How to Ease Medical Billing Issues Caused by COVID-19
No matter how prepared we may have felt we were before the COVID-19 crisis, many of us have realized we weren’t as ready to face the virus as we thought. There are a few simple ways, though, that you can help keep your billing process as streamlined and issue-free as possible during this time.
One of the easiest ways to ensure few issues arise during the billing process is to have trained and capable staff at your front desk. This initial step in providing patient care is a critical one as far as billing goes. If the patient’s insurance is not filed correctly, or if they are not properly registered, issues will arise later down the line when the visit reaches the billing stage. Simply making sure your front desk staff enters patient information correctly can prevent delays and inaccuracies in both patient care and billing. It may be wise for you to consider cross-training your front desk staff in billing and coding (or vice versa) to improve the accuracy of information input. Doing so can tremendously improve your revenue cycle both in and out of times of crisis.
Another way to avoid medical billing issues is to ensure your staff understands the blanket waivers being issued by the government during this crisis. Many changes in billing and insurance have arisen in attempts to alleviate some of the stress placed on medical practices, and it can be a little tricky trying to keep up with all of them. For example, it is critical that your staff is aware of what the waivers issued by the Department of Health and Human Services cover. Under the national emergency declaration, the Department of Health and Human Services may waive some policies of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP to provide better care to their beneficiaries during this time.
There are also individual waivers that practices can apply for that may help them in other ways. Some allow local providers more freedom to help them treat their patients during the pandemic. Others may allow providers who provide care to patients “in good faith” to be reimbursed and exempted from some sanctions during this time. The sooner these waivers are applied for, the better. This will help prevent any billing issues to arise later if you have proof of allowance to the exceptions. It is still critical to document every patient, even if you are able to waive visit fees to ensure reimbursement that may be provided by the government at a later date.
For more tips on how to keep your revenue cycle healthy, check out more of our articles!