By Aaron Liston
We are indeed, living and working in unprecedented times for most people of our generation. Never before, outside a time of war, have we seen such concern and disruption, not only for the health of ourselves and immediate family but for the worldwide population, our jobs, our businesses, our economy.
Independent practices and SMB Group Clinicians are concerned about the continuity of care for their patients, how they can maintain patient encounters safely as well as keeping themselves and their practice staff safe from the virus. Non-essential surgeries and procedures have been cancelled, healthcare staff, and administrative staff have been unable to work due to childcare demands with schools closing or caring for relatives. Added to this is the disruption to billing continuity, the worry that business revenues will drop and they will not be able to meet payroll and business commitments, including earning a salary themselves.
Interestingly, the landscape feels familiar, as the Independent healthcare sector has been under attack for some time, by payers, health systems and groups.
What next? Billing for COVID-19? How? What codes? Would patients with COVID-19 symptoms be billable? if so, how and how would we solve this quickly? These questions are all topics of the day in the medical billing world. The same is true for laboratories, how can they become licensed to run the COVID-19 tests quickly, what would be the level of payment? The deluge of calls to medical insurance payors has risen exponentially, Payor departments have closed and it is difficult to reach them.
Gradually, solutions have begun to emerge, the Government has rallied with financial rescue packages for Healthcare Providers and Health Service Providers. CMS has released designated codes and relaxed their position in regard to Telemedicine. The RCM space has begun to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
One of the pandemic success stories, in terms of solutions, has been Telemedicine.
In the current climate, Telemedicine is a lifeline for healthcare providers, it enables physicians and healthcare workers to see their patients in real-time in a safe, secure environment. It also reduces the pressure and need for protective equipment and infection control measures. Reducing risk and allowing continuity of service. Solutions have advanced significantly recently, to allow far easier access on a wider range of technology. If you were an early adopter, turned off by clunky systems it’s worth taking a fresh look.
Moving on, from how do healthcare providers continue seeing their patients, to how they continue to get paid and manage their offices has also had its challenges but the Government has issued financial rescue packages and relaxed regulatory restrictions to enable revenue to flow and remove administrative barriers through the expansion of the ‘Accelerated and Advance Payment Program’. This program of measures helps to ensure that Medicare-participating healthcare providers and suppliers have the resources they need to combat the COVID-19 challenges, lessening the financial hardships Healthcare providers are facing so they can focus on patient care.
The Revenue Cycle Management industry is working hard to support its clients to maintain healthcare and business continuity and constantly innovating to develop intelligent solutions and smarter ways of working at this difficult time.
Keep safe everyone by staying home!
Aaron Liston is CEO of AIMA Business and Medical Support LLC, and gives his view, from a Revenue Cycle Management perspective, on the effect of the Coronavirus outbreak within the healthcare community and laboratory space.
AIMA is a family run company which has been around for over 25 years. We have dedicated teams constantly researching and implementing new ideas and keeping abreast of regulatory conditions so we can offer our clients the best advice and guidance possible. Visit www.aimabms.com or email sales@ai