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March - April 2011 •
Volume 16, Issue 2

Going BIG in Texas
Message from the President
By Jackie Willett, CHBME
I love the smell of freshly cut grass, barbeques, baseball games and all the other traditions that get us ready for our 'Texas' summer. Speaking of Texas, I am excited to welcome all of you to my 'home' state for our Spring Conference in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio is a wonderful city and I hope you have already registered to attend the Conference. Click for more

News from Around the World of HBMA
Billing Editors
Call for Nominations, You Can Make a Difference – Join the HBMA Board!; Stay in Touch! Are You Staying Current on Valuable Information Pertinent to the Billing Industry?; Wanted: Additional Members for the Publications Committee Click for more

Government Affairs
By Sherri Dumford, MBA, CHBME
Despite bone chilling weather across the country, ice storms, and knee-deep snow in January, HBMA was able to participate in some very important work with CMS on behalf of the membership. HBMA's Executive Director, Brad Lund, was onsite in Baltimore for the second PECOS Power User's meeting. Click for more

Sound Off!
Pros and Cons of Using Social Media
By Madelon Berger, MPH, MA, CCS-P, CPC, CHBME
Welcome to the newest feature article of HBMA Billing: Sound Off! We will periodically send the HBMA Membership a hot industry topic and will publish responses. Click for more

Spring 2011 Educational Conference Preview
Program Highlights
Featured Speakers at the Spring 2011 Conference
The 2011 HBMA Spring Conference will provide a plethora of information to billing companies, putting attendees on the cutting edge of our industry. Professional speakers will address key issues such as industry trends, information technology, EHR, payor contracts, ICD-10, employee performance, Washington updates and much more. Get a sneak preview from five of our speakers below. Click for more

The Smaller the Practice, the More Vulnerable to Fraud
How the Billing Service Can Help the Smaller Practice Introduce Checks and Balances and Best Practices
By Bill Stone and Kim Whitehurst
What kind of employee might embezzle from a practice? Some are good people motivated by a personal crisis. Others are those who just want to "beat the system" for personal gain. In today's economically challenged climate, a common motivator is a staff member who lives beyond his or her means or is dealing with personal debt or family bankruptcy. Click for more

The Year in Review
and a Look at What's to Come in 2011
By Ted Stack
I think we have seen this movie before. It seems as if the issues of the 1990s are returning; physician and hospital integration, at-risk provider reimbursement (capitation then, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) now), new technology threatening the viability of the industry, Medicare reimbursement pressure, industry consolidation, and the threat of a national healthcare system. Which changes are real and which ones do we simply need to wait out? What is different this time and what should companies that want to survive do to remain competitive in the coming years? Click for more

Did You Know?
Vendor Affiliate Advisory Committee Update
By Judy R. Cardenas, CHBME
A long, long time ago, when this association was called the International Billing Association (IBA), a group of individuals were gathered to operate as the Vendor Advisory Committee. The Committee consisted of a chairperson and two members. Their task was to seek feedback from members regarding conferences, including frequency, number of booths, pricing, and scheduling. The venue for an early tradeshow required capacity for 10 to 12 booths and the ratio of conference attendees to vendors was two to one. Click for more

Electronic Attachments
The Missing Element of the Claims Submission Process
By Kent LaRoque
There is no question that the healthcare industry is on its way to completely digitizing business processes. The EHR Stimulus Alliance is a joint effort by well-known IT vendors whose purpose is to educate physicians across the country on the benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Their efforts have resulted in a dramatic increase of healthcare providers who adopted EHR and began digitizing other business practices, such as e-prescribing. Click for more

The Costs and Implications of EHR System Downtime on Physician Practices
EHR Issues
By Mark R. Anderson, CPHIMS, FHIMSS
Government funding incentives (ARRA HITECH Act) to implement electronic health record systems (EHR) are driving most physicians towards the selection and implementation of EHR applications that are appropriate to their practice. However, even though the average practice takes more than 120 days to select their EHR solution, 87% of practices spend no time evaluating the service levels and uptime associated with these installations, instead leaving this important criterion in the hands of the software provide.. Click for more

Planning for Compliance in 2011
Compliance Issues
By Holly Louie, RN, CHBME
As we begin a new year, it's time to scan the horizon for opportunities and threats, reassess the compliance program we built, and make necessary course changes to ensure we have an effective compliance program. Compliance initiatives abound throughout the Federal programs. Warnings of current targets and things to come are published almost daily. This article summarizes a few of the issues we should be thoughtfully and carefully addressing in our organizations. Click for more

Annual Wellness Visit Makes Its Debut
Coding Corner
By Jackie Miller, RHIA, CCS-P, CPC, PCS
The Medicare program's slow expansion into preventive services took a giant leap forward with the new Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) benefit, established by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Until now, Medicare has covered only the Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE), also known as the "Welcome to Medicare" exam. This is a one-time benefit and has to occur during the patient's first 12 months of Medicare coverage. Although Medicare covers certain screening tests (such as mammograms) on an ongoing basis, there was previously no coverage for routine physical exams other than the IPPE. Click for more

Will It Be a Good Year or a Bad Year? The Choice is Yours
By Dave Jakielo, CHBME
If you didn't get the results you expected in 2010, you can blame the economy, the political climate or Aunt Millie's cat, but the truth of the matter is that they are just excuses. 2011 will only be better if you make it better. Sitting by and waiting for good things to happen is not a very effective strategy. Click for more

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