From the Field

From the Field: New Frequency of Hemodialysis Local Coverage Determinations

Sarah Tolson Effective March 1, 2019, several Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) began processing claims for hemodialysis treatments under new Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs). These LCDs underwent massive revisions after the proposed LCDs released in 2017 would have essentially eliminated reimbursement for more than three treatments per week because they were so strict. Medicare, the largest payer in the United States ... Read More »

From the Field: 40 Years of Lessons from Work and Life

After 19 years at Sceptre Management Solutions, the time has come for me to step aside. My wife and I sold the business last year to our oldest daughter, Jennifer Hicks, who has worked with us since 2001. She has an MBA and is incredibly smart and very talented. I stayed on during the past year to help during the ... Read More »

From the Field: Patient Payments Part 2

Last issue I mentioned that a social worker commented to me that she wishes providers would stop trying to collect from patients. She said providers “make enough money” and wondered why they feel the need to collect from patients who cannot afford their large coinsurances and deductibles. She pointed out that increasing pressure on patients to pay for coinsurances and ... Read More »

Growing Pressure on Renal Patients to Pay Out-of-Pocket

By Rick Collins At a conference I attended recently, a social worker lamented how much grief is placed on dialysis patients due to the large bills they receive from renal providers. She openly wondered why providers feel they need to bill patients since they already are paid “a lot” by Medicare and commercial insurance companies. When I first entered the ... Read More »

From the Field: I LIKE “POP”

Rick Collins CMS’s Patients Over Paperwork (POP) initiative signals welcome relief from decades of increasingly oppressive documentation requirements. While the proposed changes to evaluation and management services (E&M) coding levels have grabbed headlines due to concerns about possible reduced reimbursement, there is great value in allowing providers to focus more on patient care and less on documentation. For years providers ... Read More »

From the Field: Stop Throwing Away Your Money, Part 2

Rick Collins In the last issue of Nephrology Times I addressed two common ways in which healthcare providers spend money needlessly. The first was employing management personnel with no financial training and the second was contracting with incompetent vendors. While incompetent managers and vendors may be giving an honest effort, there are, unfortunately, managers and vendors that are intentionally dishonest ... Read More »

From the Field: Stop Throwing Away Your Money, Part I

By Rick Collins I am sickened by the many ways in which providers wind up spending money needlessly based on faulty or incomplete information. In this first of two articles, I identify two of the four most common areas which cause providers to waste money and make poor decisions. Employees in Authority Without Financial Skills In my experience, the most ... Read More »

From the Field: Tips for Contract Negotiations

Rick Collins Tips for Contract Negotiations The emergence of Parsabiv™ (etelcalcetide) has spotlighted holes in provider contracts that resulted in lost reimbursement for renal providers. The loss of reimbursement could have been prevented in many cases had payer contracts been negotiated more wisely. In this month’s article we will look at contract terms that providers should avoid. While the examples ... Read More »

From the Field: KNOCKED SENSIPARLESS

Rick Collins Chief Operating Officer Sceptre Management Solutions, Inc.   KNOCKED SENSIPARLESS Patients and providers using Sensipar® (cinacalcet) and Parsabiv™ (etelcalcetide) are experiencing significantly increased financial liability due to inconsistent coverage of the drugs by payers and the dramatic increase in the coinsurance amount assigned by Medicare Part B. The biggest causes of potential lost reimbursement for providers are Medicare ... Read More »

From the Field: Losing Money by “Saving” Money

By Rick Collins and Sarah Tolson It is a saying I have never forgotten. “For a company to make a profit, you can cut costs or bring in more money. I prefer to bring in more money.” These words were spoken by the owner of a small company that was struggling to make ends meet. Over the years, I have ... Read More »