Archive for October, 2010

Billing Codes Increase in 2013, Threaten to Slow Billing Process

25 Oct

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, overhead and billing expenses take up as much as 43 percent of a doctor’s annual revenue. When you consider the fact that insurance companies will not always make it easy on you to have your claims paid, it makes it that more daunting. But, when 2013 rolls around, the challenge gets tougher. In fact, you will have 155,000 reasons to consider hiring a medical billing company to handle your claims.

Published by the World Health Organization (WHO), The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9) currently contains 17,000 billing codes to choose from in order to classify diseases and a wide variety of symptoms, causes, and other variables. But, all that will change on October 1, 2013, when the number of codes will increase to an astounding 155,000 under the ICD-10.

As one might suspect, more codes means longer billing processes. Coders will need to increase their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. They will also need to work more closely with doctors to work out the kinks in the new coding process.

The United States is late to the game, so to speak, with implementing the ICD-10. Other countries that have been under the latest coding guidelines for years have reported significantly longer turnaround time on their accounts receivable.

But if the transition is handled effectively, those bumps in the road should be short-term. If nothing else, the pending coding changes underscores the value of outsourcing your medical billing needs to a medical practice management company.


Hiring a Medical Billing Company Increases Profits

19 Oct

There are many reasons for Anesthesiologists, or any other medical practice, to hire a medical billing company. If you are considering a medical billing service for your practice, there are several types (or sizes) of companies to choose from. There are large national firms and small local medical billing companies that may be able to give you a little more of a personalized service. There are even offshore companies that perform medical billing services.

But, the most important thing to know about potentially hiring a medical billing service is, how does it benefit your medical practice? There are many, but possibly the most important is that it will increase your bottom line.

One of the misconceptions of hiring a medical billing company is that it will become an expense. In reality, a quality medical billing service will not only pay for itself, it will increase your profits. If you are performing your billing in-house, when you add the expenses related to hiring a billing staff, hardware and software, and IT support, the costs will often exceed the medical billing company’s fees.

Anesthesiologists in particular can benefit by outsourcing anesthesia billing, as most anesthesiologists spend the majority of their time in a hospital setting separated from the billing and operations side of their business. Hiring a medical billing company that understands the billing & coding processes for anesthesia can greatly increase profit and patient care.

If you outsource your medical billing processes to a company that knows its business intimately, they will find ways to eliminate hidden costs. Your medical practice splits its time and resources between patient care and the billing process, whereas a medical billing company concentrates their entire effort on handling your billing. They can do it more efficiently, which brings costs down and profits up.


Apps for Anesthesia, Anesthesiologists

04 Oct

Last week, the Stanford Anesthesia Informatics and Media Lab (AIM) released StanMed, their new iPad application that was designed as an educational tool in the critical care student clerkship at the School of Medicine. This is how the app is described at the iTunes preview page:

StanMed is an iPad app designed to be used by Stanford medical students, residents, fellows and faculty. We intend StanMed to be used in the classroom and at the bedside. StanMed will provide clinically useful educational modules, tutorials, videos, podcasts and cognitive aids to help facilitate learning at the point of care.

While the application is free, at the moment it’s only available to Stanford University affiliates with valid SUNet IDs. However, exceptions can be made if you are an educator or member of the press. If you’re interested in learning more about the app, you can email them with your request to access the application at

The Principal Investigator of AIM is Larry Chu, MD., Assistant Professor of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine.

There are other anesthesia apps to choose from as well. One example is iAnesthesia: Case Logs. This app was designed for easy caseload tracking. Here are some of the touted features:

– The iPhone automatically syncs case data to the secure CaseLog Database

– Stores all of your anesthesia case log data in one convenient and organized location

– Even if you forget your iPhone, you can enter anesthesia case log data online quickly and easily

– You have 24-hour access to your data.

And then there is the popular Epocrates for the iPhone. Epocrates is the most popular mobile drug reference resource used by healthcare providers at the point of care. According to the description in the Apple Store, “physicians choose Epocrates 3 to 1 as their point of care drug reference of choice.”

In a recent press release, MBA Medical Business Associates announced an increased focus and capital investment in services and technology to support anesthesiologists. In an effort to improve the efficiency of anesthesia billing and the availability of information for anesthesiologists MBA  developed a custom designed practice management system which includes a smart phone application, an internet portal, and a computer-based program.

This practice management solution for anesthesia was designed around the ability to import patient and case information from the hospital while also offering an interface for physicians to enter additional case information independent from the hospital system.  The equally-important second objective of this initiative was to provide physicians remote access to all pertinent information about their cases through the physician interface. Aside from providing valuable reporting capability, this would also allow providers to confirm that their services have been billed correctly and ultimately get paid correctly.