Saturday, October 31, 2009

My favorite American tradition.

Happy Halloween.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, October 08, 2009

How to document an encounter quickly with an EMR

Electronic medical records have many advantages over traditional pen and paper charts. Speed of documentation, however, is not one of them. I have been live now on my high end electronic health record for 6 months. My first encounter on the system took place in February 2009 and took me 45 minutes to document on the system. Obviously, I would need to improve upon that. Now I do things differently, more efficiently. Here is my work flow:
  1. Schedule patient, office staff gets some clinical information
  2. Appropriate clinical templates are pre-loaded by me or staff into notes prior to patient arrival
  3. I review the templates and pre-order labs, studies, and prescriptions as I see fit
  4. When patient arrives, I perform the encounter and do my doctoring
  5. I then determine if pre-ordered tests and prescriptions are still appropriate
  6. Finally I complete the documentation, sign note, and on to the next patient.

The entire process now takes under 5 minutes and is much less stressful.

When you get an EMR, you must change your work processes to adapt.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Are meetings worthwhile?

As reimbursements continue to decline for many of us and we are forced to remain in the office longer and longer to make up the lost income, our attendance in meetings has taken a back seat in importance. This is a shame and you may wish to re-think this cost-cutting strategy.

Meetings are very, very important. You'd be better off cutting out some othe expense.

Meetings allow attendees to re-charge their batteries and return to the office energized and more productive than ever. Only through meeting with colleagues face to face can doctors forge new relationships that are important for networking and business development. While we may be able to learn new techniques and advances in our field through online CME courses, we learn best in person where the dialogue is 2 way and we have access to non-verbal communication.

Meetings are not cheap. Flights, hotel, registration, and time away add up to thoudands of dollars. However, if you choose your meeting wisely, increased revenue will offet the costs many times over. All it takes is learning one new CPT code or one new modifier or a new profitable procedure and you will payed back in triplicate, at least.

I just think this is not an option for cost cutting.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wow, you can bill Medicare for waiting room magazines

From 2 posts on a listserve to which I subscribe:

" There are codes for magazine loss/replacement:
CPT: 9999a- replacement of magazine, identical issue
9999b- replacement of magazine, similar topic matter
J codes: 80% of magazine cost"

Also, since the governement is so interested in our education, here are some other codes you can use:

"Recent governmental efforts to encourage literacy among the poplus has lead to CMS's request for physician offices to voluntarily report, via PQRI, on appropriate utilization of magazines and reception area reading materials. Qualifying providers will be eligible for a 2% bonus of their annual CMS billings. These G-codes for PQRI measure 9999 are: G9990 - Educationally meaningful magazine provided at reception area G9991 - No educationally meaningful magazines provided at reception area G9992 - Some or all educationally meaningful magazines made available were lost due to theft or damage Eligible providers must successfully report on at least 80% of pts on Medicare seen in 2009 to qualify. The exact definition of educationally meaningful is still being debated, and won't be released until early December 2009."

I believe that most of this information came out on April 1st. I am not sure I recommended trying these codes just yet.

Hat tip to and Dr Ernie Sussman, famed urologist in Las Vegas. Hope you enjoyed.