Most dread the task of budgeting for the upcoming year. There is never enough money, and with the increase in regulations, it won’t change in the near future.
However, setting a budget and sticking to it is the most important step for ensuring financial viability. Regardless of the size of your practice, there are several areas in which physicians should invest.
1. ICD-10 Education
The best way to reduce loss of revenue in ICD-10 is to provide training for your staff. According to a report published by the AMA, the practice expenses related to training could go over $3,400 per coder. This estimate does not include travel expenses, material costs and time involved.
2. Compliance Plan
Practices that don’t have a large budget, often end up not developing a formal, written compliance plan. This puts them at risk for audits. If you don’t have enough money to hire a consultant, you can team up with physicians of similar size in your area and compile a list of vulnerabilities. After this, you can plan on addressing those vulnerabilities. Local hospitals are often willing to share their compliance plan. Use this to tailor your own plan and fit the needs. The OIG Work Plan, is another great resource on which practices can base their plans.
3. Meaningful use:
However labour intensive Meaningful Use seems, it is worth it for practices to attest to it. After 2014, eligible professionals will not be able to receive incentive payment on participation. Beginning 2015, eligible professionals who haven’t demonstrated meaningful use, will be liable to payment reduction.
4. Internal Audits
Implementing ICD-10 will mean that the physician practice would have to perform proactive audits regarding coding and documentation quality. The best way would be to work with a consultant. Some consultants also help make your practice more efficient, which will be important when ICD-10 is implemented as both coder and physician productivity are expected to decrease.
5. Certified Coders
Some practices hire non-certified coders. These coders do not have the formal training or credentials to perform the coding. This practice will soon become out-dated as physicians undergo billing and documentation scrutiny by external auditors. You can either invest in a certified coder or provide formal training to your existing staff.
6. Non-physician Practitioners:
With the increase in the number of patients due to the Affordable Care Act, investing in non-physician practitioner may be worthwhile.
Marketing the practice has its own benefits. You can use a website or social media to establish a brand and highlight your areas of expertise.