This article was first published on Kareo’s Go Practice blog.
As we head into the home stretch of 2018, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and slip into “cruise mode,” just trying to make it through the end of the year. As an independent medical practice or clinic, there are a few key steps you can take right now to make sure you’re ready for some of the payment changes and challenges that 2019 promises to bring to the healthcare industry.
Review Patient Intake Forms and Financial Policies
Many healthcare practices require patients to update their demographic and insurance information at their first visit of a new year. This is a great opportunity to also get an updated financial policy signed. (Check out my other blog post on Getting Your Financial Policy Into Shape.) Take the time to review your current financial policy to make sure that it includes updated policies on things like no shows, appointment cancellations, payment expected at time of service—especially when deductibles haven’t been met—payment options, and self-pay policies, to name a few.
Update Your Fee Schedule
If you can’t remember the last time that you reviewed your practices fee schedule, there is a good chance you could be leaving revenue on the table. The end of the year is a great time to make sure that your fees have been updated and that you have provided your staff with an easy to read “cheat sheet” to help them in collecting coinsurance and deductible amounts at the time of service. CMS recently released the Medicare 2019 Fee Schedule Final Rule, so spend a little time updating your current fees to make sure that you are ready to maximize your revenue in 2019.
Conduct a HIPAA Risk Assessment
It seems like 2018 saw a record number of HIPAA security breaches in both large and small healthcare organizations. Several payers were among those who received substantial fines, and it reminds us that no healthcare organization is immune to security breaches. Conducting a true risk assessment takes some time, but not only is it well worth the effort to make sure that your organization is doing everything possible to protect your patients’ PHI, it is also a requirement of the Quality Payment Program, or MIPS as you may be more familiar with.
If your practice intends to report MIPS data for 2018, be sure that you have completed a HIPAA Risk Assessment before the end of the year. If you need assistance, ONC, in collaboration with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has a tool designed to assist practices with conducting their own risk assessment. You can find it at on the HealthIT.gov website.