Changes to healthcare and its billing system occur quite frequently, often creating huge obstacles for primary healthcare providers. And let’s just face it. The way things were done ten years ago is very different from the accepted policies of today, and not everyone is always ready to jump aboard.
So, when a new change comes through the pipes, creating new opportunities and even generating more revenue, primary healthcare providers should take note. They should immediately begin utilizing any new billing methods, ensuring their involvement in anything that even faintly resembles a step in the right direction.
For example, CPT Code 96127, introduced back in January of 2015, may be billed for emotional and mental health assessments, enabling primary care physicians to conduct screenings that can generate up to $24 per patient. But this exciting new standard is not just about billing. In fact, the estimation of its reach is nearly immeasurable. And it’s exciting, to say the least!
Just imagine that patients who come into the office for an appointment may be screened via an iPad in the waiting room, or they may even engage in assessments BEFORE the office visit even occurs, using downloadable applications and online screening tools. The findings of these assessments can then sent to the physician, who will have the opportunity to even remotely check on the mental health of the patient, whenever he has the time available to do so.
Not only will this provide the convenience of “getting to the root of the problem” via the use of digital instruments, but it may also alert a physician to underlying situations that could be triggering physical conditions, therefore actually cutting down on the time spent on the diagnosis. As that numerous health conditions may be caused by mental or emotional trauma, this will even lead to more accurate forms of treatment.
And the good news is that not only will these screenings and assessments save time with the diagnosis, but they can further streamline the PCP’s practice. For example, patients will not need to fill out lengthy surveys when they have an office visit, and administrative personnel will not need to spend valuable time distributing these surveys. Even going a step further, physicians will not need to use time that could be spent with a patient assessing the findings of the screenings and applying the results. Instead, patients will be able to participate in screenings and assessments via their own smartphones and tablets, whether in the office or in the comfort of their own homes. Really… how cool is THAT?
And when the relationship between a patient and a physician is put under the spotlight, one of the most important factors at play is whether or not the patient will stay engaged throughout the course of their treatment, allowing for a much higher rate for a positive outcome. Chances are that some patients have never sought help from a mental healthcare professional, and experiencing an assessment for the first time from a trusted physician will definitely open the door to further care from a therapist, should it be needed.
When searching for the best way to screen and assess patients for emotional or mental healthcare needs, primary care physicians should be sure to provide an easy-to-use platform, encouraging patients to continue to work with their primary care physicians to regulate their mental healthcare needs. Mentegram has a library full of instruments that may be used to detect signs of anxiety, depression, and PTSD… just to name a few.
The PHQ-9 is a wonderful example of a screening that can be utilized to find existing mental health conditions in patients. Utilizing a simplistic sliding scale, patients may weigh in on the emotions that they have been experiencing, including losing interest in daily activities and feeling down or depressed, along with trouble staying awake, falling asleep or even sleeping too much.
You may also find more detailed information regarding the new code and screenings at How to Increase Revenue with the NEW Behavioral or Emotional Assessment CPT Code 96127 or 3 Online Screenings That Can Be Billed With CPT Code 96127.
If you are interested in how these instruments could be beneficial for your practice, please feel free to check out Mentegram, and begin screening and assessing patients today!