As the COVID-19 pandemic surges across the country, practically every aspect of healthcare continues to change – and medical billing is no exception. With so many seismic shifts in how healthcare is delivered, facilities of all types must increasingly adapt to new and advanced medical billing procedures to accommodate ever-growing changes. Here are some of the many factors that will continue to affect medical billing as the pandemic evolves:
New medical codes
Perhaps one of the most obvious changes to medical billing from COVID-19 is the introduction of new medical codes. Medical billers must now utilize hundreds of new codes related to telehealth services, as well as treatments related to COVID-19. Because medical billing departments have struggled to keep up with the latest codes being released, many healthcare providers have found great value in outsourcing coding services to ensure that medical billing is handled correctly.
Rise of telehealth
The dramatic rise of telehealth services has also played a major role in shifting the way in which patients are billed. Within the past few months, new guidelines have been established stating that telehealth visits can be paid for by Medicare at the same rate as traditional in-person services – regardless of whether or not a visit is related to COVID-19. Additionally, providers can now bill for telehealth visits pertaining to a variety of services, such as patient consultations and medical screening exams.
Increase in patient-friendly payment plans
The unexpected toll of COVID-19 has left many patients with exceedingly high medical expenses – resulting from a combination of astronomical hospital bills and unemployment factors associated with the pandemic. This has led several healthcare providers to work with local financial institutions in offering patients with zero-interest payment plans. This shift in billing has significantly eased the financial burdens of families affected by COVID-19 and has made timely medical care more accessible to the public during this tumultuous time.
With much of the healthcare industry being impacted by COVID-19, facilities must be vigilant in preparing for more medical billing changes in the future. A commitment to adapting to new practices will help organizations navigate financial hardships and overcome challenges that lie ahead.
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