practice management

Is Telemedicine in Your Future? Many Physicians Say the Answer is Yes

Posted in practice management, webinar on February 18th, 2016 by MMS – 2 Comments

telemedicine concept

More and more, patients are looking for convenient ways to access health care services when they are unable to be physically present for a traditional office exam.

Over the past couple of years, many physician practices across the country have started using telemedicine technologies in innovative ways to increase patients’ access to services.

What is telemedicine? The Institute of Medicine defines it as “The use of electronic information and communications technology to provide and support health care services when distance separates participants.”

A successfully implemented telemedicine service can increase access to care, but could also improve the operational efficiency of the practice, and improve the patient experience.

However, there have been a number of concerns raised about telemedicine. These include reimbursement, identifying appropriate patients for telemedicine visits, the ease of use of the technology, and maintaining continuity of care.

Despite these concerns, many physicians nationally and locally are starting to pilot telemedicine in their practices, and are deciding whether leveraging the technology may make sense for their practice.

Join the MMS for a webinar on February 24 to learn more about the impact telemedicine has on the health care system, and how to leverage these technologies to improve your practice operations and your patients’ experience.

Register at www.massmed.org/telemedweb

– Kerry Ann Hayon

Everything You Need to Know About PQRS Reporting: Webinar

Posted in practice management on December 21st, 2015 by MMS – Comments Off on Everything You Need to Know About PQRS Reporting: Webinar

Our friends at the Connecticut State Medical Society are offering a webinar next month to help physician practices manage their PQRS reporting.

  • Avoid negative payment adjustments in 2017 by successfully reporting your 2015 PQRS data
  • Learn about changes in the PQRS and VM programs
  • Preview the transition from PQRS to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)

The webinar will be offered at two dates and times:

  • Tuesday, January 12, 2016:  12:15 pm– 1 pm Register
  • Thursday, January 21, 2016: 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm Register

Both webinars will have opportunities for live Q&A, so bring your questions and get real-time answers.

Beware of Insurers’ Shift to Credit Card Payments

Posted in practice management on July 10th, 2014 by MMS – Comments Off on Beware of Insurers’ Shift to Credit Card Payments

Credit cardSome health plans have been issuing physician practices consumer credit cards or virtual credit cards as payment for their services instead of depositing funds directly to bank accounts. According to the AMA, this relatively new trend can cut physician pay by as much as 5 percent after transaction fees.

What can practices do?

If a practice receives a virtual credit card payment, the practice can call the payer and ask them to remit payment through a more traditional mechanism. Practices can demand that payers issue payments via EFTs deposited directly into their bank account. Other suggestions for practices include:

  • Review and evaluate payer contracts to determine whether your practice is required to accept credit cards as a method of payment.
  • Understand merchant card agreements and associated fees if your practice decides to accept credit cards. You also may want to ask if payers are using credit card reward programs that give cash back.
  • Request payment using the health care EFT standard known as ACH CCD+. This transaction, approved by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is less costly to payees than credit card transactions.

More information

Why Your Windows XP Computer Could Become a HIPAA Security Risk

Posted in Health IT, HIPAA, practice management on April 3rd, 2014 by MMS – 1 Comment

photo by stevendepolo via flickr.comIs your practice using computers that run Microsoft Windows XP? If so, you could be exposing your practice to security risks in the near future.

After April 8, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP, its venerable but aged operating system. This means that Microsoft will no longer send you regular software updates to correct new security holes and software bugs.

Will your XP computers suddenly become non-compliant? Not simply because Microsoft is withdrawing technical support. But without software regular patches, your computers may be increasingly vulnerable to the hackers and trolls who scour the internet. Usually they’re seeking credit card and bank account information, but if your system has security holes, they could access your patients’ protected health information more easily.

Will your computers continue to run on XP? If they’re functioning today, they probably will continue to function for a while. But many computer consultants are advising their clients to assess their risk and determine how they will modernize their systems.

Can I upgrade myself? Many computer users have tried upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 on their existing machines, but some have reported the process to be difficult, and sometimes a failure altogether. Many older machines simply don’t have the processing power or memory to run the newer versions of Windows. Sometimes the best solution is to get new hardware. Microsoft does offer brave, intrepid do-it-yourselfers  free data-transfer software.

Our advice? Talk to your computer vendor or consultant, and develop an upgrade plan. Granted, Microsoft derives commercial benefit from this decision, but security-sensitive users are left with little choice.You don’t necessarily have to upgrade today, but it’s not wise to delay the process indefinitely.