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Role of an Insurance Billing SpecialistChapter 1 Role of an Insurance Billing Specialist Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Background Medical insurance professionals deal with all aspects of claim submission Two main billing types Facility billing Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, etc. Professional billing Physicians or Other Practitioner Types (NPP) A physician relies on professionals to handle billing, transmission, and follow-up on claims. Facility billing is done for hospitals, acute care hospitals, skilled nursing or long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, or ambulatory surgery centers. Professional billing is done for physicians or non-physician practitioners. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Non-Physician ProvidersProvider who has not obtained a medical degree (some have prescription privileges, but most do not) Should have their own provider number for claim submission (NPI) Physician referrals to an NPP must be documented in the patient record (preferably by both physicians; the one making the referral and the one seeing the patient) Examples of an NPP: physician assistant, nurse practitioner, advanced registered nurse practitioner, certified nurse anesthetist, physical therapist, speech therapist, licensed clinical social worker, certified registered nurse practitioner NPPs are also called physician extenders. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Payment Schedules Payment schedules are based on payer typeManaged care Worker’s compensation Medicare Under Medicare, physicians are paid based on relative value units (RVUs) Payment schedules set the amount that a provider or facility can be paid for a service. Each payer has a specific payment schedule. Medicare’s RVU system is based on: 1) the cost (overhead) of delivering care, 2) malpractice insurance, 3) the physician’s work. This system is maintained by CMS. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Office Procedures Procedures performed during the workday in a medical office or facility Scheduling appointments Registering patients Documenting encounters Entering charges Filing information Bookkeeping/accounting Knowing the basic set-up of the medical office or facility will help you to understand how the entire organization functions and how all parts relate to reimbursement. Understanding the flow of information is vital. A medical assistant or insurance specialist may be asked to help with all office procedures. See pp. 4-5 in the textbook for more information on each area. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Role of the Insurance Billing SpecialistSeveral job titles associated with medical billing Billing specialist Electronic claims processor Medical biller Reimbursement specialist Medical billing representative Senior billing representative Specific job titles may depend on the region of the U.S. Billing department may have many employees that share responsibilities for billing, making positions more specialized. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Other Positions Multiskilled Health Practitioners (MSHPs)Cross-trained to provide more than one function in a medical office setting Claims Assistance Professionals (CAPs) Help patients organize, file, and negotiate health insurance claims of all types MSHPs may have knowledge of claim completion AND coding, to provide more flexibility to the healthcare provider. CAPs can explain provider policies and assist patients in obtaining maximum benefits and explain provider policies. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Job Responsibilities Job descriptions will vary for each position in a medical office. Administrative professionals may be responsible for claims processing, collection of payments, and communicating policies to patients. See Fig. 1-1 (pp. 6-7) and Fig. 1-2 (pp. 8-9) for sample job descriptions. Most medical providers will submit claims on behalf of the patient, regardless of insurance plan. Claims should not be “rushed out the door” because there could be errors. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Also, see Job Descriptions for Insurance Billing Specialist and Electronic Claims Processor on pages 6 thru 9 in Text Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
However, every medical office can be set up differentlyHowever, every medical office can be set up differently ! As set ups differ, job descriptions will differ. Make sure you find out what YOUR job will be ! Also, hospital outpatient jobs can often be more specialized than doctors’ offices. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Medical Insurance Specialist Certificate Program ContentsMedical Terminology Administrative Medical Office Management Anatomy and Physiology Keyboarding Fig. 1-4, p. 12 Completion of an insurance specialist certificate program at a community college is suggested to obtain a position as a medical insurance specialist. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Medical Insurance Specialist Certificate Program Contents (cont.)Principles and Applications of Medical Insurance Current Issues of Medical Insurance Medical Financial Management Word Processing Courses may be titled or organized differently at different schools, but the topics are usually the same. Official certification is available from professional organizations. More is discussed in Chapter 18. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Career Advantages Self-Employment or Independent ContractingFlexible Hours Disabled Workers Rehabilitation Act ensures access to information technology Jobs are available in a wide variety of areas (ex., consulting firms, clinics, hospitals) Being self-employed will mean more responsibility but could provide more flexibility. Positions can be part time or full time, depending on the need. Positions in this industry may appeal to a physically disabled person, depending on the job functions. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Skills Medical terminology and abbreviations, anatomy, physiology, disease, and treatment terms ICD-9, CPT & HCPCS Coding Reading skills Basic mathematics Medicolegal rules and regulations of various insurance programs Each skill is vital to the field of insurance billing. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Skills (cont.) Typing/keyboarding and computer skillsProficiency in accessing information through the Internet Billing and collection techniques Expertise in legalities of collection of accounts Ability to generate claims with speed and accuracy Explain why speed and accuracy are important if you develop your own business as a medical claims and billing specialist. (The faster you become, the more money you earn. Therefore, accuracy in selecting the correct codes and speed in completing claims become marketable skills.) In addition to these skills, personal image and behavior is important. Make sure to discuss the dress code with your supervisor and be courteous to co-workers and patients. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Medical Etiquette/Medical EthicsMedical etiquette: how medical professionals conduct themselves Medical ethics: standards of conduct generally accepted as moral guides for behavior Ethics and etiquette are NOT the same. Etiquette is courtesy or “consideration for others,” while ethics are set standards of conduct that need to be followed. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
AMA Principles of Medical EthicsPhysicians should be dedicated to providing competent medical service. Physicians should deal with patients and colleagues with honesty and dignity and will expose any colleagues who engage in fraud or deception. A physician shall respect the law as it relates to the practice of medicine. Are the Principles of Medical Ethics adopted by the American Medical Association (AMA) laws? (No, they are standards of conduct that define the essentials of honorable behavior for the physician.) It is the coder’s responsibility to inform administration or an immediate supervisor if unethical or possibly illegal coding practices are taking place. Box 1.1, p. 16 Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
AMA Principles of Medical Ethics (cont.)A physician shall respect the rights of patients within the constraints of the law. A physician will keep up with the latest findings and medical advances to continue to provide the best possible care to patients. Except in emergency situations, a physician is free to choose where and to whom he or she will provide medical services. A physician will participate in the promotion of community good will. Box 1.1, p. 16. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Employer Liability Physicians are legally responsible for staff actions “vicarious liability” or “respondeat superior” Actions of the insurance biller may have legal ramifications on the employer Physicians are legally responsible for their own conduct and any action of their employees performed within the context of their employment. “Respondeat superior” means “let the master answer.” Insurance billers should check about coverage under the physician’s malpractice insurance. If not, they may be personally liable. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Employee Liability Billers and coders can be held personally responsible for billing errors “Errors and omissions” insurance is protection for errors or unintentional omissions Correct any errors and document in writing If you are involved in any part of claim submission, you can be held responsible if there are errors. “Errors and omissions” insurance may be necessary if the biller/coder is personally liable. Coders/billers MUST correct errors and document actions in writing. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Scope of Practice CAP: Claims assistance professionalInformal representative of patients Assists in obtaining reimbursement Legal ability is limited May need license Certain states require CAPs to be licensed. Even with a license, a CAP is NOT a lawyer. Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals (ACAP) represents CAPs and can help with questions about licensing, liability, and insurance. Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
Future Challenges Know billing regulations for all payersKnow compliance rules and regulations State rules about patient treatment and referrals Be proficient in computer skills Learn electronic billing software for each payer Develop diagnostic and procedure coding expertise Know how to interpret insurance documents Attain bookkeeping skills to manage patient/practice accounts Stay up-to-date with industry news Cross-train in areas of practice mgmt. Strive toward becoming certified and seek continuing education Each item will make you a better insurance biller! Elsevier items and derived items © 2010, 2008 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
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