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Do you have a no-show problem? Even if you struggle with unexpected holes in your schedule only occasionally, you can take steps to improve your patient-contact rates and turn those no-shows into visits.

Image from www.phreesia.comOne of your biggest opportunities for new revenue in 2011 and beyond is Medicare’s new annual wellness visit (AWV). One of the biggest obstacles to billing the AWV quickly and efficiently has been finding the right form for the visit, which is unlike a regular physical. Now some vendors are catching on and offering ways to cut physician time by digitizing the new encounter form needed to bill the AWV under Medicare guidelines.

Photo by Grant HuangMost electronic health record (EHR) vendors have a meaningful use "guarantee" -- but the fine print usually specifies that their EHR product has the capability to meet meaningful use and earn you incentive money, if you do your part. But athenahealth (the company name is deliberately lower case, for whatever reason) is trying to stand apart from the pack by offering a more substantive meaningful use guarantee.

Image used with permission from UroplastyUrologists have a new code to describe posterior tibial neurostimulation, which was previously billed using unlisted code 64999. However, it's slow going for the new code, 64566 (posterior tibial neurostimulation, percutaneous needle electrode, single treatment, $129.11). There is currently only one device on the market that can perform the procedure -- the Urgent PC, manufactured by Minnesota-based Uroplasty.
CMS is preparing to test electronic claims transmission using the new 5010 HIPAA standard -- a secure electronic format that all your software must use. This will impact your practice management software, your electronic health record (EHR) system if you have one, and your clearinghouse, if you use one.

Remember: All claims must be transmitted using the 5010 standard, rather than the current 4010 standard, starting Jan. 1, 2012. This change spans all health plans bound by HIPAA, which basically means you've got to comply not just for Medicare, but for private payers as well.

One piece of advice you've been getting from CMS and us is to call your vendor and make sure they're ready. Well, at least one vendor has a letter explaining their 5010 transition plans, which they sent to me last week. Here is what eClinicalWorks has to say about the transition. If you are using their software, this gives you a great idea of what to expect. If not -- their answers are the ones you want to get out of your vendor.

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