Okay, if preventing denials and rejections are important, what’s even more crucial? It is appeals processing! Appeals processing plays a huge role in healthcare billing companies and healthcare provider’s office. Often, appeals processing can be a lengthy task. But when handled right, it can bring enormous profits to the business. One should know how to appeal it properly.
Many healthcare billing companies and healthcare professionals fail while making mistakes during the appeal processing. Even though claims are denied or rejected or insurance companies deny paying for the services, appeals processing can save your business from sinking. It’s not always necessary to go behind the insurance companies for reimbursements. Sometimes, the better option would be to appeal the claims with all the documentation you’ve got.
Few tips to follow for a successful appeals processing in healthcare billing companies and hospitals:
Tip-1: Appeal letter is Important
- Always submit an appeal letter to the insurance companies. Few healthcare billing companies or hospitals often commit mistakes of sending a balance bill along with an explanation of benefits (EOB) to the payer instead of actually providing an appeal letter.
- Along with an appeal letter, healthcare professionals will be able to spell out what he/she wanted to have reviewed, such as coding denials or fees.
- Though it takes a little more time to put the request in writing, it can make a huge difference to the healthcare professional’s success.
Tip-2: Ensure if claims are corrected:
- Before sending an appeal to the insurance companies, make sure if claims are corrected and rechecked thoroughly to eliminate any mistakes.
- In case the healthcare professionals send the incorrect claims once again, the appeal will not change the results. Moreover, the claim’s CPT coding, documentation, diagnoses, and EOB should also be checked for accuracy.
- Take a close look at modifiers to ensure that they’ve been applied appropriately. Adding a modifier to a claim simply to get it paid could result in accusations of abuse or fraudulent activities.
- After the claim review, making changes and adding any necessary documentation is essential before submission.
- If healthcare billing companies or hospitals find coding issues when dealing with denials, it’s advisable to make a note of the problem and review it with all of the coding staff to prevent the same mistake from occurring again.
Tip-3: Code What You Can Support with Medical Documentation:
- One of the significant rules of medical billing and coding is that, if the healthcare professional can’t document it, then he/she cannot report it.
- No matter what they are billing, reviewing the notes to ensure that all procedures that were reported were actually performed is a much needed task.
- For instance, when surgeries are performed and billed, it’s very common to code from the list of procedures that were noted at the beginning of the notes.
- Several things would have changed at the time of surgery or operation. A careful look at the notes may reveal other reportable procedures that were performed and not mentioned in the note summary.
- It’s also very effective to avoid relying on the recommended coding from the physician. Healthcare billing companies must review the documentation provided to ensure they are reporting the right codes. In some cases, the record may need to be amended by the physician to reflect that patient’s condition and the nature of the services provided.
Tip-4: Make sure to check the mistakes:
- In most of the cases, claim denials are the result of simple mistakes such as incomplete claims, illegible claims, missing filing deadlines, insufficient, non-existent, or incorrect documentation, or failure to obtain a pre-authorization.
- It’s very important and crucial to check for certain simple mistakes before submitting the claims. But once the appeals have been filed, it’s essential to check for simple errors again to avoid the claim being denied a second time. Eliminating any small and simple mistakes will ensure the appeal is successful and is ready to get paid faster.
Tip-5: Follow Up and Then Consider Getting the Patient Involved:
- Regularly follow up with the insurance companies after submitting an appeal to ensure that it has been processed.
- If at all they have a problem in finding the solution, then they might consider involving the patient into the scene.
- Many patients do not realize that an unpaid balance can be passed to them. Patients are often willing to call their insurance carrier to see what they’re able to do to get the claim paid.
- The patient can and might request an external review through the state insurance department if the appeal is denied.
Tip-5: Prevent future denials:
- Though a major percentage of claim denials are recoverable, the appeals effort comes with an administrative price tag. So it’s very important to take measures to prevent future denials.
- Staying on top of changes, providing staff and providers with training, and doing routine claims denial audits are all the ways you can avoid denials in the future.
- Outsourcing billing and coding to healthcare billing companies can also be another option to consider if hospitals or healthcare professionals want to reduce denials, increase the success of appeals, as well as improve the practice revenue.
3 Types of appeals filed in healthcare billing companies:
- The first type of appeal filed on medical billing claims was on denied claims due to various diagnosis reasons. This can be because of incorrect coding, under or over coding. The biggest offender in this category was outdated codes. The ever changing world of diagnosis codes is not so easy to keep up with in a busy practice. Hence, providers should seriously consider outsourcing medical billing services if they aren’t already.
- Medical Necessity was another reason for appeals being filed on denied claims. At the same time, lack of medical necessity was determined by lack of documentation supporting the diagnosis on the medical billing. It’s essential and important to have proper documentation before the claim is submitted. This is the way providers can realize a marked decrease in denied and partially paid claims.
- Third party or healthcare billing companies can also recommend small methods on many levels of medical billing and coding that will save time and money in the form of reduced denied or partial payments.
How can you decrease incidence of appeals?
The cases of appeals occur when the number of denials for claims goes up. However, if you invest in getting the claims process in place, you can get the numbers of appeals down. You should start by reviewing your existing system at the moment. Take note if you follow these best practices trusted by the experts:
- Clinical documentation should be error-free while maintaining the latest modifications put forward by the different federal and state agencies.
- Getting physician-advisors onboard can also be a good choice. Some organizations choose to get part-time advisors on a case-to-case basis, while the others get an in-house advisor.
- You can also outsource the services from a leading revenue cycle management company to get professionals to handle your process.
- You should also start taking a data-driven approach, rather than a traditional approach. Take note of financial reports to know where you stand with respect to denials and try to rectify them.
- Try to incorporate an inter-disciplinary method when filing claims. This means taking note of all invested departments, not just the physician and the billing team, to ensure that you are not missing out on any important detail.
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