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The FIRM provides professional claims billing services for individual providers, clinics and facilities. We service all disciplines of practice, i.e., medical, dental, diagnostic testing, chiropractic, physical therapy, optometry/ophthalmology, mental health, chemical dependency, and durable medical equipment.

We offer specialty services such as consultation, collections and appeals, contracting and credentialing, verification and preauthorization and personal injury settlement negotiating. We offer form development and revision services, office reorganization and personnel training.

We have extensive experience in all areas of commercial insurance, Workers Compensation, personal injury, Third Party Administrators, Medicare, Medicaid, and other state and federally funded programs. We offer personalized services designed specifically to meet your needs.

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CVS-AETNA MERGER GETS NY APPROVAL, TO BE FINALIZED THIS WEEK

Health Leaders by BY JOHN COMMINS | NOVEMBER 26, 2018 The approval from New York comes with a boatload of conditions, including enhanced consumer and health insurance rate protections, privacy controls, cybersecurity compliance, and a $40 million commitment to support health insurance enrollment. KEY TAKEAWAYS CVS files notice with SEC stating that the merger will be finalized "on or about Nov. 28." Approval comes two weeks after California gave stipulation-laden approval. Feds approved the deal last month. The $69 billion deal has the potential to fundamentally change healthcare delivery. The megamerger of CVS Health Corp. and Aetna Inc. got the go-ahead Monday from New York state officials, clearing its last hurdle in a $69 billion deal that is expected to be finalized on Wednesday.The approval of New York's Department of Financial Services comes with a boatload of conditions, including enhanced consumer and health insurance rate protections, privacy controls, cybersecurity compliance, and a $40 million commitment to support health insurance education and enrollment and other consumer health protections, DFS said in a media release. "DFS listened to the concerns of the public and has obtained significant commitments from CVS and Aetna to address those concerns, ensuring that the companies hold to their promises of reduced costs and improved health care for New Yorkers, not pass on the costs of this acquisition to New Yorkers, enhance data privacy, and not act in an anti-competitive manner going forward," Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said. "DFS will use its full regulatory authority to ensure that the companies adhere to these robust commitments and that both CVS and Aetna are held accountable for promises made to New Yorkers," she said. The approval comes two weeks after the deal cleared another [...]

Humana, Kaiser Permanente top customer satisfaction index

HEALTHCAREDIVE- AUTHOR -Les Masterson- Nov. 13, 2018 Dive Brief: The health insurance industry is the least satisfying category in any sector, according to the latest report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). ASCI found that the health insurance industry's scores were flat after two years of gain. Overall, health insurers averaged a score of 73 out of a possible 100, which is the same as a year ago. Humana and Kaiser Permanente topped the survey with scores of 78. Both companies dropped by one point in 2018. Dive Insight: ASCI surveys people on the finance and insurance sector, including banks, credit unions, property and casualty insurance, life insurance, internet investment services, financial advisors and health insurance. For this year's survey, the group interviewed 25,555 customers between Oct. 2, 2017, and Sept. 26. Overall, customer satisfaction with the finance and insurance sector increased by 1.4% and reached its highest level in 24 years (78.3). "Health insurance is complicated and controversial, making it by far the most problematic and least satisfying category in the sector," David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI, said in a statement. Kaiser Permanente ranked No. 1 for fastest to process claims and the best prescription coverage. Humana was the leader in offering access to primary and specialty care. An interesting twist is that two companies in the middle of mergers both improved scores from 2017. Aetna increased from 74 to 75 and Cigna jumped from 66 to 73. Aetna ranked No. 1 for its mobile app. Cigna, which had the lowest marks a year ago, offered the lowest complaint rate in the industry, ACSI said. Overall, health insurance has improved access to primary care doctors (80). Access to specialty care remained at [...]

Medicare Advantage organizations overturned 75% of their denials, fed investigation shows

Beckers Hospital CFO Report- Written by Kelly Gooch | October 02, 2018 A recent investigation by the U.S. Office of Inspector General found between 2014 and 2016, Medicare Advantage organizations overturned 75 percent of their preauthorization and payment denials upon appeal. The OIG's report, released in September, found Medicare Advantage organizations overturned about 216,000 denials annually during the period. Investigators also found that independent reviewers overturned more denials at higher Medicare Advantage appeals levels. "The high number of overturned denials raises concerns that some Medicare Advantage beneficiaries and providers were initially denied services and payments that should have been provided," the agency wrote. "This is especially concerning because beneficiaries and providers rarely used the appeals process, which is designed to ensure access to care and payment.  During 2014-16, beneficiaries and providers appealed only 1 percent of denials to the first level of appeal." In addition to the numbers of overturned denials, persistent performance problems related to Medicare Advantage organizations were identified by CMS audits, according to the OIG. Investigators said one example is CMS citing 56 percent of audited contracts for making inappropriate denials in 2015. They said 45 percent of contracts were also cited for providing incomplete or incorrect information in denial letters. The OIG recommended CMS step up oversight of Medicare Advantage contracts, "including those with extremely high overturn rates and/or low appeal rates and take corrective action as appropriate" and offer beneficiaries easily accessible information about serious violations by Medicare Advantage organizations. CMS agreed with the recommendations. Questions about Medicare, private Medical Insurance and health insurance reimbursement? Physician Credentialing and Revalidation? or other changes in Medicare, Commercial Insurance, and Medicaid billing, credentialing and payments? Call the Firm Services at 512-243-6844

By |October 4th, 2018|Blog, Credentialing, Doctor, doctor, doctor Credentialing, Health Insurance, Healthcare Professionals, ICD-10, Medicaid, Medical Billing, Medical Coding, Medical Compliance, Medical Credentialing, Medical Insurance, Medicare, Medicare, medicare claims, Obamacare, Physician Credentialing|Comments Off on Medicare Advantage organizations overturned 75% of their denials, fed investigation shows

New Medicare Advantage tool will lower prices, but also limit choice

Benefits PRO - Susan Jaffe | September 19, 2018 at 11:07 AM Under the new rules, private Medicare insurance plans could require patients to try cheaper drugs before moving on to more expensive options. Starting next year, Medicare Advantage plans will be able to add restrictions on expensive, injectable drugs administered by doctors to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration and other serious diseases. Under the new rules, these private Medicare insurance plans could require patients to try cheaper drugs first. If those are not effective, then the patients could receive the more expensive medication prescribed by their doctors. Related: Government drug price disclosure confirms it: costs are soaring Insurers use such “step therapy” to control drug costs in the employer-based insurance market as well as in Medicare’s stand-alone Part D prescription drug benefit, which generally covers medicine purchased at retail pharmacies or through the mail. The new option allows Advantage plans — an alternative to traditional, government-run Medicare — to extend that cost-control strategy to these physician-administered drugs. In traditional Medicare, which covers 40 million older or disabled adults, those medications given by doctors are covered under Medicare Part B, which includes outpatient services, and step therapy is not allowed. About 20 million people have private Medicare Advantage policies, which include coverage for Part D and Part B medications. Some physicians and patient advocates are concerned that the pursuit of lower Part B drug prices could endanger very sick Medicare Advantage patients if they can’t be treated promptly with the medicine that was their doctor’s first choice. Critics of the new policy, part of the administration’s efforts to fulfill President Donald Trump’s promise to cut drug prices, say it lacks some crucial details, including how [...]

How Walmart Outflanks Amazon To Win Seniors In Medicare Advantage Plans

Forbes -Bruce Japsen- Contributor - Aug 21, 2018, 08:09 am Walmart is establishing closer ties with seniors covered by Medicare Advantage plans, an increasingly popular health plan choice for millions of U.S. seniors and where Amazon isn’t yet a player. The latest example of Walmart’s interest in the MA market came this week with the announcement of a program with Anthem, operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states. Effective in January 2019, Anthem’s Medicare Advantage plan enrollees can use the insurer’s “over-the-counter plan allowances” to buy OTC medications and personal healthcare items like “first aid supplies, support braces and pain relievers.” Medicare Advantage plans tend to offer cheaper medical care and related healthcare products than someone would pay a retailer or out-of-pocket. Seniors will also be inundated with information from the health plan about products and services from Walmart, which operates more than 4,700 stores and the walmart.com website. “For Walmart, the partnership extends its move upstream to influence where drugs and medical supplies are purchased,” L.E.K Consulting’s Andrew Kadar said of the retailer's program with Anthem. “Roughly 40% of OTC drugs are used by people older than 65 years of age (and) 35% of those seniors are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and another 42% have a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan.” The MA market is growing rapidly with more than 10,000 U.S. baby boomers turning 65 every day to become eligible for Medicare. And increasingly, at least one in three are picking an MA plan, analysts say.Currently, just under 35% of Medicare beneficiaries, or about 20 million Americans, are enrolled in MA plans . But MA enrollment is projected to rise to 38 million or 50% market penetration by [...]

CMS Proposes Site-Neutral Payments, Drug Price Negotiation

HealthPayer Intelligence- Thomas Beaton- July 26,2018 A proposed rule from CMS aims to expand the use of site-neutral payments, and drug price negotiation at the federal level, to reduce Medicare costs. CMS has proposed a rule that would expand the use of site-neutral payments and improve the drug price negotiation process with manufacturers in order to reduce Medicare’s overall spending. The new rule would allow Medicare to reimburse providers with site-neutral payments for clinic visits, such as check-ups. CMS explained that clinic visits contribute significantly to preventable spending, because many providers charge varying rates for clinic visits. By using site-neutral payments, CMS expects to control spending and reduce clinic costs for beneficiaries. The new payments would lower the cost of clinic visits from $116 with a $23 beneficiary copay down to $46 and a copay of $9. “If finalized, this proposal is projected to save patients about $150 million in lower copayments for clinic visits provided at an off-campus hospital outpatient department,” the agency said in a press release. “CMS is also proposing to close a potential loophole through which providers are billing patients more for visits in hospital outpatient departments when they create new service lines.” By 2019, CMS also expects to reduce hospital outpatient spending by $760 million through the use of site-neutral payments within the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System. CMS is adjusting provider payment rates within both programs to promote site neutrality between ASCs and hospital settings. The rule also contains a request for information (RFI) about how to improve the competitive acquisition program (CAP), so CMS can negotiate prescription drug prices with greater authority. CMS is seeking comments about how to innovate [...]

CMS Plugs Changes to E/M Coding

by Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today- July 18, 2018 Agency argues that streamlined billing codes will reduce physician burden WASHINGTON -- Administration officials sought to explain the nuts and bolts of proposed changes to evaluation and management (E/M) codes during an online panel discussion on Wednesday. Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed several major changes to the Medicare physician fee schedule that the agency believes will greatly reduce some of the paperwork burden physicians face each day. By making documentation less onerous, CMS says it's giving physicians more time to focus on their patients and to improve their health outcomes. "If we're serious about improving the quality and access for patients we have to address the concerns of providers on the front lines," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said during Wednesday's webcast. Under the current system of E/M billing, providers must choose between category levels 1-5. Level 1 is reserved for non-physician services and level 5 is reserved for the most complex patients. "The differences between levels 2 to 5 are often really difficult to discern and time-consuming to document," said Kate Goodrich, MD, CMS's chief medical officer. Physicians are required to justify the level they choose by performing certain tasks, for example reviewing a certain number of organ systems during their physical exam, for level 3 and a different number for level 5, she explained. Also, under current E/M codes, each physician has to redocument a patient's past medical history, family history and social history even if the same histories were already taken and recorded by a previous provider, or during a previous visit. Under the new proposed rule, the agency "collapsed" the codes between 2 and 5, Goodrich said. [...]

CMA News – Coding Corner : Modifier 59

California Medical Association News - Coding Corner: Modifier 59 -May 01, 2018 | Practice Management CPR’s “Coding Corner” focuses on coding, compliance, and documentation issues relating specifically to physician billing. This month’s tip comes from G. John Verhovshek, the managing editor for AAPC, a training and credentialing association for the business side of health care. Modifier 59 Distinct procedural service is an “unbundling modifier.” When properly applied, it allows you to separately report—and to be reimbursed for—two or more procedures that normally would not be billed or paid independently during the same provider/patient encounter. For example, per CPT Assistant (Jan. 2018): Code 20680 [Removal of implant; deep (eg, buried wire, pin, screw, metal band, nail, rod or plate)] describes a unit of service that is typically reported only once, provided the original injury is located at only one anatomic site, regardless of the number of screws, plates, or rods inserted, or the number of incisions required for removal. The removal of a single implant system or construct, which may require multiple incisions (eg, intramedullary [IM] nail and several locking screws) is reported only once with code 20680. Reporting code 20680 more than once is appropriate only when the hardware removal is performed for another fracture(s) in a different anatomical site(s) unrelated to the first fracture (eg, ankle hardware and wrist hardware). In these circumstances, modifier 59, Distinct Procedural Service, would be appended to subsequent uses of the implant removal code. CPT® and CCI Conditions to Append Modifier 59 As outlined in the CPT® codebook, the general conditions under which you might append modifier 59 include situations where two or more CPT® codes, not normally reported together, are performed at a: Different session Different procedure or surgery [...]

New Medicare Advantage rules hold big potential for pop health

Healthcare Dive- Meg Bryant- June 13, 2018 The push toward valued-based care and population health management has raised visibility around nonmedical conditions that impact health outcomes. Improving health outcomes using population health strategies could get a major boost with a new Medicare Advantage rule taking effect this week. Payers will now be able to work with companies like Uber or Lyft to provide transportation, for example, as part of a more complete set of benefits for the quickly growing MA population. CMS issued a final rule in May giving MA plans more flexibility in determining the types of supplemental benefits they can offer chronically ill enrollees, including nonmedical benefits. The new policy, part of a broad 2019 Medicare payment rule, means plans like UnitedHealthcare and Humana aren't harnessed to a set palette of supplemental benefits for members with chronic conditions, but can tailor them to the specific needs of individuals. The rule could see an array of new benefits aimed at improving health outcomes by addressing issues such as housing and food insecurity, transportation and social isolation. Potential benefits include ride-hailing services, home visits, nutritional support, air conditioners for people with asthma, home renovations like grab bars and other accommodations to prevent falls, and home health aides. Providers have praised the expansion of benefits. “We now have a funding stream effectively within Medicare Advantage around social services,” Don Crane, president and CEO of America’s Physician Groups (APG), told Healthcare Dive in an interview. He called the change a “necessary and appropriate step” in managing chronic diseases. The focus on social determinants of health and population health management is part of the broader shift to value-based care and reimbursement. Some providers, payers and employers already offer wellness and prevention programs or [...]

Medicare Advantage Change Could Lead To Payments Opportunities

PYMNTS - June 7, 2018 One of the latest changes to federal rules regarding non-medical home care services could provide more business opportunity to firms that serve that market and handle such backend tasks as billing and payroll. In April, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that Medicare Advantage would, for the first time, cover those services, through which caregivers help senior citizens in their homes. The decision allows that care to be treated as a supplemental benefit under Medicare Advantage programs. “CMS is expanding the definition of ‘primarily health related’,” the federal agency said. “Under the new definition, the agency will allow supplemental benefits if they compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.” According to the CMS, 35 percent of Medicare beneficiaries take part in Medicare Advantage, with experts predicting significant increases in the years to come. “Insurers and payors have been positioning themselves to better align with post-acute care services for years. As the focus also shifts toward the high-cost, high-needs, dual-eligible patient populations of people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, that has provided additional incentive to cover personal care services as well,” reported Home Health Care News. This is a significant deal for seniors, because they usually pay out of pocket for non-medical home care services, according to experts. And it could turn into a lucrative opportunity for companies active in this market, too. One such company, called Honor, partners with local home care agencies and other providers to manage such tasks as caregiver payroll, recruiting, scheduling, insurance and legal issues. In May, the company accounted a $50 million Series C funding round led by [...]