Billing & Reimbursement

Yesterday the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) formally announced HHS’ intention to shift 90% of all traditional Medicare payments from fee-for-service (FFS) to quality or value-based payments by 2018. The secretary announced that HHS’ goal is to have 30% of traditional FFS payments tied to quality or value in 2016, increasing to 50% by 2018, … Continue Reading

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final Physician Fee Schedule for Fiscal Year 2015.   The annual Physician Fee Schedule includes various policy and payment changes to be implemented in the coming year.  This year’s Fee Schedule includes details regarding Medicare’s payment for services outside of a face-to-face visit for managing the care for … Continue Reading

In response to the development of alternative payment systems, provider networks are forming at a frenetic pace. If you are like most of my physician clients, you have been or will shortly be presented with network participation agreements for review (or in many cases, signature with very little opportunity to review) and consideration. In evaluating potential network affiliations, consider these … Continue Reading

Many physicians pay very little attention to their managed care participation agreements.  In fact, some simply sign these agreements without ever reading them.  I think this apathy stems from the fact that managed care plans generally refuse, at least for smaller practices, to “negotiate” their fee schedules.  But, even if a payor won’t negotiate fees, participation agreements typically include other … Continue Reading

One of the ways the Medicare program and other payer plans are recovering overpayments and identifying billing fraud is through the regular use of data mining.  Simply put, by utilizing software programs that monitor and compare billing and coding data, enforcement authorities are easily able to identify problematic trends in physician billing.  This is an extremely cost effective means of … Continue Reading

Now that the new year is upon us, today’s post will look at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG), in particular, OIG’s priorities for 2013.   According to OIG’s Fiscal Year 2013 Work Plan, it will be focusing upon a number of topics of interest – including some items not addressed last … Continue Reading

If you’re not sure what your managed care payers want from you, maybe you need to tell them. Many physicians are (understandably) complacent about taking an active role in defining in their payer relationships. Not surprisingly, managed care payers have had very little incentive or ability to negotiate special arrangements with a diverse and disintegrated physician practice marketplace. However, as … Continue Reading

According to a a major study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week, almost half of physicians surveyed (over 7,000 physicians were surveyed), reported at least one symptom of burnout.  As a recent article in the Atlantic points out, although physician burnout may not be news to most physicians who are living with the realities of shrinking reimbursements, growing costs … Continue Reading

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision of interest to physicians and teaching hospitals. It concerns the method of rotating teaching physicians between multiple surgeries and billing Medicare for those services.  

The case involves so-called "qui tam" claims (essentially, a whistleblower case) against a teaching hospital, by which a successful claimant gets to keep a portion Continue Reading