Video: Maximize Patient Statements to Get Paid Faster

Lea Chatham September 29th, 2016

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Patient collections is a growing concern for many practices as patient due amounts now make up 30% or more of A/R. Learn how to maximize patient statements to collect more and get paid faster in this short video with Lea Chatham. Tweet this Kareo story

For more tips, download this helpful guide, 5 Steps to Perfect Patient Collections.

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Getting Paid Becoming New Go Practice Blog

Lea Chatham September 28th, 2016

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On Friday, September 30, the Getting Paid blog from Kareo will become the new and improved Go Practice blog. The new name comes with a new look and feel and many interactive features to enhance your experience. We are looking forward to sharing this new site with you in just a couple of days. Here is a preview of Go Practice:


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Important ICD-10 Specialty Changes Coming as Code Freeze Ends

Lea Chatham September 27th, 2016

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ICD-10 ResourcesBy Lisa A. Eramo 

October 1, 2016 is an important date in the world of coding, and ICD-10 in particular. And because of that, this date is also important in terms of physician reimbursement. That’s because it’s date on which the first official ICD-10-CM/PCS code update takes effect. Up until now, the industry has been under a partial code freeze that allowed only limited changes to accommodate certain new technologies and diagnoses. With this latest update, there are 1,974 code additions, 311 deletions, and 425 revisions, and physicians must ensure that their practices are ready.

“We’re used to code changes every year, and the volume always varies,” says Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CENTC, CGSC, COBGC, CPEDC, CRC, vice president of strategic development at AAPC. “We expected this one to be pretty large just based on the proposals.”

Buckholtz says many of the changes—which are spread out across all specialties—not only add laterality, but they also expand clinical and anatomical specificity. In this article, she provides several important specialty-specific changes of which physicians must be aware. Tweet this Kareo story

Primary care
Many of the new codes for 2017 affect primary care. Most notably, there is a new code for the Zika virus (A92.5). Also review these changes:

Unspecified sensorineural hearing loss (H90.5) has been replaced by the following more specific codes:

  • H90.A21 (Sensorineural hearing loss, unilateral, right ear, with restricted hearing on the contralateral side)
  • H90.A22 (Sensorineural hearing loss, unilateral, left ear, with restricted hearing on the contralateral side)

Conductive hearing loss, unspecified (H90.2) now includes more specificity related to laterality and the contralateral side as follows:

  • H90.A11 (Conductive hearing loss, unilateral, right ear with restricted hearing on the contralateral side)
  • H90.A12 (Conductive hearing loss, unilateral, left ear with restricted hearing on the contralateral side)
  • H90.A21 (Sensorineural hearing loss, unilateral, right ear, with restricted hearing on the contralateral side)
  • H90.A22 (Sensorineural hearing loss, unilateral, left ear, with restricted hearing on the contralateral side)

Codes for tinnitus (H93.11-H93.19) now specify pulsatile tinnitus.

Mental health
Other eating disorders (F50.8) now includes the more specific binge eating disorder (F50.81). In addition, there are new codes for hoarding disorder (F42.3), various obsessive-compulsive disorders, and social pragmatic communication disorder (F80.82). 

This is another specialty that saw many changes. For example, other ovarian cysts (N83.29) has been expanded to include laterality as follows:

  • N83.291 (Other ovarian cyst, right side)
  • N83.292 (Other ovarian cyst, left side)
  • N83.299 (Other ovarian cyst, unspecified side)

Abdominal pregnancy (O00.0) now includes a more specific code to denote with intrauterine pregnancy (O00.01).

Newborn light for gestational age (P05.0x) now includes a 10th sub-classification to denote 2,500 grams and over (P05.09).

In addition, there are new codes to denote ectopic pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, severe pre-eclampsia, eclampsia complicating childbirth and puerperium, gestational edema, gestational diabetes controlled by oral medications, and partial or low-lying placenta previa.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus with ophthalmic complications (E10.3xx) now includes many revised codes that indicate laterality (i.e., left, right, or bilateral). For example, E10.3493 denotes type 1 diabetes mellitus with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema, bilateral. Review these codes carefully to ensure compliance. And don’t forget to document laterality at all times.

Many of these codes are expanded to include greater anatomical specificity. Consider the following:

Malignant neoplasm of connective and soft tissue of abdomen (C49.4) has been expanded into the following:

  • C49.A3 (gastrointestinal stromal tumor of small intestine)
  • C49.A4 (gastrointestinal stromal tumor of large intestine)
  • C49.A5 (gastrointestinal stromal tumor of rectum)

Neoplasm of unspecified behavior or other genitourinary organs (D49.5) has been expanded to include the following:

  • D49.511 (Neoplasm of unspecified behavior of right kidney)
  • D49.512 (Neoplasm of unspecified behavior of left kidney)
  • D49.519 (Neoplasm of unspecified behavior of unspecified kidney)

Laterality is now included in various codes. Consider the following:

  • Cerebral infarction due to embolism of right or left carotid arteries (I63.131 and I63.132 respectively) now includes a third option for bilateral (I63.133).
  • Cerebral infarction due to unspecified occlusion or stenosis of right or left vertebral arteries (I63.211 and I63.212 respectively) now includes a third option for bilateral (I63.213).
  • Cerebral infarction due to unspecified occlusion or stenosis of right or left carotid arteries (I63.231 and I63.232 respectively) now includes a third option for bilateral (I63.233).

There are many new codes in this specialty. For example, displacement of other urinary devices and implants (T83.12xx) now includes a code for displacement of other urinary stents (T83.123). Physicians must specify whether this is an initial, subsequent, or sequela encounter.

In addition, there are new codes for specific urinary incontinence conditions, various prostatic dysplasia, testicular and scrotal pain, erectile dysfunction, ovarian cysts, conditions of the fallopian tubes, and complications of the urinary tract.

Greater specificity is now included in other vascular disorders of the intestine (K55.8). This code has been expanded into the following:

  • K55.31 (Stage 1 necrotizing enterocolitis)
  • K55.32 (Stage 2 necrotizing enterocolitis)
  • K55.33 (Stage 3 necrotizing enterocolitis)

Carpal tunnel syndrome of the upper limb (G56.01 and G56.02) now includes a code that denotes bilateral (G56.03). Other code changes pertain to tarsal tunnel disorder and various lesions of specific nerves.

Be on the lookout for added laterality. In addition, there are expanded codes for a foot bunion (M21.611-M21.619), bunionette of the foot (M21.621-M21.629), joint pain in the hand (M25.541-M25.549), temporomandibular joint disorder (M26.601-M26.609), cervical disc disorder at specific levels of the spine (M50.020-M50.123), peri-prosthetic fractures (M97.01XA-M97.21XA), and complete transverse atypical femoral fracture (M84.754x-M84.756x). There are also a significant number of additions regarding specific fractures to the bones of the skull and foot.

Tips to Ensure ICD-10 Compliance
The codes listed above are by no means a comprehensive list. To prepare most fully, consider these tips:

  1. Review all of the new, revised, and deleted codes that potentially affect specialty, noting any important changes—especially laterality.
  2. Ensure that your documentation reflects the added specificity required for compliant code assignment.
  3. Work with your EMR vendor to ensure that all code updates will be completed by October 1, 2016.
  4. Review the FY 2017 ICD-10-CM Official Coding Guidelines, and be sure that coders review them as well.
  5. Encourage coders to attend training on the new code sets so they can assist with documentation improvement and coding compliance.

Check out the Kareo ICD-10 Resource Center for more information on how to be successful with ICD-10.

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Set Up an Instagram Account for Your Medical Practice

Lea Chatham September 20th, 2016

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Social media channels can provide you with a powerful tool to connect to your patients, build loyalty, and grow your medical practice. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ are vital channels to increase patient engagement but there is one more social media powerhouse that you should consider for your practice, Instagram.

Instagram is arguably the most visual of all of the social media options you can utilize to reach out to both existing and potential patients. This channel is based on posting photographs and videos with captions and using hashtags to tag them, allowing visitors to more easily find your content. Because visual content works so well in social media, Instagram has grown exponentially. In fact, it hit 150 million active users faster than any other platform except Google+.

You can take the first step to putting the power of visual marketing to work by setting up an Instagram account for your medical practice with these seven easy steps: Tweet this Kareo story

Step # 1 – Download the Instagram App
Instagram does offer a desktop version of their app, where you will be able to manage your account after set-up, but to get started you will have to download the Instagram app to your mobile device. You can get this download in the App Store on an iOS device, like an iPad or iPhone, or in Google Play for an Android device.

Step # 2 – Register and Choose Your Username
Once you have downloaded the app, a screen will come up with the option to either register or sign-in. Click “Register” and fill in your account details. Be sure to choose a username that reflects your practice and is consistent with your other social media channels.

Step # 3 – Find Your Facebook Friends
Next, you will be given the option to find your Facebook Friends. Here you can invite all of your patients who are following you on Facebook to connect with you on Instagram as well.

Step # 4 – Find Your Contacts
You will now be given the option to find more contacts from the device you are using. If you do not want to use this option, click “Skip”.

Step # 5 – Choose Who to Follow
Instagram will now give you a list of choices of people or organizations to follow. You can pick ones that you like, or skip this step.

Step # 6 – Edit Your Profile
Your Instagram account is now set up but there are still a few things you should do. Click on the icon on the bottom of your screen that looks like a newspaper on the far right to go to your profile settings then click “Edit Profile”. Here you can add your website address, information on your practice, and a profile picture. Again, try to maintain consistency across your social media channels in how you describe your practice and the profile picture you choose.

Step # 7 – Share to Your Other Social Media Channels
To get the most out of your Instagram account for your medical practice, click “Share To” and choose all of your other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. This allows you to share your photos and videos simultaneously on your other social networks and allows your followers on Facebook and Twitter to see your content and choose to follow you on Instagram as well.

Once your Instagram account is complete, you are ready to start posting photos and videos to boost patient engagement with your practice. You might want to post pictures of you and your staff so that patients can get to know you better, videos of your office as you decorate for the holidays, or pictures of an event that your practice hosts or sponsors. Whatever you choose to post, just remember that the point of sharing on Instagram is to give both existing and potential patients a behind-the-scene, more personal look at your practice. You want them to feel connected to you, your staff, and your practice and giving them these little glimpses through your photos and videos can accomplish that.

For more tips on managing your online reputation, download this helpful guide.

About the Author

Adria Schmedthorst is a writer focusing on the medical device, technology, software, and healthcare industries. Adria is the founder of AMS Copy and a healthcare professional herself with more than 10 years in practice. She now uses her knowledge of the industry to help companies achieve their goals of writing content that speaks to the hearts and minds of medical professionals. She has been featured in blogs, written articles, and other publications for the industry, and ghostwritten books for doctors in both the United States and Australia.

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Free Webinar: How to Choose the Right Telemedicine Software

Lea Chatham September 15th, 2016

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Register now to learn more about telemedicinePopular Telemedicine Myths Debunked & How to Select the Right Software 
Wednesday, September 21
10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET

In this free webinar expert Sean Brindley will debunk some common myths and discuss how to choose telemedicine software Tweet this Kareo story


Many healthcare providers and their staff have assumptions about the value, level of difficulty, and reimbursement process for using telemedicine. There are some common myths about using telemedicine in independent practices. And often providers simply shy away from trying something new and untested. But there are many benefits to telemedicine, and it isn’t as complicated as you might think.

In this webinar, you’ll hear from Sean Brindley, who works with practices just like yours that are using telemedicine today. He’ll share:

  • What modern telemedicine is, its uses, and how to get paid
  • The truths behind common myths
  • How to select the right software for your practice
  • How to get started and build telemedicine into the practice workflow

This is your chance to get the real scoop on using telemedicine and how you can make it work for your practice.

Register Now


About the Speaker

Sean Brindley is a health tech entrepreneur with strong interests in both the clinical and consumer sides of healthcare. He holds a degree from TCU in Fort Worth, TX and has spent the majority of his career working with early stage start-ups in the health space. Through his work, Sean is focused on creating operational efficiencies and empowering patients and providers to receive and deliver the best care possible.

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Telemedicine Tips and Other Ways to Increase Visits in Newsletter

Lea Chatham September 13th, 2016

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The September Getting Paid Newsletter offers information on increasing patient visits, using telemedicine in your independent practice, and the latest on ICD-10. You can also check out recent events you may have missed as well as upcoming events you might want to add to your calendar.  Read all this and more now! Tweet this Kareo story


Get telemedicine Tips in Kareo September Getting Paid Newsletter

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CMS ICD-10 Grace Period Coming to an End

Lea Chatham September 12th, 2016

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ICD-10 ResourcesICD-10 has been a big change for healthcare providers. Prior to last October 1, the entire industry was investing resources in trying to be sure that the transition would be a smooth as possible. However, there were ongoing concerns about readiness from many industry groups.

To provide a bit of leeway, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) created a grace period for one year. Essentially, it allowed practices to code without worrying about getting to the highest level of specificity and use unspecific codes without being penalized. While they didn’t have a specific “grace period” many commercial payers were also more lenient during this first year of ICD-10.

A year of flexibility allowed practices that were struggling with the transition to do their best without fear of going unpaid. Luckily, all the advanced preparations and the latitude of payers made for a much smoother changeover than anyone could have predicted. Like Y2K, it went better than expected with little increase in denials and rejections.

In a couple of weeks, the ICD-10 grace period will come to an end. Healthcare providers will be expected to code to the highest level of specificity, and the use of unspecified codes will be looked at more carefully. There are certainly cases where an unspecified code may be appropriate, but if something more specific is available and there isn’t a legitimate reason for the unspecified code, the claim may be denied.

With October 1 looming, here are a few reminders on how to ensure claim accuracy with ICD-10. Tweet this Kareo story

  1. Update forms and templates to reflect ICD-10 specificity if you haven’t already. This includes patient intake forms, EHR templates, insurance forms, and superbills.
  2. Bring out your code maps. If you’ve been relying solely on an ICD-9 to ICD-10 crosswalk, you may not be getting to the highest level of specificity. You will likely need to create some code maps with higher specificity or have your ICD-10-CM Coding Guidelines handy so you can look codes up. Your EHR and billing software can help but ultimately to ensure the most appropriate code, you may need to do some look ups.
  3. Make sure everyone has adequate training to support ICD-10 coding to the highest level of specificity. Remember, the providers need to know the coding and documentation changes. If they are struggling, consider bringing in a documentation improvement specialist to help. They won’t be able to get away with not being detailed enough after October 1.
  4. Check with your EHR and billing software vendor to make sure they will be ready with the new and updated codes that are coming October 1 as well.
  5. Finally, be sure to monitor claims closely after October 1 for denials and watch for denial trends. Identify problems quickly and work to fix them. Don’t let this last ICD-10 step be a stumbling block for your practice.

Hopefully, you have spent the last year getting comfortable with ICD-10 and the specific changes that impact your specialty. If so then you should be ready for this last change. If not, now is the time to invest in some additional work and training before October 1.

If you have struggled because your software has been lacking or your biller or billing company hasn’t gotten up to speed, now is a good time to consider a change there as well. If your software isn’t what it should be now then push the button on making a change to a better solution. And if your biller isn’t getting it done, look at other options before October 1 rolls around to prevent potentially damaging revenue problems.

Check out the Kareo ICD-10 Resource Center for more information on how to be successful with ICD-10.

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Video: Use Your Data to Increase Patient Visits

Lea Chatham September 12th, 2016

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Patient visits are the cornerstone of your success. There are many ways to increase visits, but one of the best is to use your own data to create a recare program. Learn how to increase patient visits by using your own data to bring patients back in for needed care in this short video. Tweet this Kareo story

Want to learn more? Download our free guide on how to increase patient visits.

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Infographic Shows How to See More Patients with Telemedicine

Lea Chatham September 12th, 2016

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New infographic from Chiron Health shows how your practice can see more patients with telemedicine. Tweet this Kareo story

See More Patients with Telemedicine
Courtesy of: Chiron Health

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SEO Basics for Doctors: Responsive Mobile Websites

Lea Chatham September 8th, 2016

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Have you been hearing the phrase responsive mobile website and wondering what it is and if you have one? Or how does this impact your practice marketing? Expert John Kim answers your questions about responsive mobile websites for medical practices in this short video.  Tweet this Kareo story


Get more tips on how to create an effective and engaging website in this simple guide.

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