How do I deal with upcoming changes in Medicare?

Discover how In Touch EMR can help you with the upcoming changes in Medicare. Learn the impact of changes such as Functional G Code reporting, reduction in reimbursements, and PQRS Reporting guidelines and how you can limit the effect on your bottom line.

The recent changes in Medicare policies have brought about a reduction in revenue for private practice owners. Right now, clinicians are already feeling the impact of PQRS, Functional Limitation G codes and Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR). As much as a 6 – 20% reduction in payments has been observed since April 2013.

Strategies to maximize Medicare payments include:

  • Be more efficient with time spent with these patients

  • Be more efficient with the types of cpt codes and number of units billed

How to increase income in the post medicare economy:

1) Diversify the payer mix by having payers other than Medicare, preferably those who pay more than Medicare.

2) Set up different cash paying programs to increase income and increase lifetime value of each


3) Diversify sources of income and services to serve patients better to make your practice multi-faceted and diverse.

What is the RAC audit process and how do I survive an audit?

Learn simple steps that a private practice owner can take to make sure their EMR system automatically updates a patient’s plan of care when changes are made to the treatment plan.

This will help ensure that you, and your staff stay compliant with Medicare, and avoid falling into the 62% of clinicians whose documentation does not match what is being billed out.

The RAC process is used to identify and recover improper Medicare payments paid to healthcare providers under fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare plans. According to Medicare, 62% of cases they’ve looked at have errors wherein the supporting documentation does not match the billing claim.

As a rule, the information transmitted from the flowsheet to the plan of care and to the billing claim should be consistent. This can be a challenge to accomplish if the EMR software you are using allows you to have different information on the flowsheet, plan of care and billing.

In Touch EMR has a built in feature that will prompt the user to update the flowsheet and plan of care as needed to make sure the information on both are the identical and consistent. This checks and balances system will drive the billing claim to ensure that the documentation fully supports what is being billed out.

This simple yet important feature of In Touch EMR can be a huge help to minimize, if not totally eliminate these types of billing errors. In Touch EMR strives to make sure your flowsheet, your plan of care and your billing claim are consistent so you will not be a part of the 62% error rate.

What should a flowsheet look like?

Discover what a flow sheet should look like and the purpose of a traditional flowsheet for rehab professionals. When used correctly, the flowsheet can act as a reminder system about a specific patient’s treatment over a period of time.

A flowsheet allows the medical professional to track what was done for a particular patient for that particular visit and for previous visits.

It is a history of what was done to help the clinician decide what to do next.

It is an overview of the treatment path of the patient.

The flowsheet should justify billing and should be assigned with CPT codes.

The flowsheet should be the billed, support medical necessity and streamline what is done.

How can I transform patients into referral sources with my EMR?

Discover how easy it is to use the existing patient information that is already in your EMR system to market your clinic. Patients’ phone numbers, emails, and mailing addresses can all be used as tools to turn your patients into referral sources. You will learn about different mechanisms that are available to you to communicate with your patients, and how the right EMR system can automate and streamline your marketing.

In Touch EMR uses multiple modes of communication to keep in touch with patients. It has automated systems to communicate with patients thru greeting cards, appointment reminders and newsletters. This can be done with the information patient has provided, namely: mailing address, email address and mobile numbers.

Being consistent in communicating with clients will improve chances of patient referrals because:

1) Patients do not forget about you

2) Patients get to know, like and trust you

In Touch EMR simplifies and automates consistent communication with its built in mechanisms to reach out to clients.

What are the four modes of communication to increase patient referrals?

This video shows you how to use four key modes of communication when collecting patient information for your clinic. Patients’ demographic information as well as their referral source information can all be used to keep patients aware of what is going on in your clinic.

When you get the patient’s name and mailing address, it gives you the opportunity to reach out to patients with greeting cards and postcards. This will keep patient knowledgeable and aware of your clinic.

A printed newsletter can also be made available so that patients can bring them home or share with neighbors and friends.

The patient’s cellphone number allows you to send voice and text messages for information texts or appointment reminders. Text messages have a higher read rate compared to emails.

The patient’s email address provides you with the opportunity to build a relationship with the patient through a relevant newsletter sent out regularly.

Physicians on the other hand, prefers to receive communication by fax. The built-in unlimited fax transmission feature in In Touch EMR allows you to send medical records to physicians by fax.

Can you suggest FOUR ways to get more referrals from my EMR?

This video discusses the four ways your EMR can help you increase referrals. Your EMR should have the capabilities to automate the process of asking for referrals by simply using information from the patient record (i.e. phone, email, and mailing address). The EMR should also have the ability to send appointment reminders automatically by phone and/or email. Most patients are happy to refer you and your clinic. All you need to do is ask, and ask again. Patients must be conditioned to refer.

Getting referrals from patient can be automated with the use of an EMR software. There are 4 ways by which In Touch EMR can get referrals from patient automatically.

1) When the patient fills in the iPad intake, you can immediately ask for referrals.

2) Using text or appointment reminders

3) Emailing newsletters to patients

4) Mail greetings/post cards to patients asking for referrals

You need to ASK!

Make it easy for the patient to refer. Let the patient know that you are never too busy for their referrals, in fact you count on their referrals to grow your clinic.

How do I get more referrals from physicians through my EMR?

This video discusses how your EMR can help you increase referrals from physicians. Discover several tips on how to integrate your EMR with automated capabilities such as a custom fax cover letter, and a done-for-you newsletter to reach out to the physicians. Simple personal touches will show your referring physicians that you care for their patients, and you are always appreciative of their referrals.

Your EMR should allow you to fax documents to physicians. This is an excellent way to ask for referrals on the cover sheet with a custom message.

The cover sheet is an excellent way to communicate with physicians and to thank them for their referrals.

You can integrate your EMR with a done-for-you newsletter specifically made for physicians. This capability can be done in In Touch EMR. The newsletter will allow you to feature the physician. This will help in building a relationship with the physician which will ultimately get you more referrals.

Can you explain how an 'ideal practice workflow' should look like?

In Touch EMR follows a simple, streamlined and efficient workflow for clinicians:

1) patient comes in and verification is done real time online

2) patient intake is automated as patient fills in his/her information on the iPad including

demographic and insurance information

3) clinicians already have the patient record and finish documentation quickly

In Touch EMR has dynamic goal box, advanced flowsheet and automatic ICD, CPT code generation. These are unique proprietary features of In Touch EMR.

4) Once the claim is In Touch Biller Pro, the biller checks the claim for edits and submits it to insurance companies electronically

5) Practice owners can then run reports using different filters like CPT codes or referral sources.

How should Scheduling, Documentation, and Billing integrate together?

The ideal software should be able to do scheduling, documentation and billing seamlessly. The three components should be integrated to avoid manual data entry, which wastes time.

In Touch EMR and In Touch Biller Pro eliminate this common problem:

1) scheduling, documentation and billing are done on different platforms

2) biller has to manually copy data from one platform to another making the claims prone to errors and mistakes

In Touch EMR shortens this revenue cycle process to maximize collection and cash flow for your practice.

The entire cycle is done in one system using In Touch EMR and In Touch Biller Pro.

What do I need to know about the Before, During and After Patient Experience?

It is important to have one software to manage the ‘before’, ‘during’, and ‘after’ patient experience.

The ‘before’ patient experience includes patient intake and scheduling.

In Touch EMR can do online eligibility that allows front desk to retrieve the patient’s information in real time from insurance companies.

Taking the result of the verification, the front desk can then create a patient record without the need to enter any information.

This means saving time and minimizes mistakes that lead to claim denials.

The ‘during’ patient experience includes documentation.

Clinician can go directly to documentation (SOAP notes or flowsheet) as he/she works with the patient, allowing for better customer service and less time taking tedious notes.

The documentation drives the entire process and allows the clinic to get paid.

The ‘after’ patient experience includes: integrated follow-ups with patients, including marketing to gain referrals; fast and easy billing solutions to get paid more, faster

What should I look for in an integrated EMR and billing software?

An EMR software should allow the clinician to document the patients and a billing software should allow the clinician to bill out claims and even check online eligibility verification in real time.

They should be two separate software that communicate seamlessly together; a software that does a little bit of everything will not do any one job particularly well.

The billing software allows the front desk to check eligibility online as soon as the patient comes in, scheduled within the billing software and this schedule will appear automatically on the EMR system. From the EMR you can view the schedule and finish your documentation as a clinician here as well.

The claim is generated in the EMR software flows back to the billing software where the rest of the claim is processed.

As you can see, the EMR and the billing software should work together but be distinct components of a successful practice. This will ensure that the workflow is streamlined to make it efficient and eliminate time-wasters.

How can I improve my time management and increase productivity in my practice?

In time management, there are four types of activities:

1) Negative dollar value activities done during workhours. These hurt the practice, so private practice owners should keep these types of activities to an absolute minimum

2) Low dollar activities which can be done by someone else other than the physical therapist. These tasks should be delegated to someone who is efficient and effective

3) High dollar value activities are those which only the physical therapist can do.

4) High lifetime value tasks are important tasks which the private practice owner should spend most of his time doing. These include attending conferences on business development, managing and motivating staff, working with business coaches and looking at reports.

In Touch EMR can provide you with powerful reports to help you keep track of your practice.

As an owner, you should spend more time doing high lifetime value tasks, and ensuring that you surround yourself with efficient staff and efficient systems.

How can I save money by using EMR and billing software?

How to save costs with your EMR and billing software:

Patient Intake process

1) The front desk has the ability to check eligibility online and create a patient record automatically. This has already saved the front desk from having to make a call to the insurance company and from having to manually create a patient record

2) The front desk can then schedule the patient and the appointment automatically appears on the EMR software. This process will already save at least 10 minutes per patient for your front desk, which can easily translate to 1,000 minutes a week per 100 visits.

Documentation process

1) Patient intake has already been done (by the patient, if requested) and the information is reflected in the EMR. The clinician can then use customized templates.

2) Using voice recognition capabilities will save the clinician time in documenting. This saves a minimum of 5 minutes per patient

The billing process

1) Once the documentation is done, it is created as a claim and is automatically submitted to the billing software.

2) Biller does not need to re-enter claim, reviews and edits as necessary, and the claim gets batched and submitted at the end of the day automatically. There is no manual batching of claims in In Touch Biller Pro.

3) ERAs coming back from insurance companies can be automatically applied and posted to the patient account with one click. A patient statement can also be generated with one click.

This efficiency can save the clinician in terms of billable hours payable to the biller.

How do I transition away from my existing EMR and billing software?

When you move from one EMR to another, there are two types of data you need from your old software:

1) patient demographic information

2) patient documentation

These two sets of information can be exported to an excel file which you can upload to the new system.

Slowing phasing out of your old EMR software as you phase into your new EMR software is an ideal transition; there will always be overlap between two systems. Your In Touch EMR account manager can help you figure out a start date for using your new system.

What is the difference between an EMR, a billing software, a clearing house and a billing service / biller?

EMR systems help clinicians document patients with templates and communicates with the billing software.

The billing software should be fully integrated with the clearinghouse, allow you to check online eligibility, scrub claims and automatically post ERAs to patient accounts.

The clearinghouse moves your claim from your billing to the insurance companies.

Your billing service should master and use the billing software to maximize its used and benefits.

In Touch EMR have all these capabilities to make the revenue cycle of the practice shorter and more efficient.