Midwife Business Billing and Coding Tips: Essentials for Success
Insurance reimbursement is the bread and butter of most midwifery practice. If you have a cash paying only population like Amish or Mennonite home birth practice, you can just skip this posts. For the rest of the midwives out their needing to understanding this confusing health insurance game. Medical expenses are a huge burden for Americans and to be able to run your practice long term successfully, you will need to learn this system.
Insurance reimbursement is the bread and butter of most midwifery practice. If you have a cash paying only population like Amish or Mennonite home birth practice, you can’t just skip this posts. My resources are available for the rest of the midwives out their needing to understanding this confusing health insurance game. Medical expenses are a huge burden for Americans and to be able to run your practice long term successfully, you will need to learn this system.
The goal of this blog article is to help with basics of billing and coding. We will do further posts about details of different aspects of practice and insurance billing. There are billing codes (CPT codes) that are sent to an insurance company for services rendered by a CNM and her team. The diagnosis code applicable with CPT codes are needed to be attached to the claim.
Verification of benefits is strongly recommended prior to seeing a patient to make sure coverage for service being offered are covered, no prior authorization is needed for services, and what level of patient financial responsibility for care is warranted. Does today’s visit go towards deductible, co-payment, or co-insurance? Is it covered completely even if deductible isn’t met due to the Affordable Care Act? Will the insurance plan cover a birth with a CNM, but only in hospital setting versus home? Is the midwife in network or out of network with insurance plan? If out of network, does insurance have out of network benefits (called a PPO plan). HMO listed on the card states only in network provider coverage. These are all examples of really important questions to ask when checking into an insurance plan.
You can directly do your billing, hire a Billing Specialist as part of your team, or out source the Billing Services. Each one has pros and cons. With a small midwifery practice, it does make sense to directly do your own billing for care. You would directly know the services rendered, be in charge of how quickly claims are sent out and paid by insurance plan and patient, and not have to pay additional commission to billing staff or agency. Downside is billing and coding is a complicated system and many providers would rather care for patients and not deal with billing regulations and jargon involved. Having someone in house is cheaper if the practice is large enough to support the employee costs. With having a smaller practice, paying a commission for services actually paid for with a billing agency makes the most sense.
I have always liked using a Electronic Health Records (EHR) system that is a one stop shop for resources for my practice. Having an EHR system that does your billing for you is really helpful. Athena Health has been my “go to” system for years. I have been really impressed with their small practice customization. I can use all or none their administration services like billing, charting, appointment reminders, scheduling, patient portal, e-prescribing, lab and imaging ordering, and electronic referrals to specialists. There is no up front costs and they are paid when I get paid. It is a great option when there is little start up funds for practice and long term knowing that the EHR system will continually try to improve their services. If I don’t get paid, they don’t get paid. WIN-WIN!