, medical billing, MIPS & MACRA, electronic healthcare records (EHRs), digital collection and storage have taken the paramount place.

To take advantage of technology and to support MIPS in healthcare, pharmaceutical companies are interested in going cloud-based. However, they want surety to have a secure transition, which is not as simple as it seems.

The professional mapping of the data flows, frameworks, and technology implementation requires amazing efforts. While doing all this, a proactive approach, anticipating the potential threats is compulsory.

What steps should be taken to have a safe cloud-based technology?

  • Take Measures for Security Breaches

Same as physicians have to protect patients’ data, and other sensitive information from hackers in the MIPS program, the pharma industry has to pay attention to security threats.

It is estimated that during the shifting process of the hand-written data to the cloud-based database, many incidents of data breaches will be experienced. Security experts that are well-aware of the data sensitivity and actively take measures against breaches are one of the major hurdles in implementing this migration.

A connected and heterogeneous cloud-based storage system is a complex process. Therefore, not just a secure database is to be designed but also with an efficient backup system.

Security failures can only be prevented when there will be the right personnel with the right expertise for this job.  Therefore, before moving towards cloud-based technology, the pharma industry needs to have a proper execution plan.

  • Be Prepared To Manage Risks

Translating the manual database to a cloud-based database may disturb the entire pharma company. Therefore, the calculation of the internal and external risks is equally important for the effective functioning of cloud-based technology in the pharmaceutical industry.

A reasonable solution is to convert data step-by-step until the whole staff gets comfortable with it. Test the cloud technology implementation and highlight errors that don’t meet the standard. Manage risks and measure return-over-investment.

  • Research about the Implementation Protocols

Pharma industry will not just face problems regarding the right technology.  In addition, it needs to research all the pros, cons, and the working process of technology implementation. Vulnerabilities come across as major setbacks in an efficient running system. If there will not be a proper channel or sequence of operations to enter, fetch, and share data from the system, what will be the point?

In order to support MIPS in healthcare, which is one of the leading value-based incentive programs, pharma companies need to have a front role in understanding all the implementation details.

The Healthcare industry is already sensitive, and pharma being its part can’t be separated from its rules and obligations. There is a reason that the regulatory authorities highly govern this industry.

SaaS – Software as a Service model is getting popularity in the pharma industry. However, there is a need to develop the understanding that the implementation of cloud-based services without seeing the capability of the system will cost more than ever.

Thus, flexibility is required but with the hint of sensibility to predict different case scenarios and the associated cost to check if this is the best-suited solution.

Surely, the pharma industry should move forward with the changing times. Nevertheless, the change should be transitive and be able to generate constructive results while making sure of all the security aspects.

In your opinion, what steps should be taken to ensure the reliable implementation of cloud technology in the pharma industry?

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