A bi-weekly newsletter from your physician organization
Friday, June 5, 2020
Diabetes resources help patients plan during pandemic
Patients living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, may face challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, including concerns about access to medications and care. While people living with diabetes are not at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, some individuals may face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19.

Michigan's Health and Human Services Department provides an updated diabetes and COVID-19 information on their website . This includes information on medication assistance, telehealth, emergency kit preparedness and more.

Diabetic patients can receive assistance with medication costs through a variety of resources. The American Diabetes Association's InsulinHelp.org lists updated benefits, free insulin supplies and more from the main insulin manufacturers.

Practices can conduct outreach to these patients to follow up on care and offer telemedicine appointments if appropriate ( click for tips for engaging patients in telemedicine visits). The Physician Alliance created many diabetes education materials - these are free downloads that can be shared with patients via a patient portal, email, in person or mail.
Detroit expands free COVID-19 testing to tri-county areas
The city of Detroit will now provide free COVID-19 testing to any resident in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties at the State Fairgrounds.

Appointments are required for testing (313-230-0505) . Anyone without an appointment will be turned away.

  • Residents without safe or reliable transportation can schedule a $2 cab ride to and from the fairgrounds. Partnerships with cab services in the city have made this possible. People that can't provide the $2 will still be able to get a ride. 
  • Anyone who needs an appointment to get tested and/or a ride should call (313) 230-0505 between 9am - 7pm Monday through Sunday.
Webinar focuses on HIPAA during COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 has impacted healthcare in multiple ways, including patient care and HIPAA. The Physician Alliance is hosting a webinar focusing on understanding HIPAA during the pandemic.

HIPAA, Compliance and COVID-19: Walking the Line of Enforcement and Discretion webinar
Wednesday, June 24, 2020; 8-9:30am

This webinar will focus on:
  • HIPAA changes and enforcement during/after COVID-19
  • COVID-19’s impact on compliance
  • Best practices for auditing and updating the practice’s compliance plan
  • Biller’s/coder’s legal duties regarding compliance
  • Consequences of not abiding by the legal requirements of compliance
  • Q&A time available

Presenter : Lori-Ann Rickard, Rickard & Associates

This complimentary webinar is open to all TPA physicians and practice staff.

Blue Cross provider symposiums go virtual
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network transitioned their annual provider symposiums to a virtual format due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. The symposiums begin in June for physicians, office staff and coders. Click here for dates and details. 
 
What’s included:
  • The morning sessions are targeted to physician office staff responsible for closing gaps related to quality measures and creating a positive patient experience. Topics include the latest information about HEDIS, importance of the patient experience and more.
 
  • The afternoon sessions are for coders, billers and administrative staff. Topics include new coding guidelines for evaluation and management visits, possible scenarios and coding tips.
 
New this year : Nurses, in addition to coders, will receive continuing education credits for attending the sessions.

Contact your Blue Cross representative with questions relating to these symposiums.
8 ways to reduce past due accounts
Prompt payment is critical to the financial health of a practice. There are processes that can be effective in obtaining payments.
 
1. Have a defined financial and collection policy:
Clearly state payment terms on the patient registration form and statement. Have defined office procedures for late payments: when to call (40 days), send a reminder notice (45 days), ‘serious reminder’ letter (60 days), and final attempt call.
 
2. Send out statements promptly and consistently:
Get a systematic billing system! Many times the patient has not paid simply because they haven’t received an invoice or statement. Once reminded, most patients pay in a timely manner. Doing the necessary follow up and sending past due reminders every 15 days can make a big difference in payments.
 
3. Contact overdue accounts more frequently.
Contacting late payers every 15 days lets you to diplomatically remind the patient of payment terms, and also ensure the patient is satisfied with your services.
 
4. Use your aging sheet, not your feelings.
All patients should be treated in the same manner with the same expectation of prompt payment.
 
5. Train your staff.
Addressing past due accounts while maintaining goodwill with patients can be challenging for staff. Customer service training can help communicate payment information to patients. Be sure your staff can easily process a credit card payment or ACH check draft.
 
6. Follow your state’s collection laws.
In many states, practices are governed by the same laws as collection agencies. For example, communicating in writing or verbally that the account will be forwarded to an attorney or a credit bureau and then failing to do so can be a violation of some state and federal collection laws. Harassing or contacting a patient at unreasonable hours, or using threats or profane language can lead to serious consequences. Contact your state’s consumer protection agency for clarification. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA-federal law) applies to business to consumers (B2C), not business to business (B2B) collection techniques.
 
7. Use a third party early in the process.
Consider using a third-party intervention service once an account reaches 90 days. Designed for early intervention, a pre-collect service can save practices the internal costs of working accounts beyond the point of reason. Pre-collect third party services allow you to keep 100% of the money if collected timely.
 
8. Remember that nobody collects every account.
Even by setting up and adhering to a specific collection plan, there are some accounts that will never be collected. Identifying these accounts early will save a great deal of time and expense.

Source: Transworld Systems/TSI i s a medical debt collections agency. Part of TPA’s Affiliate Partners Program, TSI offers discounted automated reminder call and invoice services, Accelerator®, pre-collect services or general collections. New clients will receive an additional 10% off programs purchased through June 30 . Contact Michael Glass at (248) 914-0346 or click here .
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Ways you can save
Featured Affiliate Partner: TELEPHONE SERVICES & SOLUTIONS - Edge Solutions offers quality telecommunications products and services, including remote work options. TPA members receive an additional 10% off already discounted services through July 31, 2020.

Learn more about this partner.