Category Archives: Medical Practice Blog

Avoid the Medicare Penalty – Take Action now

Physicians must take action now to avoid the 4 percent payment reduction under the Medicare Quality Payment Program, which includes the Merit Based Incentive Payment System or MIPS. Certain physicians are exempt from MIPS. Physicians that are exempt from MIPS in 2017 do not have to take further action this year. Exemptions for 2017 (Performance Year 1) include: Physicians who enroll in Medicare for the first time in 2017 Physicians who participate in an Advanced APM and are either a

Overview of KMA House of Delegates Resolutions

Today I’d like to go over some of the resolutions passed during the House of Delegates at the KMA Annual Meeting. I chose these to go over as they particularly hit home for many of us. Two resolutions relating to the opioid crises underwent debate and as is supposed to happen in a governing body, a good compromise was the end result. These were resolutions 8 and 10. Resolution 8 pertained to the administration of Naloxone in drug overdose situations.

New Medicare Cards Are Coming in 2018 – Prepare Now to Prevent Future Problems

Medicare provides insurance for nearly 58 million aged and disabled people in the United States, and  Kentucky has more than 800,000 Medicare beneficiaries. Beginning in April 2018, the program will transition to a newly designed Medicare card aimed at reducing fraud.  Social Security numbers, visible on the card since the Medicare program began, will be replaced by randomly assigned identifiers that include a mix of numerals and letters. The new card will be called MBI – Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. Medicare

The Art of Medicine

I am writing this column while sitting in the ER at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.  My wife had a syncopal episode resulting in a concussion.  She is alright now, thank goodness.  While I sit here, I am amazed at watching the interns, residents, and med students.  Their enthusiasm and spirit reminds me of several years ago when I was in their place.  The only difference now is the new technology and of course the computer bases in every

2018 Medicare Changes to Pain Management Questions

For years, hospitals and physicians have struggled with questions on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Provider and Systems (HCHAPS) which targets patient satisfaction by asking patients to complete survey questions about their experience in the hospital. Hospital reimbursement is tied to how well the hospital scores on the patient satisfaction – some of the survey questions ask patients to “rate their pain” during their hospital stay. During the 2017 KMA Annual Meeting – Leadership in Action session, trauma surgeon,

Reducing Medicare Audit Burden – With Help from KMA

According to Medicare, more than $6.5 billion in claims are now tied up in pending appeals. The backlog, in part can be attributed to wide-spread and often aggressive audits by Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). A “missing documentation” error can be as simple as an illegible/missing signature.  For example, earlier this year, CGS – the Medicare contractor for Kentucky – implemented a rule that required all EHRs to be signed and closed by the physician within two days of when the

Twitter Just One Way Dr. Jones Promotes Healthy Habits

Scattered throughout the Twitter feed of Shawn Jones, M.D., (@scjonesmd) are messages about the detriments of smoking. He reminds followers that Kentucky is number one in lung cancer deaths; that the state’s smoking-related Medicaid costs total nearly $600 million; and that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to tobacco. Dr. Jones, the newly elected president of the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care, also has been the face of the KMA Commit to Quit campaign, funded by the Foundation. The campaign

Economics of Electronic Health Record Signatures

Protect Medicare payments with timely signing and closing of electronic health records More than eighty percent of physicians in the U.S. now use electronic health records according to HealthIT.gov.  An electronic signature is one component of the EHR. The focus of electronic signatures was often on systems and software products that must include protections against modification and other administrative safeguards, and not the timeliness of signing and closing an electronic signature. Earlier this year, CGS – the Medicare contractor for

The Family of Medicine – Our Tapestry

For more than 30 years, I have traveled in a journey through many branches of organized medicine.  I have been blessed to serve county, state and national groups as president, officer, on boards, PACs and as committee member numerous times. Each of these positions has been like a bright, colorful thread that has become woven in a beautiful tapestry.  Hundreds of staff, volunteers and peers along the way have become flecks of gold and sparkle woven into that tapestry.  It

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