HED: NMHS holds seminar on managed care for medical office staff

By Marty Russell

Daily Journal

Managed health care can sometimes seem unmanageable to a physician's staff, and constant changes make keeping up with current policies and procedures difficult.

To aid those staff members in dealing with the paperwork and procedures, North Mississippi Health Services' Center for Business Health sponsored a daylong seminar Wednesday to bring the office managers of physicians associated with the company's Health Link managed care program up to date on current managed care trends.

"We're offering this program for the office managers of physicians who are providers for Health Link so they can learn about things such as electronic billing, coding and (Internal Revenue Service) forms," said Cathy Reedy, provider relations representative for NMHS.

Managed care, Reedy said, is "a way of linking quality medical service with providers at a cost savings to industry and individuals."

For workers in a physician's office, it can sometimes be a little scary.

"Fear," Janice Johnson, office manager for Obstetrics-Gynecology Associates clinic in Tupelo, said of the biggest problem she and her peers face when dealing with managed care. "It's something new and we're all reluctant to change. What we all fear is capitation, where we're paid not for the services performed but per head."

About 120 people attended Wednesday's conference that featured speakers on topics ranging from billing to using the proper coding for services when submitting claims in order to obtain the maximum reimbursement.

"If your claim is allowed 100 percent, you're not charging enough," Debra Mills, a consultant and coding specialist with RCFA Healthcare Management Services, told those in attendance. "If you're getting paid 100 percent, your fee schedule is in bad need of upgrading."

The seminar also featured booths set up by North Mississippi Medical Center and pharmaceutical companies that participants could peruse during breaks.

"We plan to do it every year," Reedy said of the event. "It also gives area physicians' office managers a chance to meet with the people here in Tupelo."

There are about 700 physicians associated with the Tupelo-based Health Link program and Reedy said the program had recently been expanded to include two Meridian hospitals and Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis.

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