Your organization has signed a contract with a payer and you have agreed to accept a discounted fee called an allowable, and to abide by their rules. What is the information you need to collect?
- A copy of the contract
- A detailed fee schedule, or a basis for the fees, such as “150% of the 2008 Medicare fee schedule.”
- Any information about the fees being increased periodically based on economic indicators, or rules (notification, timeline, appeals) on how the payer can change the fee schedule.
- The process and a contact name for appealing incorrect payments.
- Information on what can be collected at time of service. Hopefully your contract does not have any language that prohibits collections at time of service, but you must know what the contract states.
- Process for checking on patients’ eligibility and benefits: representative by phone, interactive voice response (IVR), website or third-party access.
The contract allowables should be loaded into your practice management system so you can calculate the patient’s responsibility at check-out and you can identify incorrect payments at the time of check-posting. If your practice management system does not have this feature, you will need a cheat sheet for each contracted payer, showing the most common services, the allowables, and the percentages of the allowables for fast calculation of the patient’s portion at check-out. The same or a modified cheat sheet will work for the check posters so they can verify the payer is reimbursing according to the contract.
Your cheat sheet should look like this:
The check-out staff will write the patient’s portion on the encounter form (you may call it a charge ticket, fee ticket, rounding slip, or superbill), add the numbers together and give the patient the total. Alternately, the computer system will total the patient’s portion based on the payer and the plan for the check-out person.
The balance of the information collected will be used to develop a payer matrix that might look something like this:
|How to Notify|
|XYZ||WalMart||Deductible & Co-Pay||website||July-June –||Exp Dec 2016||Call June Jones at 1-800-555-1212|
|State Employees||Deductible & Co-Ins.||Website|
Another excellent way your organization can catalog payer and plan information is electronically in a document management system such as FileConnect. FileConnect is an electronic filing cabinet with many great attributes, one of which is particularly helpful in this scenario. Every time there is a change in a payer contract, or a new plan is added by a local employer, you can update the staff’s spreadsheet tools simultaneously and the newest version will be instantly available on their desktops.