Therapy Industry Trends Discussed at ASHA’s 2019 Convention

The TheraPlan team recently attended the 2019 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention in our home city of Orlando, Florida. We always love interacting with therapists and clinic owners like. At this event, there was ample opportunity for us to discuss industry trends with members of the speech therapy community. Along with our partner companies, EEP billing agency, Clinic Connection, and EligiPro, we personally addressed providers’ major worries regarding documentation, billing, and more. Here is a summary of some of the themes we heard.

It was no surprise that several therapy practice owners told us that their biggest challenge is keeping up the flow of their revenue cycle. Dealing with the complications presented by insurance reimbursement can make this feel impossible. Since TheraPlan was founded by therapy billing experts, we fully understand how it feels to spend hours on the phone with insurance companies and to always be frustrated about things like appeals. Industry regulations and commercial insurance requirements seem to be constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up. This is precisely why we work so closely with EEP billing agency. We know you need experts on your side, and specifically those who specialize in Florida therapy billing. 

In addition to general revenue concerns, many providers approached us with curiosities about how to keep accurate records for specific billing requirements, such as grant programs and Early Intervention treatment. TheraPlan has designed its documentation templates to satisfy the requirements of your local Early Steps programs. You can feel confident that your annual audits will go smoothly when you use TheraPlan’s documentation templates.

Ultimately, the biggest frustration we found amongst ASHA attendees was something that is reflected in many of our interactions with therapy clinic owners every day: a desire to focus on the therapy and patient aspect of the business and spend less time on the admin. We believe you deserve to do so because your practice serves the community in a meaningful way, but also because you became a small business owner in order to experience some of the freedom that implies. In this industry, it can be difficult to leave work behind and have a life of your own, difficult not to spend every moment after hours doing paperwork or trying to make sense of claims, credentialing, etc. 

We know it’s possible to feel you are dedicating yourself to providing the best quality therapy possible while also running an efficient business and keeping it in the black. The detailed nature of TheraPlan’s documentation templates and the convenience of features like the to-do list were our response to real-world clinic owners who came to our booth to discuss their general sense of overwhelm. Our EMR users, who are not limited to the speech therapy discipline, have transformed their practices and we know you can too.

You may want to check out what the EEP billing team encountered at this year’s convention. Missed ASHA and want to chat with us about your own concerns? You can contact us any time. Click here to shoot us an email.

insurance authorizations

Insurance Authorizations 101

When a new patient arrives at your therapy clinic, there are several bases to cover before he or she can be treated. Along with standard intake forms and insurance verification, we recommend checking benefits and requesting an authorization. Following these best practices will protect you from the dreaded scenario in which you perform treatment and do not get paid. Although therapy clinic owners and admins are generally most familiar with the process of obtaining an authorization from an insurance company, it’s wise for therapists to understand the process and act as another set of eyes. Let’s go over the basics: What is an authorization? Insurance authorizations are determinations by a patient’s health insurance carrier that treatments are medically necessary. Since commercial insurance plans consider therapy a specialty, authorizations are required in many cases. Florida Medicaid requires authorization for all therapy disciplines. While an authorization is not a guarantee that the insurance will pay, it is much more likely that benefits will be honored when the authorization is on file. Why should I worry about authorizations as a therapist? You may feel that your responsibilities follow the paperwork process that your admin team normally takes care of. However, if you unknowingly treat a patient without an authorization on file, you could risk spending valuable time treating a patient and not getting paid, or experiencing a lengthy delay in payment time. In addition to the risk of lost revenue for you and your clinic owner, lack of an authorization can throw off your plan of care. Since the details in your plan of care depend upon your expectation of when a patient will meet certain goals, the amount of benefits and number of pre-approved treatments can impact whether you will be able to follow the plan. Keeping an open line of communication with your owner and admins can help you avoid any miscommunication about the type and quantity of treatment you provide your patients. Though you may not be responsible for requesting authorizations or attaching them to a patient’s file, TheraPlan advises that you check to see if there is an authorization assigned to every patient case, especially for new patients. A few moments of due diligence go a long way towards making your treatment plan and payment process as smooth as possible! Want to learn more about insurance authorizations? Check out how TheraPlan eases the job of a therapist by tracking authorizations for you!
audit-guided documentation

Protect Your Florida Therapy Practice with Audit-Guided Documentation

Insurance audits are a reality for therapy clinic owners. Getting audited can be one of the most stressful things to happen to you as a business owner. After all, if you don’t pass an audit, it could mean returning large sums of money to the insurance company. So, what will you need to guarantee compliance? That can vary. Some audits cover your entire practice, while others are specific to a few patients or providers. Here are a few examples of documents you could be expected to provide:  
  • Financial records
  • Daily progress notes
  • Evaluations
  • Plans of care
  • Billing logs
  • Appointment calendars
  • Provider documentation
In short, the more detailed history you keep, the better. Be ready to produce any records that pertain to your practice at any moment. But don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to prepare and, in turn, ease your worries about an insurance audit. First, keep your admin team organized. It is of utmost importance that you and your administrative staff know where to find everything in the event of an audit. This way, you can easily identify if any records are missing or incomplete right away, rather than spending the days allotted trying to locate the pertinent files. This is especially important if your clinic uses paper records. Get those filing cabinets in order! It’s also wise to spend the extra time it takes to set your therapists up for success. This may mean training them on a better way to complete notes or hiring extra admin help to answer their questions and keep an eye out for holes in the system. Review your billing logs in detail to identify areas in which your team of providers could improve. By far the best way to be ready for the dreaded audit is to use electronic medical records (EMR) software. However, just having an EMR is not enough. It should be an EMR that will house everything you need when an audit notice arrives. This way, you’re not referring to the EMR for some details and searching around for others. Unlike generic EMRs, TheraPlan has your back during an audit. Using our 25 years of experience consulting with and billing for therapy clinics of all sizes, we designed TheraPlan according to the audit requirements of Florida Medicaid, Medicare, and Early Steps. If your therapists completely fill out our audit-guided documentation, you’ll have less reason to worry! Want to know more? Read about our audit-guided note templates and other features of our efficient documentation system.