If one can judge a year by the amount of changes taking place, 2012 is sizing up to be a big one.
In this, we received word of two significant items for which chiropractors should take note.
THE GOOD NEWS: ICD-10 is DELAYED
If you have followed my previous posts or attended my seminars over the last year or so, you are already aware of my cautions regarding ICD-10. I’ve been recommending that chiropractors avoid preparing for ICD-10 due to the high probability of its implementation being delayed. Certainly, I am not always right but in this case, my prediction is spot on: thanks to the many protests received about how major the impact of ICD-10 would have, the transition to ICD-10 has been temporarily delayed to an unknown date in the future.
So, if you registered yourself or staff to attend a ICD-10 seminar, my recommendation would be to cancel and get your money back as it’s not likely that you will remember the materials when/if ICD-10 finally hits years from now. Surely, you have more pressing problems to solve.
THE BAD NEWS: RECORD SETTING AUDITS!
The bad news surrounds the whole threat and business of auditing. Many chiropractors ask me where the future of audits may go. Unfortunately, this week, the news probably revealed that future for anyone that can do third grade math.
Here’s the quick summary. The “business” of auditing began to boom in 2005-2008 when Medicare began its official experiment in auditing healthcare providers, hospitals and other related entities. Long story short: in 3 years, the Feds recovered $900Million or so in post-payment demands. Obviously, this “experiment” — in terms of dollars generated — was successful.
Naturally, the great auditing experiment was given the green light and continued, making chiropractors and other physicians a target.
Fast forward to present day: the numbers are in and recent press release from the HHS revealed that 2011 was a record-breaking year for audits and the Feds recovered nearly $4.1 Billion!
REALITY CHECK & TIME FOR MATH
Here’s where the chiropractic reality check and math exercise comes in: chiropractors have not fared so well in the last two OIG reports made on chiropractic services. Last year (2011) chirorpractors were also the focus of a special review in Medicare.
If the Feds can recover $4 billion in ONE YEAR, certainly audits in general will continue, if not increase in volume. Even Uncle Sam can do that math.
Unfortunately, chiropractors will also continue to be a target in those efforts.
There is hope, however. If we improve our game, chiropractors may be able to better protect themselves than other professions due to, once again, simple math. Our volume is lower, our claims are smaller, our numbers are fewer. So, presently, the only reason we are an audit target is due to the facts that (a) through random auditing, everyone is a target and (b) if we do not improve our chiropractic billing, coding & documentation, we are an easy target.
Chiropractors, we CAN change that last part! You CAN improve your billing, coding and documentation. Take a SEMINAR and educate yourself. Stay updated on the latest trends. It is possible to both maximize your reimbursements AND minimize your audit risk. For those interested in how your clinic may benefit from this, fill out a Practice Analysis Questionnaire and I will contact you to see how I can be of assistance.
The first step, however, for all of us, is to admit that we MUST do something to improve: for our practice, for our patients and for our profession!