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Summary of Services

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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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 [...]

Cigna revenue boosted by commercial growth, now eyes Medicare Advantage

HealthcareDive- AUTHOR -Les Masterson- PUBLISHED- Nov. 1, 2018 Dive Brief: Cigna announced Thursday its revenue increased by 9% to $11.5 billion in the third quarter and credited growth in its global healthcare and supplemental benefits segments. The Bloomfield, Connecticut-based payer's adjusted income from operations increased to $945 million from $716 million a year ago. The payer finished the quarter with nearly 16.3 million medical customers, mostly commercial members. Unlike other payers that have focused more on government health plans, Cigna has only 485,000 members in government plans but is looking at Medicare Advantage as a future growth opportunity. Dive Insight: Cigna continues to grow organically in commercial plans, differing from other payers that are expanding government plans like as Medicare Advantage and Medicaid in the quarter. One reason for Cigna's focus on commercial plans is that CMS barred the payer from the MA market for more than a year. Cigna returned to the the market last year, but missed out on some of the growth other payers have enjoyed in MA. Despite Cigna being behind other payers in MA, the company's CEO David Cordani said the payer still views the plans as an "attractive growth opportunity." Cordani added that Cigna is adding a new market in MA next year and expects a larger expansion in the area in 2020. Cigna said its third quarter revenue increase came from commercial customer growth, expanded specialty relationships and premium increases. Premiums increased from $8.1 million in Q3 2017 to almost $9 million in Q3 2018. For the year, Cigna has picked up about $3 million more in premium revenue compared to 2017. The payer finished the quarter with $27 million in premium revenue for 2018. Cigna has seen membership growth over [...]

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 [...]

Come out and hear our owner Tia Aspra speak at 11th edition of Larry Laurent’s Chiropractic Law Seminar

Come out and hear our owner Tia Aspra speak at 11th edition of Larry Laurent’s Chiropractic Law Seminar series on Saturday, September 8, 2018. This fall’s event will be held in Austin, at the Granduca Hotel – 320 South Capital of Texas Hwy, Bldg B, Austin, Texas, 78746 from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 5:30 p.m. Ms. Tia Aspra of Financial Investigation & Reimbursement Management and Ms. Kathy Jones of NACA - Texas, will be providing tips on risk management, coding, credentialing, documentation and office compliance practices to ensure that your new practice complies with all state and federal laws, as well as our Board’s regulatory programs. This Chiropractic Law seminar has been approved for 8 hours of CE credit, including the 4 hours of Ethics, Documentation and Jurisprudence required by the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners. We have kept the cost low - $198.00 for doctors, $79.00 for staff accompanying a doctor and $98 for CA/staff attending without a doctor. You will have the opportunity to obtain thousands of dollars worth of free legal information, consulting services and information on office procedures for a very low registration fee. To register give Larry Laurent a call at (512) 996-8844 or send an email to (larry@larrylaurent.com) if you have any questions. We hope to see you in Austin on Saturday, September 8, 2018.

By |September 4th, 2018|Chiropractic, doctor, doctor Credentialing, Health Insurance, Healthcare Changes, Healthcare Professionals, Medical, Medical Billing, Medical Coding, Medical Compliance, Medical Credentialing, Medical Insurance, Medicare, medicare claims, Multi-Specialty, Obamacare, Physician Credentialing, Specialties, Staff Training|Comments Off on Come out and hear our owner Tia Aspra speak at 11th edition of Larry Laurent’s Chiropractic Law Seminar

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 is allowing Medicare Advantage plans to cross negotiate Part B and D drug prices

Healthcare Finance - Susan Morse, Senior Editor - August 07, 2018 Starting in 2019, insurers may use step therapy to choose the least expensive drug first before moving on to another prescription. For the first time, Medicare Advantage plans that also offer a Part D benefit have the option of cross negotiating for Part B drugs to get the lowest price, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told MA organizations in a memo that went out today. Until now, Part B outpatient drugs and Medicare Part D drugs usually picked up at the pharmacy, have been kept separate. Part B drugs often have a competitor in Part D, but plans were not allowed to choose, according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Starting in 2019, MA plans that also offer a Part D benefit will be able to cross manage across B and D. In this way, competition is increased for the lower price, Verma said. It might help plans negotiate better discounts and direct patients to high value medications, she said. Part B drugs constitute around $12 billion per year in spending by plans. "As a result of the agency's action today, the Medicare Advantage plans that choose to offer this option will be able to have medicines in Part B compete on a level playing field with those in Part D," CMS said. The new guidance also allows plans to use step therapy, a practice banned in 2012. Step therapy gives the private sector MA plans the option of offering patients a preferred therapy first before moving on to another drug. It is a type of preauthorization for drugs that begins with the most preferred - which is often the least expensive therapy - [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]