28 Mar RCM and Optometry Billing Services Are Critical During COVID-19
Continual cash flow and healthy accounts receivables are critical for your eye care practice during the unprecedented novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Now’s the time to look at your AR and aging bucket to prevent serious cash flow problems down the road.
Keeping up with revenue cycle management (RCM) and optometry billing solutions is putting strains on optometry and ophthalmology practices. Many practices have closed or reduced office hours based on the guidelines of the CDC, American Optometric Association, and American Academy of Ophthalmology.
With limited billing staff resources, many practices are struggling with managing denied and rejected claims, and filing new telehealth service claims. Researching unpaid or denied claims is a time-consuming process. The longer you wait to resubmit denied claims, the higher the odds are you won’t recover the maximum amount from the insurance payer. Or worse…you won’t get paid at all!
To help guide your eye care practice through the disruptive and stressful COVID-19 healthcare crisis, we’ve created a list of telehealth and COVID-19 resources, as well as benefits you can capitalize on when you outsource RCM and optometric billing.
Optometry Telemedicine Services Increase During COVID-19 Outbreak
Telehealth or telemedicine is becoming increasingly popular amid the COVID-19 health crisis, especially since Medicare will now reimburse providers for various non-face-to-face services.
Seema Verma, Administrator of CMS, reports that during the COVID-19 outbreak (beginning March 6, 2020), “Medicare beneficiaries across the nation, no matter where they live, will now be able to receive a wide range of services via telehealth without ever having to leave home.”
A Jobson Optical Research reports that more eye care providers are interested in using telehealth, such as for phone-based services and video/image consultations.
For example, EyecareLive’s HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solutions are well suited for eye care medical tele-exams, including Amsler grid test and recording visual acuity (patient downloads an App and uses a desktop computer or mobile phone). Also, check out Doxy.me, a free secure telemedicine solution that offers a personalized room URL.
A recent CMS telemedicine healthcare provider report says that HHS will “exercise enforcement discretion and waive penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients in good faith through everyday communications technologies, such as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom during the COVID-19 public health emergency.” However, CMS recommends you inform your patients that these third-party applications are not HIPAA-compliant.
Telemedicine and Telehealth Resources
- Congress Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries (CMS): During the COVID-19 outbreak, CMS will temporarily pay clinicians who provide telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries across the entire country.
- Telehealth Services Medicare Learning Network (CMS): Provides information about telehealth services, billing and payment, and helpful resources.
- Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet (CMS): Includes information on the expansion of the new telehealth 1135 waiver, and a summary of Medicare telemedicine services (includes HCPCS and CPT codes).
- Medicare Telehealth FAQs (CMS): Discusses payment requirements, services covered, how to bill, etc.
- Guide to Telehealth-based Care During COVID-19 (AOA): This guide assists optometrists who may need to use telehealth services, including state law impacts, Medicare changes, and billing and codes.
- Telehealth Resource Website (CMS): Download a list of services payable under the Medicare Physician Schedule.
Stay Updated with COVID-19 Public Health and State Resources
- HIPAA and COVID-19 (HHS.gov): HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides guidance regarding civil rights and how HIPPA’s privacy rule allows you to share patient information during COVID-19.
- State by State Regulations for Essential and Non-Essential Businesses: This Vision Council list includes links to each state government COVID-19 resource website.
- World Health Organization (WHO): See live press conferences, news releases, and the latest information about the outbreak.
- National Institute of Health: Get the latest public health information and what research is underway for COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Resources, guidance, and preventive safety actions for clinics and healthcare facilities during COVID-19.
- Coronavirus White House Task Force (CDC and FEMA): Alerts, FAQs, and resources for COVID-19.
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center: This interactive dashboard uses data from the CDC, WHO, and other organizations.
- Worldometer: This coronavirus reference website is run by an international team of developers and researchers.
Top Advantages When You Outsource Optometry Billing
Outsourcing optometry billing services allows you to delegate these tasks to a professional team, like Fast Pay Health by First Insight, who specializes in the nuances of the financial twists and turns that relate specifically to eye care. For example…
You have access to a billing team with uninterrupted service. Let’s say your practice is in a different time zone from insurance companies and clearinghouses you must contact regularly. That makes it even more challenging to manage your billing—leaving your staff frustrated with a problem that might take weeks or months to solve.
You lower accounts receivable and aged claims. Researching a single unpaid claim might take five minutes, but frequently it takes an hour. An optometry billing service like Fast Pay Health focuses on AR cleanup. They review outstanding balances and analyze unpaid claims, then carry out an action plan to recover the amount due, verify receipt of claims, and enter everything into your practice management system.
“Our practice has greatly benefited from partnering with Fast Pay Health, both financially and mentally. Partnering with them is one of the better decisions we’ve made in managing our practice” – Julie Honda, OD. Read Dr. Honda’s Story
Experience Positive ROI with an Optometry Billing Partner
There is nothing more important than the health of our clients and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. So our Fast Pay Health billing team can provide you with the best possible RCM and optometry billing services, all of our employees are working remotely to comply with social distancing.
Rest assured, our optometric billing consultants take patient health information (PHI) security and privacy seriously. We train and monitor our billing consultants continuously to make sure they are complying with current protected health information (PHI) and HIPAA rules.