The healthcare industry is in a continual state of flux, driven by shifts in scientific advancements, patient privacy and insurance providers’ policies. This has also impacted medical coding and billing, with rules changing periodically and new codes being introduced every now and then. To stay ahead of the curve, physician practices and providers of medical billing services in USA must stay up to date with the current trends. Adapting to changes with the help of a reliable medical billing and coding service will ensure efficient claims submission for timely and accurate reimbursement.
Though all areas of healthcare face denials and audits, these concerns are more common in dermatology. Dermatology billing and coding requires thorough reporting, detailed information on procedures completed, and must follow multiple procedure rules, which can lead to billing and coding errors. Staying abreast with latest trends – such as changing codes, billing rules, documentation requirements and payment methods is crucial for success with dermatology medical billing.
Let’s check out the 3 top dermatology billing trends that medical practices need to pay attention to:
- COVID-19 Related Skin Conditions: A wide spectrum of skin conditions has been reported in association with coronavirus. At the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting held virtually in April 2021, the most discussed topics were COVID-19’s effect on the skin and coverage for vitiligo and atopic dermatitis treatments. A poster presented at AAD VMX 2021 highlighted skin issues due to mask-wearing such as acne, erythema and rhytides. Dermatologists need to ensure that these conditions are reported using the correct ICD-10 codes:
- L80 – Vitiligo
- L20 – Atopic dermatitis
- L70 – Acne
- L70.9 – Acne, unspecified
- L52 – Erythema nodosum
- L53 – Other erythematous conditions
- L53.8 – Other specified erythematous conditions
- L53.9 – Erythematous condition, unspecified
- L54 – Erythema in diseases classified elsewhere
- L98.8 – Other specified disorders of the skin and subcutaneous tissue ( Rhytide of forehead, Rhytide of glabellar skin, Rhytides and wrinkles, forehead, and Rhytides and wrinkles, glabellar)
Dermatologists have an important role in the management of infectious diseases outbreaks like COVID-19. In the coming year and beyond, they should stay focused on their important role in such health care crises and consider how they can best diagnose and effectively treat new skin manifestations while ensuring the highest quality for all patients who need dermatologic care.
- Telehealth Dermatology Appointments gain popularity: Before the pandemic, telemedicine use in dermatology was minimal. In June 2020, the National Psoriasis Foundation’s COVID-19 Task Force provided a new list of recommendations for patients and practitioners on telehealth usage. According to the study, candidates for telehealth are clinically stable patients on treatment, those requiring follow-up care or prescription refills and those with COVID-19 who are experiencing flares. It was also recommended that new patient telehealth consultations should be restricted to only those facing significant barriers to in-person care. In-person visits should also be provided for patients experiencing disease progression.
Patients are also upbeat about remote office visits. An Updox survey found that:
- 65 percent of the patients who used telehealth services liked the convenience
- 63 percent appreciated not being exposed to other sick patients
- 44 percent favored the ease of scheduling appointments
- 38 percent noted the simplicity of scheduling follow-up appointments
These statistics provide evidence of telehealth technology’s versatility and accessibility. According to a study presented at the annual AAD conference, nearly 67% of people plan to utilize teledermatology appointment options post-pandemic – even after clinics allow in-person visits. Going forward, videos, photos, and patient-reported data are likely to be the basis telehealth in dermatology settings. Dermatologists also need to know the rules for coding and billing telehealth visits.
Outsourced Medical Billing: Outsourcing your dermatology medical billing services to a reliable partner can help your practice in many ways. Dermatology practices are under added pressure to cut overhead costs in these challenging times. They also have to deal with coding and billing changes that happen from time to time and maintain compliance with standards. Outsourcing is a great option to gain time to focus on the changing demands in dermatology care. Partnering with a reliable provider of dermatology medical billing services can help practices streamline operations, cut costs, and ensure proper coding and billing to secure optimal payment for services rendered.
Though dermatologists provide many types of medical, surgical and cosmetic procedures and services, getting reimbursed appropriately can be a challenge. In Medscape’s 2019dermatologist compensation survey, respondents cited getting fair reimbursement and following multiple rules and regulations as the most challenging part of their job. Compared with 38% of all physicians, 46% of dermatologists reported spending 10-19 hours a week on paperwork and administrative tasks. These findings suggest that partnering with a professional dermatology medical billing and coding company is the best option for practices to translate patient services into error-free claims, get appropriate reimbursement, and improve their bottomline.