Family physicians are masters when it comes to managing their patients' care after a hospital stay -- a window of time that is appropriately dubbed "transitional care."
CMS implemented CPT codes that provide for payment for transitional care management (TCM) services in 2013, but physicians still have questions about providing the services.
An upcoming AAFP webinar will fill that void and help ensure that physicians are adhering to CMS guidelines and using appropriate codes when submitting claims.
Take advantage of the opportunity to purchase access to the webinar, titled Transitional Care Management: Getting Paid for What We Do Best, which is scheduled to air Oct. 25 at noon CDT. AAFP members pay $30, nonmember physicians pay $69, and allied professionals pay $39.
The webinar will last 45 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes left open for questions at the end. After physicians purchase the webinar, they have complete access to the material.
Marc Price, D.O., of Mechanicville, N.Y., will serve as presenter. Price is president-elect of the New York State AFP and serves on the AAFP Commission on Quality and Practice. He also owns a small group family medicine practice in Malta, N.Y., and told AAFP News that family physicians would benefit from knowing how to bill for these services.
"This webinar is important because the information I'll present will help family physicians get paid for something they're already doing," said Price.
"We already follow up on our patients outside of the hospital, work to minimize their rehospitalization rates, and try to improve the transition between the hospital and outpatient setting," he added. "Use of these codes just improves the payment for doing those things."
Price's personal experiences with providing TCM services have been positive, and he says when he bills Medicare, "it's actually a very nice reimbursement rate that helps improve the bottom line."
And although it hasn't happened yet in his part of the country, Price is hopeful that, in time, private payers will get on board, as well.
During the webinar, Price intends to
- guide learners through CMS' TCM requirements for providing the services,
- identify how TCM can get patients engaged in their care,
- assess the financial and quality improvement aspects of TCM, and
- highlight the importance of TCM in the world of value-based payment.
Price pointed out that in the not-so-distant future, physicians will be evaluated on their ability to keep patients out of the hospital. "This is just another way to continue progress toward that goal," he said.
Price noted that since his practice has ramped up efforts to provide TCM services, the office staff is more efficient at procuring patient information -- which, in turn, makes the entire process run more smoothly.
"In the past, when a patient was discharged from the hospital, we'd be playing catch-up trying to find out where the records were, " he explained. "Now, when we are aware that this is going to happen, we're able to get the records beforehand," and that facilitates followup patient visits.
When it comes to providing transitional care, Price's message to colleagues is simple.
"Do it. It's a good service to provide to your patients because it improves patient outcomes. And it makes financial sense, especially for physician-owned practices," said Price.
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