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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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CMS Finalizes Changes to Advance Innovation, Restore Focus on Patients

cms.gov- November 01,2018 CMS Finalizes Changes to Advance Innovation, Restore Focus on Patients Changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program will shift clinicians’ time from completing unnecessary paperwork to providing innovative, high-quality patient care. Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized bold proposals that address provider burnout and provide clinicians immediate relief from excessive paperwork tied to outdated billing practices. The final 2019 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and the Quality Payment Program (QPP) rule released today also modernizes Medicare payment policies to promote access to virtual care, saving Medicare beneficiaries time and money while improving their access to high-quality services, no matter where they live. It makes changes to ease health information exchange through improved interoperability and updates QPP measures to focus on those that are most meaningful to positive outcomes. Today’s rule also updates some policies under Medicare’s accountable care organization (ACO) program that streamline quality measures to reduce burden and encourage better health outcomes, although broader reforms to Medicare’s ACO program were proposed in a separate rule. This rule is projected to save clinicians $87 million in reduced administrative costs in 2019 and $843 million over the next decade. “The historic reforms CMS finalized today move us closer to a healthcare system that delivers better care for Americans at lower cost,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. “Among other advances, improving how CMS pays for drugs and for physician visits will help deliver on two HHS priorities: bringing down the cost of prescription drugs and creating a value-based healthcare system that empowers patients and providers.” “Today’s rule finalizes dramatic improvements for clinicians and patients and reflects extensive input from the medical community,” said [...]

UnitedHealthcare wins court case over Medicare Advantage overpayment rule

Healthcare Finance -Susan Morse Senior Editor - September 10, 2018 Ruling throws out 2014 rule, leading to question of how CMS will determine whether it has overpaid an MA insurer. UnitedHealthcare wins court case over Medicare Advantage overpayment rule Ruling throws out 2014 rule, leading to question of how CMS will determine whether it has overpaid an MA insurer. UnitedHealthcare has won its court case over the way the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calculates whether it has overpaid Medicare Advantage insurers. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday granted UnitedHealth's motion for summary judgement and vacated CMS's 2014 overpayment rule, leading to the question of how CMS will amend the rule to determine whether it has overpaid an MA insurer. CMS could also appeal the ruling. Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer said the 2014 overpayment rule was not equitable to Medicare and Medicare Advantage insurers, which is required by law. One of the issues for insurers is that the current way CMS calculates payment results in the false appearance of better health among Medicare Advantage enrollees compared to traditional Medicare participants, leading to systematic underpayments to MA insurers, according to the ruling. Judge Collyer said the current way CMS calculates payment subjects the insurers to a more searching form of scrutiny than CMS applies to its own enrollee data, resulting in a false appearance of better health among Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. Medicare pays hospitals based on the diagnosis related group, or DRG, at the time of patient discharge. Under Medicare Part B, physicians submit diagnosis codes, but payment depends on the services provided, and not on the way the diagnosis is submitted. In contrast, MA insurers are not paid based [...]

By |September 12th, 2018|Blog, Chiropractic, Doctor, doctor, doctor Credentialing, Medicaid, Medical Billing, Medical Coding, Medical Compliance, Medical Insurance, Medicare, Medicare, medicare claims, Obamacare, Physical Therapy, Physician Credentialing, Podiatrist|Comments Off on UnitedHealthcare wins court case over Medicare Advantage overpayment rule

Legal Compliance: One More Reason to Collect Patient Deductibles and Copays

WEBPT - By Tom Ambury - June 24, 2018 Collecting coinsurance, copays, and deductibles upfront is an important piece of the effort to accurately value the services we provide. And yet, we still hear about practices that routinely waive their patients’ deductibles and copays. Today, I’ll discuss another reason not to routinely waive deductibles and copays. In the past, I’ve written about collecting deductibles and copays when a patient presents with a federally funded insurance like Medicare. In cases involving the Department of Justice, the powers that be have stated very clearly that the practice of routinely waiving deductibles and copays can be a violation of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. But what about commercial insurances like BlueCross BlueShield, Aetna, and Cigna? That’s what I’ll chat about today. Why You Shouldn’t Waive Before I get into the compliance-related reasons to collect full payment for our services, let me say that to me, from a business standpoint—and with the knowledge that payments are continually being reduced as the cost of doing business keeps rising—it’s hard to imagine why a provider wouldn’t want to collect full payment for his or her services. Here’s an example I came up with to better explain my point: Let’s say you’re getting paid $75 per visit from a commercial insurance company, with $25 of that total coming from the patient’s copay and $50 from the insurance company. (These totals don’t necessarily reflect what’s happening in the real world; for illustration purposes, we’re staying in Tom’s World.) Wouldn’t you rather get paid $75 per visit versus waiving the copay and accepting only $50? Aren’t your services worth the full $75—if not more? And if the business reasons are not enough to sway you toward collecting [...]

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 [...]

Obamacare and Trumpcare Both Ignore This Massive Underlying Healthcare Issue

Lawmakers are so focused on ensuring people have access to health insurance that they've completely overlooked the root causes of medical care inflation. Sean Williams (TMFUltraLong)  Jul 8, 2017 at 6:49AM Who knew healthcare could be so complicated? Apparently not the president or Congress, as both are struggling to reach a consensus as to what to do with the future of healthcare in America. Obamacare: Should it stay or should it go? Obamacare, which is officially known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and was signed into law by Barack Obama in March 2010, has been controversial and mostly disliked since the start. However, it's been successful in reducing the number of people without insurance. The expansion of Medicaid in 31 states, the provision of subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans, and insurance mandates that require member acceptance, regardless of pre-existing conditions, have been crucial in pushing the uninsured rate down to around 9% from 16%, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, Obamacare has had its shortcomings. The Shared Responsibility Payment (SRP), which is the penalty consumers pay for not purchasing health insurance, has been far too low relative to the cost of buying an annual health plan, thus fewer young, healthy people have enrolled than expected. The risk corridor, which was a fund designed to provide money to insurers with excessive losses that had set their premiums too low, also sputtered due to insufficient funding. With little in the way of financial protections for insurers, many big names have significantly reduced their ACA plan coverage in 2017 and beyond. There are ways Obamacare can be fixed. These include adjusting the penalty on the SRP upward [...]

Five myths about health insurance…

Washington Post- By Alexis Pozen June 30, 2017 Alexis Pozen is a professor of Health Economics at CUNY School of Public Health and a co-author of the textbook "Navigating Health Insurance. It is no wonder so many myths about health insurance persist. The U.S. health insurance system is opaque and labyrinthine, and at times purposely so. The current debate over whether to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, comes down to whether consumers should subsidize services they never expect to use. But who pays for what, and how, is not straightforward. MYTH NO. 1 The ACA has forced millions to buy insurance they don’t want. House Speaker Paul Ryan deployed this myth when defending repeal — which the Congressional Budget Office estimated this past week would increase the number of uninsured people by 22 million by 2026. “It’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan,” Ryan said. “It’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.” That reasoning echoes the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who during a 2012 challenge to the ACA suggested that the law’s individual mandate started the federal government down a slippery slope. “Everybody has to buy food sooner or later,” he said. “Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.” And no one wants broccoli, right? But both before and after the ACA, most of the uninsured consistently have reported that they want insurance. In a 2009 Department of Health and Human Services report, 48 percent of uninsured people under age 65 said they didn’t have health insurance because of the cost, 38 percent cited life changes (they had lost their jobs, left school or changed their [...]

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Medical Records

Credentialing, Revalidation Services professionals at The Firm Services Crystal Lombardo- The Next Galaxy  The advancement of technology has changed the way the entire world functions. One big change that has happened has to do with the medical world. Electronic medical records, or EMR’s, are used in just about every single hospital and doctor’s office in the United States. Electronic medical record means that a patient’s paper chart, which is what contains all of their medical history, information on medical conditions, treatments, and other types of information, are all stored electronically. It has been a great asset to the medical community, but has brought some pretty hefty issues right along with it. Advantages of Electronic Medical Records 1. Instant Access is an Advantage EMR give medical professionals quick and simple access to all of the patient information that they may need in order to provide an accurate and speedy diagnosis. Much of the confusion, and bureaucratic characteristics of the medical world are eliminated with the use of electronic medical records. 2. Doctor’s Have Bad Handwriting It is no secret that the majority of doctors have pretty illegible penmanship. This has been a problem that has haunted the medical world for decades. Electronic medical records have solved this problem! Doctors no longer have to scribble notes that may not be able to be read, instead they type them into the electronic medical record database, so there is never anymore confusion about if that is an “r” or a “z”. 3. Record Keeping Has Been Cleaned Up Keeping a physical record for each patient can begin to take up a pretty intense amount of space. Boxes and boxes of records are filed in order to be [...]

Medicaid estimate renews cost concerns over Obamacare

Confused about Medicare / Medicaid issues? Ask the experts at The Firm Services Tribune news services Contact Reporter- August 12,2016 - 8:55 am The cost of expanding Medicaid to millions more low-income people is increasing faster than expected, the government says, raising questions about a vital part of President Barack Obama's health care law. The law called for the federal government to pay the entire cost of the Medicaid expansion from 2014 through the end of this year. Obama has proposed an extra incentive for states that have not yet expanded Medicaid: three years of full federal financing no matter when they start. But the new cost estimates could complicate things. In a recent report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the cost of expansion was $6,366 per person for 2015, about 49 percent higher than previously estimated. "We were told all along that the expansion population would be less costly," said health economist Brian Blase with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. "They are turning out to be far more expensive." Blase previously served as a GOP congressional aide. The new estimates could be a warning light for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who has promised that if elected president she would work to expand Medicaid in the remaining 19 states that have not done so. Higher costs would make it harder for a President Clinton to sell Obama's full-financing plan to Congress. Under the law, people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line — roughly $16,390 for an individual and $33,530 for a family of four — are eligible for Medicaid at little or no cost to them. An estimated 9 million to [...]

Who’s Gaming Obamacare? Better to Ask: Who Isn’t?

Need answers? Contact the experts at The Firm Services. Bloomberg View-AUG 8, 2016 4:44 PM EDT By Megan McArdle Last week, I outlined eight possible futures for Obamacare. By curious coincidence, few of them looked like the paradise of lower premiums and better care that the law’s supporters had promised. In the best case scenarios, they looked more like what critics had warned about -- "Medicaid for all," or fiscal disaster, or a slow-motion implosion of much of the market for private insurance as premiums soared and healthy middle-class people dropped out. What I did not explore was why we seem to have come to this pass -- which is to say, why insurers seem suddenly so leery of the exchanges and why premiums are going up so much for Obamacare policies. No one really seems to know exactly why insurers are having so much trouble in the exchanges. Insurers may know, but they have generally issued vague statements about “worse than expected experience.” The closest we’ve gotten to an assessment was a statement from a big insurer last year to the effect that people who were signing up outside of the normal enrollment period seemed to have higher-than-expected bills, while paying fewer than expected premiums. Which tells us something, but doesn’t necessarily explain double-digit premium increases. This weekend brought a new suggestion across my desk. At Forbes, Bruce Japsen writes that insurers think providers are funding nonprofits to pay Obamacare premiums for high-cost Medicaid patients, thus sticking insurers with a lot of big bills for a lot of very sick patients. Why would they do this, you may be asking yourself? Because Medicaid reimbursements are extremely low. If you have a patient who is [...]

Will the ICD-10 transition continue smoothly once CMS demands more specificity?

The Firm Services can help your office comply to ICD-10 February 22, 2016 | Carl Natale, Editor, ICD10Watch It's only a guess, but the ICD-10 transition doesn't look like it is taking down the U.S. healthcare system. So far, there are reports of minimal productivity drops and denial rate increases. But some reimbursement delays are being reported. It's not a perfect environment, but it doesn't appear to be a toxic one either. There's an argument to be made that close enough now counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and ICD-10 coding for Medicare. Since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) accepts codes from the correct ICD-10 family, some healthcare payers have followed suit. Reports suggest that as many as 25 percent of codes include the term unspecificied -- and that could be keeping denial rates in check. What's more, it's reducing pressure on healthcare providers to document a high degree of specificity. And they may be skipping some secondary diagnoses that don't affect reimbursement, according to Katherine Rushlau. Which would help physicians and medical coders keep records moving. There's a way to keep productivity up. (Or prevent it from sinking.) But is this going to work after Oct. 1, 2016? That's when CMS plans to require ICD-10 specificity. We don't know when private healthcare payers will want providers to get more specific. That's why Amy Sullivan, vice president of revenue cycle sales at PatientKeeper, is worried about more vigorous complaining and animosity when the specificity deadline approaches. The only way seen to prevent worse reimbursement problems is to improve clinical documentation that supports ICD-10 specificity and other healthcare payer initiatives that are coming. Questions about ICD-10 reimbursement? Physician Credentialing and Revalidation ? [...]