The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2015 began reimbursing physicians for providing care coordination services to patients with chronic conditions, work many primary care physicians had been doing already but without payment. A major requirement to being paid for chronic care management (CCM) services is that the patient must provide verbal or written consent to receive them. That has sometimes been a significant obstacle, especially if the patient faces copays. Here are seven tips from physicians who have honed the process:
1. Work on your elevator speech. Eligible patients will want to know quickly and clearly why they should sign up for CCM and agree to the associated cost-sharing.
2. Increase your knowledge of the CCM rules. This will ease compliance and payment.
3. Do your part. Although clinical staff will do most of the CCM work, physicians are instrumental in securing patient agreement.
4. Empower staff. Taking on CCM responsibilities can boost staff morale as they see that their work helps patients and generates income; this may help them accept the additional documentation requirements.
5. Have a back-up plan. If you choose to have certain staff dedicate some or all of their time to CCM, be sure the practice is prepared to provide uninterrupted services and billing in their absence.
6. Stay connected. Make sure your electronic health record enables communication among staff members, patients, and your patients' other physicians or providers to facilitate care coordination.
7. Start small. Enroll and serve a limited number of patients, and then fine-tune clinical and billing processes before offering CCM services to all who are eligible.
Read the full FPM article: “Chronic Care Management in the Real World.”
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