Practice Development

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If Medical Professionals Are Super Heroes, Invisibility Shouldn’t Be Their Super Power

I recently attended a webinar on maximizing visibility with social media. At first, I thought no way. Certainly, all of the healthcare providers and physicians that I have spoken to over the last 6 weeks have been consumed with thoughts of how to just get through the COVID-19 pandemic. They really aren’t thinking of practice development. They are thinking of business survival. They, like all of us, are hoping this will be over sooner rather than later.

But maybe it’s best to consider where there are opportunities in this down time. For most private practices’ things are definitely slower. There are less patients to be seen; no elective surgeries; and less paperwork.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in shelter in place orders so your patients are at home.  And right now, more than ever, they are online consuming mor information than ever before.  So now is not the time to become invisible and hope for the best. Now is the time to be in front of your target market. You want to reach out to both current and potential patients with valuable information that they can trust. There is so much misinformation out there that you become the trusted source of information. They won’t forget. Set your practice up for success in the second half of 2020.

There is no better digital marketing tool than Social Media. You can stay engaged with your patient population in so many ways. Perhaps, schedule an online Q&A session where they can ask you questions in real time. This should be scheduled on the same day and at the same time so that people will know where to go and can also encourage their friends and family to join in.  Let your patients know that you are eager to return to the clinic. Don’t let them worry that you won’t be there when they need you.

Telemedicine is also a way to stay engaged with your patients. Certainly, it is a patient care option, but it is also a way to interact with your patients. If you haven’t implemented telemedicine contact your billing company or software representative to learn more about it.

Develop a plan now to contact those patients that had to cancel their appointments. Are there services that your practice can offer to get others to come back as soon as you are allowed to return to work? People are also eager for some positive news so sharing new plans for your practice or new services makes people hopeful for things to come. You might even consider temporarily offering extended hours of operation.

Staying visible is a process, one step at a time. Don’t become overwhelmed trying to think of everything at once. The Facebook Business Resource Hub offers 5 steps you can take today.  Query your staff, friends and family for ideas – think outside of the box!

Locum Tenens and Your Practice

locum tenens

Recently one of our clients asked us if they could use locum tenens while they were on vacation.  As summertime approaches, this question may be on everyone’s mind, so it seems like a good time to review acceptable and unacceptable uses of a locum tenens.  After all you don’t want to arrange for coverage of your practice and then not get reimbursed for the services rendered.

For Medicare eligibility and reimbursement, specific criteria must be met for a legitimate locum tenens, or fee-for-time compensation arrangement:

  • The substitute provider can only bill under the regular provider’s National Provider Identifier, or NPI, number for 60 continuous calendar days, unless the regular physician was called to active military duty.
  • The patients must seek the services of the regular physician.
  • Claims submitted to Medicare must use the modifier “Q6,” to indicate the use of a locum tenens.
  • The substitute physician must not be an employee, but an independent contractor.
  • The substitute physician must be paid on a per diem or similar time basis.

What Are Acceptable Uses of a Locum Tenens?

Examples of acceptable uses for a fee-for-time compensation arrangement include the following scenarios:

  • A physician takes a leave or goes on vacation. During that time, another physician sees that physician’s patients. Those visits can be billed to Medicare under the regular physician’s name, and Medicare will reimburse the regular physician as if she performed the services.
  • A physician terminates from the group. While the group tries to recruit a replacement, a substitute physician covers that physician’s caseload for up to 60 days.
  • Two locum tenens providers cover the panel of a physician on leave for 60 days, alternating the weeks they work.

What Are Unacceptable Uses of a Locum Tenens?

For Medicare purposes, the following are unacceptable uses of a fee-for-time compensation arrangement:

  • If a physician dies, no one can bill under that physician’s name.
  • Locum tenens arrangements for Medicare do not include nurse practitioners, physician assistants or any other provider type besides physician and physical therapist (in certain geographies or region). However, they do not need to be of the same specialty.
  • A newly hired physician cannot bill as a locum tenens provider while pending Medicare enrollment; employees do not qualify.
  • You are expanding your practice and need additional providers. A fee-for-time arrangement would not qualify, since there is no regular physician to substitute for.
  • The regular physician cannot provide services elsewhere while a substitute physician also is billing under her credentials; the regular physician cannot be available to work.

The above rules apply to the Medicare program. Different insurance plans can have their own rules regarding the allowed use of a substitute physician, but most will follow Medicare.  However, it is always a good thing to check with each carrier.

“Tiger” Focus by Scott Ballard

2020 is well underway. I don’t know about you, but I found myself juggling my ‘to-do’ list.  Every day, it seemed I was jumping from one thing to another and adding more things to my already robust list.  I had so many projects, micro-enhancements, things that would make the staff more efficient and be value added to our clients.

I make lists and I’m pretty organized but even with that I seemed to come up short.  I’m always looking for a better way for something that will help me focus on what is important and pursue it with maniacal intensity.

And then I read an article called “Tiger” Focus by Confidence Coach Scott Ballard.  I shared it with a few colleagues, and they had the same reaction I did.  It leaves you with a sense of ‘wow’ so simple but often over-looked.  And now when I seem to stray, I think ‘Tiger Focus’.  It is a quick read but one that you can apply to your business and personal life.

Who is the MVP in your Office?

Every person, every task, every patient is important, but the front desk is the quarterback for the office. They set everything in motion. They get the nod as the MVP.

Scheduling the patient is the easy part but everything after that is tricky at best and of paramount importance. Before the patient comes in benefits need to be confirmed, referrals and pre-authorizations must be obtained and recorded.

Once the patient presents at the office there is a whole new set of responsibilities and must be done with laser accuracy. It doesn’t matter how good the nursing staff is or how good the doctor is because if the front desk didn’t do their job then that visit won’t get paid.

Maybe you think registering patients is easy, but it isn’t. This requires that all the patient’s information and the responsible party’s information be recorded accurately. It isn’t enough to just ask if anything has changed you must confirm all demographics and then make sure that the current insurance card is scanned into the record. People change jobs, move, and get married and companies change insurance plans and so it is important to check every time. Also, the patient’s name and the responsible party’s name, if any must be recorded in the chart exactly as it appears on the insurance card. If the front desk isn’t looking at that card and scanning it into the record, then that is a fumble and will cost you.

As the patient is checked in or as they schedule their follow-up visit take the time to collect copays and deductibles. This is critical during the first part of every year since patients haven’t met their deductibles yet. If your front desk staff is asking for payment at the time of service, then you have a very valuable team player. Lots of people are uncomfortable doing this so make sure your front desk staff has the skill set to ask for payment. Your patients won’t get as many billing statements and your practice will be rewarded with improved cash flow.

It’s true – it takes everyone on the team to make a practice successful and maybe you are lucky and have several MVPs but make sure one of the MVPs is at your front desk!

Does Your Medical Practice Need a Website?

website must haves

8 Website Must Haves…

website must haves

Medical practices often asked for our opinion about the value of a website for the medical practice.  We are not website professionals.  However, we have had the pleasure of working with some very talented design and development people. Thanks to their input, as well as numerous articles, the consensus is a resounding “Yes”!

Regardless of  your specialty, the reality is people are searching online for you.  They are interested in who you are, what your credentials are and about your practice.  They are trying to determine if they will feel comfortable with you.  Whether you realize it or not, people search the web and make decisions based on your website.

It is true that potential patients may still make an appointment with you if they can’t find you on social media or if you don’t have a website but why leave it to chance?  So if you are thinking about development, re-design or updating we thought you might find the following article of use, The 8 Must-Haves for Your Medical Practice Website. 

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