We’ve all probably heard about how an electronic health record (EHR) system can streamline your practice. What about audits? Can EHRs really help you mitigate risk from recovery audit contractors (RACs)?
The answer is “yes.”
Recovery audit contractor programs operate under the premise you’ve made a mistake somehow. Auditors most often look for overpayment errors, problems with upcoding and downcoding, and any accounting or patient care documentation inconsistencies.
Anything you can do to avoid the “scent” of impropriety by fully documenting your practices in this respect is going to save you time, money and heartache. EHRs are an efficient way to minimize error and maintain a comprehensive record of all of your activity.
RAC auditors generally have a menu of items they look for in an audit. Billing practice errors seem the most costly. You can make sure to avoid an audit by paying particular attention to how you document your time. Also, clearly illustrate the coding difference between exams or treatments. Practitioners sometimes mistakenly bill twice for a treatment that should have been coded only once, for example. EHRs help you minimize and even avoid monitoring and rounding errors.
Many are under the false impression EHRs are somehow impenetrable. This is not the case as systems with overly automated features are sometimes problematic, for example. Remember, an effective EHR system must accurately reflect current patient care status. Help yourself avoid an RAC visit, customize specific care notes and avoid too many template based components.
EHRs can go a long way toward providing a sound foundation for creating and maintaining comprehensive patient care data, as long as the one you select allows you to customize the system templates to your particular practice. Additionally, nothing replaces the practitioner’s personal knowledge of his or her EHR’s capabilities. You must remain vigilant in understanding your particular system’s functions and capabilities and take care to customize EHR templates as needed to accurately reflect each patient’s care situation. Do this and you’re well on your way to preparing for – and even possibly avoiding – the occasional potential for an RAC audit in your chiropractic practice. And that means a healthier practice for you.