Report Highlights Tips for Preventing Medical Billing Errors

Practices should have a compliance plan and policy
Practices should have a compliance plan and policy

(HealthDay News) — Strategies can help to prevent medical practice billing errors, according to a report published in Medical Economics.

A Boston-based health care advocacy group has reported that up to 80 percent of all medical bills contain mistakes. Mistakes can result in loss of reimbursement, and due to the zero tolerance policy of the federal government and Office of Inspector, practices can be prevented from billing Medicare or Medicaid services for years.

According to the report, the risks are not just financial, but they can also result in patient harm; failure to bill correctly can impact a patient's treatment due to an incorrect diagnostic code. In smaller practices, things are more likely to be overlooked, resulting in unpaid or underpaid claims and a less robust financial picture. Some companies are using software to help generate notes and check items. To mitigate the problem of billing errors, every practice should have a compliance plan and policy, and someone responsible for enforcing it. Staff should have continuing education and training to maintain compliance and get updated on new coding and billing issues. Retaining a third-party billing expert to assess a portion of the claims can also help.

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"Letting an error go is worse than anyone making a mistake or two," according to the report. "Employees need to know that they can report an error and that doing so is considered a positive, rather than a negative."

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