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November - December 2012 •
Volume 17, Issue 6

President's Message
By Don Rodden, CPA, CHBME
As I draft my last President's Letter, I find myself amazed. I "thought" that the reason I committed to serve in HBMA's leadership was to give back. In fact, it was my primary original motivation. HBMA has meant so much to my company and me that I sincerely desired to contribute in kind. Click for more

Spotlight On: Brad Lund
HBMA Profiles
By Billing Editors
The executive director of HBMA is its chief staff officer and is responsible for the association's operations, reporting directly to the HBMA Board of Directors. Click for more

Sound Off!
Pros and Cons of Hiring Family Members
By Billing Editors
PROS: They seem to be more dependable. Not only is peer pressure applied to comply, but family pressure is also. This system really works for us. We are a family oriented company.... Click for more

Cloud Computing
A Contrarian View of the Inevitable
By Robert Liles, Esq.
Over the last few years, we have carefully monitored the growth of both overseas outsourcing of coding and billing functions and the ongoing growth of "cloud computing." Both of these developments have worried the healthcare lawyers in our firm. Generally, cloud computing involves the use of offsite servers maintained by a third-party to store and access information. Health care providers of all sizes are moving their sensitive data to the proverbial "cloud" in record numbers in an effort to both improve access and reduce costs. Click for more

Conducting Business in the Cloud
Best Practices to Ensure that Your Data Is Safe
By Chris Seib
Today, consumers and businesses in all industries are transitioning their data to the cloud, from music and pictures to mission critical data. The cloud is not just being used for data storage and retrieval; it also supports business functions like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), accounting, processing functions, and cash flow. These business functions, especially cash flow, are essential to billing services. Click for more

Don't Let an IT Project Crash Your Client's Practice
Useful Tips for Negotiating Your Next Technology Vendor Agreement
By Bruce Armon, Esq. and Evan J. Foster, Esq.
Physicians and medical practices are at the vortex of the electronic healthcare delivery system. Droids, tablets, smart phones, and other devices are changing the way society generally – and health care practitioners specifically – gather, store, and transmit useful (and sometimes not-so-useful) information. Click for more

Retaining Independence While Embracing Accountability
Published with permission of the American Medical Association (AMA)
Care Coordination and Integration Strategies for Small Physician Practices (Part 1)
Physicians throughout the country are trying to figure out the best way to achieve their professional goals in the changing healthcare delivery system. Physician payments are increasingly being structured in a way that incentivizes quality and cost effectiveness over volume, and many of these changes place physicians at financial risk. Click for more

MS Outlook is Much More Than an Endless In-Box!
Critical Habits of Time Management, Productivity, and Personal Organization Using MS Outlook
By Eddie Williams, MBA
Microsoft Outlook™ is a wonderful tool to keep track of email, calendars, tasks, contacts, and many other helpful pieces of information. Yet, most people have inboxes overflowing with email, which can often take hours to sort through – if we have the time! Many people struggle using Outlook because it becomes a gigantic vertical list with dozens, maybe hundreds, of items on it. Click for more

Six Months Later, and We Still Have Questions
By Shelly Guffey and Dawn Duchek
It has been approximately six months since the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a delay to the ICD-10 implementation deadline, and the industry has finally heard the final ruling. At this point, pushing back the ICD-10 compliance date by a full year to October 1, 2014, means that you have just under two years to get your client practices ready. We cannot say it enough: holding off on your preparations and waiting until the last minute will put your organization in jeopardy. Click for more

Patient Payment at Point of Care – It's Possible!
The American Medical Association's "Heal the Claims Process" campaign shows you how
Published with permission of the American Medical Association (AMA)
Do you want to increase your revenue by receiving payment from patients before they walk out the door? It is possible – and the American Medical Association's (AMA) "Heal the Claims Process"™ campaign will walk you through this process. November marks the AMA's "Heal That Claim"™ month. This year's campaign focuses on helping physician practices stay financially sound by using insurance eligibility information to estimate the costs of services and receive payments from patients at the point of care... Click for more

Branding in the Digital World
Feature Story
By Marc Oestrich
"Branding" is one of those pesky words in business that means something different to everyone in a company. A brand manager (author's note: I am one of those) is quick to tell you the importance of branding and the breadth of services that ought to fall in its bailiwick: sales training, mission crafting, web strategy, new employee guidebooks, and so on. Click for more

Clean Claims Task Force
What's in a Name?
By Marilyn Rissmiller, Co-chair, Colorado Medical Cleans Claims Task Force
Colorado initiative to relieve administrative burdens, improve transparency, and save millions in healthcare costs has been operating under the radar for over 18 months… at least until now. Colorado's governor signed the Medical Clean Claims Transparency and Uniformity Act, informally referred to as the Colorado Clean Claims Initiative, into law in May 2010. Click for more

Section 408 Trusts – The Tax Shelter Every Business Owner Should Use
By Lee R. Phillips, Esq.
How to Pass It On to Your Heirs
Every small business owner should use one tax shelter every year. It may mean the difference between retiring comfortably and not retiring at all: a Section 408 trust. A Section 408 trust gives you the ability to earn money, avoid paying tax on it today, transfer it into a savings plan where it grows without a tax, invest it basically anywhere you want, and then only pay the tax when you spend the money years down the road. That is a big deal. Click for more

Finding What You Need in the Medicare Manuals
Coding Corner
By Jackie Miller, RHIA, CCS-P, CPC, PCS
Have you ever tried to search the CMS website for some piece of official guidance that you recall seeing but can't remember where? It can be a frustrating experience. The sheer volume of information on the website is so overwhelming that a search often yields hundreds of results. If the particular piece of information you are looking for is not in the top ten hits, you are probably not going to find it. Click for more

The Lowdown on Locum Tenens
Know When and How to Bill for a Substitute Physician
By John R. Outlaw, CHC, CHBME
In its Compliance Program Guidance for Third Party Medical Billing Companies, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) identified a specific list of particular risk areas that billing companies should address. The OIG went on to characterize them as a "compilation of several years of OIG audits, investigations, and evaluations and should provide a solid starting point for a company's initial effort." Included among this list of risk areas is the "knowing misuse of provider identification numbers which results in improper billing." Click for more

Conditional Formatting
By Nate Moore, CPA, MBA, CMPE
Conditional formatting is a powerful tool built into Excel that allows you to automatically format cells based on their contents. Use conditional formatting to highlight all of the cells greater than 100, all of the cells with dates in the past week, or all cells in the top 20% of a range of cells. Click for more

Strategic Implications of Stage 2 of Meaningful Use
EHR Issues
By Ron Sterling
Towards the end of August 2012, the final Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) rule was released. The final rule establishes a number of standards that will affect your physician clients and the technologies they will need to operate in the evolving healthcare environment. Click for more

How to Market Your Medical Billing Services, Part 3
From the Road
By Dave Jakielo, CHBME
In the last issue of Billing, I shared with you 15 more sales and marketing strategies that will help you grow your company. Here are the last of the 45 proven ideas. If you missed the first 30 ideas, simply review the last two issues of Billing. Click for more

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