Friday, January 20, 2017

“But we’ve always done it that way!”

Don’t walk…run!

Probably the most dangerous phrase for an EMS system and especially an ambulance billing program is the phrase… “But we’ve always done it that way!”

“But we’ve always done it that way!”
In today’s world, if your EMS agency is going to be successful and remain insulated from big trouble make a point to delete this phrase from your lips, your colleague’s lips, your staff’s lips, you billing office’s lips and the overall culture of your organization.

Don’t walk…run!

Correct the situation now! Wipe the phrase and its remnants from every corner of your organization.

Why?

The “why?” of the damage that can be caused to your EMS agency by allowing this phrase to either overtly or covertly be the mantra that you base your energy on is far reaching.

First off, modern EMS has thrived on change. Since the advent of what we know today as modern EMS and its nearly five decade history, change has driven American EMS to grow exponentially. We have created, learned, made mistakes, learned some more, tweaked and re-created.

To even insinuate that we can continue to do the things we have “always done” continually is to deny the public we serve life-saving initiatives that we have learned from both our triumphs and mistakes, alike.

Because this is an EMS billing blog, we assert that there is no way we could ever continue to do things as they were even 5 years ago. Consider just some of the most recent changes.

ICD-10

This space heavily chronicles techniques for better Patient Care Report (PCR) preparation and documentation. We keep a collective eye on our clients and how they comply with the many rule and regulations.

Everyone reading this space must do the same.

There is no way that EMS providers can document EMS scenarios in the same manner that we have done before. When the new coding initiative swept in on October 1, 2015 is ushered in the need for a level of detail and specificity that heretofore was suggested but never really completely required. But, as we coach our billing clients here in our billing office we continually point out how documentation still falls short of reaching the goal of having the level of specificity we need to foster in today’s EMS.

If your billing office is going to accurately code the claims that are submitted to insurance payers, especially Medicare and Medicaid, the culture must change. Providers need to be pushed or pulled, as the case may be, kicking and screaming in some cases into the current trends.

Get It Right

Any biller who refuses to change their billing practices is holding your organization back.

Sure, maybe Jennie has been in your office forever. But, has she been able to keep up with the many changes? Have you enabled your office staff to take the necessary training and attend the important training sessions necessary to keep up with the many changes?

Maybe it’s time to outsource your billing to a reputable company that has Certified Ambulance Coders who can properly maintain your program and keep you out of an audit risk. Or, maybe the billing contractor you are using hasn’t kept up with the times and you’re noticing that the numbers are falling.

Experience is great. But experience that turns into stubbornness is detrimental.

Oh, you may get along for a while but sooner or later the audit letter will arrive, the claim denials will uptick and your balance sheet will be in jeopardy.

Providers… listen, follow and help lead change. Be willing to accept change by following the requests from your billing office, especially as change relates to your PCR documentation.

Celebrate Change

It’s time to celebrate change. Promote change. Force change.

Choose staff, be they in-house or outsourced, for your billing office who are open to learning new things. Hire, promote and appoint people or organizations that you find are willing to adjust their processes to meet new demands- be it the pressures of the economy, the effects of higher insurance deductibles or the demands of changing regulations.

You must keep up because the lives of the people you serve are too important if you get it wrong. Work with a billing office that can provide you with reports that monitor the progress of your program. Be certain that adjustments and changes are being made- not just to change but change that is calculated to keep you compliant and your billing program efficient and viable.

We ask our clients to work together with us to embrace change. Ask your billing office to embrace change or call someone who will work with you. There’s just no other way.

And…lose that dreaded phrase. Today!

The Ambulance Billing Services blog is brought to you as an educational tool by Enhanced Management Services, Inc. Enhanced Management Services, Inc. is an all-EMS third-party billing contractor serving Fire/EMS agencies across the United States. To learn more about who we are and what we do, please visit our website at www.enhancedms.com and click on the “Get Started” button on any landing page.

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