Although it has only been around since early 2015, CPT Code 96127 has been getting more and more attention only recently. However, with not a lot of experience with billing this code, many providers still don’t want to bill it, and even if they wanted to, they don’t know how. Our customers have successfully billed this code. Therefore, we’d like to share our experience and answer the most common questions that you may have about billing CPT code 96127.

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No matter how successful you may be, I think that every private practice could stand a little more cash flow. Someone once said “It takes money to make money”.  And this couldn’t be any more prolific than in the mental healthcare industry, where every dollar earned seems to disappear beneath a pile of bills and overhead costs.

However, some pretty ingenious folks have come up with a few ways to spend a little less and make a whole lot more. So, let’s take a look at how you can increase your practice’s revenue while saving money, leading to a more efficient environment with a continued effort to provide beneficial services to your patients.

 

1. Ditch the Paper

Many practices just don’t realize how much money they waste every year on paper, especially when there are so many products available these days to make the transition to going paperless completely seamless. Get an EHR in place, and have patients complete screenings and surveys via an electronic platform. Not only will these simple changes help the environment and save a bit of money, but your patients will welcome the easy-to-use, time-saving technology!

 

2. Look Over Your Vendor Contracts

Many practices have dealt with the same vendors for years, and they may not even be aware if their contracts are competitive with the current market. Over time, prices generally do go up, but occasionally certain industries may experience a drop in pricing. Always be sure to keep your ear to the ground and know when it may be time to double-check the details with your vendors. Plus, if you receive more than one service or product from a particular company, check on multiple-order discounts, just in case you can save a few extra dollars. Over the course of a year, it all adds up!

 

3. Put a Cancellation Policy in Place

Practices lose thousands of dollars every year to cancellations and no-shows. In fact, some studies have even shown that up to 30% of patients miss or fail to show for their mental healthcare appointments.  So, set a reasonable fee for no-shows and appointments that are cancelled at the last minute, and let’s just see if your patients “remember” their appointments with a bit more regularity. Not only do missed appointments cost a practice money, but there’s an empty slot that could have been filled with a patient that truly needed help.

 

4. Establish a Strong Social Media Presence

These days, social media is about a lot more than changing your Facebook status when you get a new kitten. Using social media to your advantage is just plain smart, because it’s essentially FREE advertising. Who can say “no” to that? Making frequent updates and sharing new posts and blogs are all good ways to draw attention to your practice, all the while establishing a strong connection with your patients, potential patients and the entire community. Imagine the revenue earned from just one new patient, attracted by advertising that didn’t cost you a penny!

 

5. Try to Add One More Patient to Each Office Day

The obvious way to increase your revenue is to see more patients in a day. Think about the extra money that your practice would have if you could fit in just one more patient every day. To achieve this, you must really stay on top of your calendar, and the best way to do this is to use intuitive scheduling software. When you can see your week or month at a glance, it’s easier to become aware of gaps in your schedule, allowing you to potentially see one more patient. This also provides one more opportunity to connect with an individual in need of mental healthcare. It’s truly a win-win!

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.

DEPRESSION PHQ-9

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!

What exactly is CPT Code 96127?

CPT Code 96127 hasn’t been around a long time. In fact, it came into play in January of 2015, after the Affordable Care Act included mental healthcare in insurance plans across the country. CPT Code 96127 is a code that may be used to report brief behavioral or emotional assessments for reimbursement. These assessments may include any standardized screening instruments that will provide both scoring and further documentation to the healthcare provider.

Who can bill with CPT Code 96127?

Guess what? Not only therapists and mental healthcare providers can benefit from the use of CPT Code 96127. Screenings are often used in all sorts of medical practices, from OB/GYN offices screening for depression or anxiety, to pediatric settings utilizing children’s behavioral assessments or screenings for adolescent eating disorders.

What procedures are there for billing CPT Code 96127?

This part is simple. All patients can be at risk of having a mental illness, especially those who are experiencing ongoing medical problems. Data and scoring must be provided for the screenings that are conducted, and a generalized course of treatment should be selected.

Who reimburses billing using CPT Code 96127?

CPT Code 96127 is reimbursed by many major insurance companies, including Cigna, Humana, Aetna, Anthem and Medicare.

Where can I find standardized screening instruments to use with CPT Code 96127?

Mentegram has a library full of online tools that range from detailed surveys to simple sliding scales that can be used to bill with CPT Code 96127. Mental healthcare providers may also use these tools to help reduce and even replace paperwork, saving valuable time in administration by screening the patients and monitoring their progression, even in between appointments.

If you are interested in learning more about the CPT code 96127 and how Mentegram can help you, continue here:

Screen your patients faster. Let Mentegram help you save time and start billing with CPT Code 96127 today!

DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that Mentegram is a software company, and do not consider content on our website as legal advice. It is your responsibility to decide to act on this content, relinquishing Mentegram of all claims. The information that we share is either what has worked well for our customers or curated content of the best practices from authorities.
We don’t consider ourselves billing consultants and experts. If you aren’t sure, please consult the particular insurance company or billing consultant for additional information.

One of the biggest struggles for mental health providers is to ensure that patients keep their appointments. In a world where office hours affected by cancellations or missed engagements directly impact private practices in an economic way, new methods to maintain contact with patients regarding their appointments are essential for continued growth.

Mentegram is pleased to announce a new light-weight calendar for mental health providers that will simplify and streamline appointment scheduling with the clients.  In an environment where the preservation of time is essential and overall efficiency is key, this innovative technology designed to further enhance products created to benefit clinicians and their practices can produce optimal results.

If you are tired of missed appointments and idle time spent on no-shows and late arrivals, this new scheduling system in Mentegram will ensure that patients are reminded of the date and time of their appointments with easily scheduled reminders. This basic process will spearhead the agenda to dramatically cut down on efforts to follow up on and reschedule appointments, therefore allowing for:

  • More time to be allocated
  • More office visits
  • More patients

The entire scheduling process can ultimately be simplified by just a few clicks with this time-saving new tool!

WeeklyView

This easy-to-use interface can assist in maintaining a reliable connection between the patient and their clinician regarding scheduling and their appointments. This calendar allows therapist to schedule appointments and send patient reminders directly within the Mentegram application, therefore eliminating the need for additional programs that take up space and offer no additional benefits or conveniences.

Utilizing such tools as a bridge between mental health providers and their patients is the obvious next step toward further encouraging patient engagement and enhancing the importance of maintaining a regular schedule for appointments. Patients will receive reminders for their visits, negating the need to call in to the office to confirm dates and times. Changes to appointments are also documented, ensuring that therapists always has accessibility to the latest and most accurate calendar for their appointments. Reminders may be sent to the patient right away when an appointment is put on the calendar, or they can be notified 24 hours or three days in advance of the date. The settings may be tailored for each individual patient, therefore providing the most advantageous time frame for ensuring that the appointment is kept.

new appointments

The good news is that mental health providers will not need to spend valuable time learning to use a new application. This simple, intuitive calendar allows for quick, straightforward scheduling and an uncomplicated presentation of the day, week or month at a glance.

Try Mentegram’s new feature today, and you will find that you may simplify your scheduling process by using just one tool to manage so many important facets of your organizational efforts. Why wait? Sign in and schedule your first appointment now!

A friend who works as a surgical nurse at a large hospital was recently sick with a sinus infection. She told me it would have gotten better, “except I kept forgetting to take the medication my doctor gave me.” Luckily she didn’t experience any subsequent problems from the infection and it eventually resolved (albeit somewhat slower than it might have if she hadn’t missed a few doses of the antibiotic).

This was a healthy young woman with significant training in the field of medicine. Now imagine a person with a more complicated picture trying to remember which medications to take and when to take them. Perhaps this individual is cognitively impaired or mentally ill. Perhaps they have a substance abuse problem or another issue that alters their sleep-wake cycle and all of a sudden they’re missing doses left and right.

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With the new year, people all over the country have resolved to make important changes in their lives, whether that is losing weight, quitting smoking, or exercising.

If you run a mental health practice, I am here to urge you to modernize your practice by better screening your patients in 2016. It not only makes clinical sense, it makes business sense as well. Let’s break this down, shall we?

Screen at intake, and at every visit

Patient screening is important in preventing misdiagnoses. For example studies conducted by Heidi Combs, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, found that 25% – 50% of patients diagnosed for major depression in fact suffer from bipolar-disorder, and 90% of patients with generalized anxiety disorder have another Axis I disorder in their lifetimes and 66% have one concurrently. (1)

Misdiagnosis can not only lead to choosing the wrong approach, but also weaken the therapeutic relationship and contribute to failure of treatment.  A risk compounded further if you’re are prescribing medication.

Patients should also be re-screened at every visits. These re-screens help you chart patient’s treatment progress, also uncover new events important to your intervention, and identify weaknesses in your therapeutic approach that could derail progress. Patients who are re-screened report stronger therapeutic relationship and faster symptom reduction.

Screen on robust cloud-based electronic solution

I am shocked very time we encounter a practice with paper-based screening processes. These systems needlessly expose patients’ data to privacy breach, waste staff time, and lead to scoring errors. Worst of all, almost without exception, practices without robust screening infrastructure waste the opportunity to effectively work with the patient during their visit. The screens go unscored and the clinicians waste the precious face-to-face time without the updated information contained in the unscored screening instrument. Modern screening solutions not only securely collet patient responses, they score them immediately and automatically, can automatically generate alerts of important development (e.g. patient endorsing suicidality) and most importantly, the results are automatically shared with the clinician. It’s a no brainer to upgrade to an electronic screening solution.

Bill for screening your patients

It goes without saying that important clinical services that cost you staff time should be reimbursable, and well-documented screening is. Luckily, screening services are billable through several codes. The clinician’s time spent interpreting complex histories (e.g. multiple screens and additional historical information) is also reimbursable, and we have also seen psychiatric offices use the screening results to justify filling patient visit at higher level of complexity. In all, we seen per-patient monthly revenue rise by more than $90.

So there you have it folks, screening is evidence-based, clinical best-practice, when done electronically it helps you get more out of every visit, and is reimbursable – in short, screening makes clinical and business sense. So commit to upgrading your patient screening processes in 2016.

Igor Holas, PhD is a co-founder and the Chief of Science at Mentegram, Inc. The Mentegram suite helps psychiatrists better plan, coordinate, and deliver care; including a robust patient-screening solution. Find out more about Mentegram, or request a demo.

Today we unveiled a brand new interface for Mentegram Instrument Library, improving the experience of assigning instruments to clients. We focused on making the experience better for both clinicians new to Mentegram, and those of you with us from the very beginning. The Mentegram public library has been quickly expanding with treatment prompts, worksheets, assessments and more and the old interface made it difficult to find what you were looking for. No more.

(NB: Stay tuned for more exciting news on our Public Library very soon!),

When you add a new client, or assign a new instrument to an existing one, you will find a new user experience that lets you zero-in on precisely what you’re looking for. Whether it’s a video for an adolescent client, a depression assessment for parents of a child client, or a daily gratitude journal for an adult. Using familiar and effective filtering, you can easily find what you’re looking for.

So, log into your Mentegram dashboard, and take the new library for a spin!

Have you begun to notice a disconnect with one or more of your clients since their initial therapy session? It’s not uncommon to see a decline in client retention following their first behavioral assessment. In fact, according to PsychoTherapy.net, nearly 20-57% (depending on the study) of first time patients do not return to therapy at all. This staggering statistic is greatly influenced by a number of factors including, relationship alliance between the clinician and the client, client persistence and motivation, and most importantly the models and techniques constructed by the clinician for their clients.

Research shows that by using feedback techniques or questionnaires to measure client success and fulfillment in therapy, clinicians may be able to decrease the dropout rate by nearly 50-65%. Clinicians look at these assessments as an intervention in the stages of early gains and believe they are an essential tool for client engagement and a mutual therapeutic alliance.

Questionnaires for Client Retention:

Questionnaires and feedback techniques commonly used are the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire), and the GAD-7 (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Clinicians may also benefit from the therapy and feedback questionnaire designed specifically for Mentegram users.

Frequent use of these questionnaires often demonstrates progress and may impact greater client retention. Many clinicians implement these instruments into every session – with that being said, that’s a lot to manage. So, how can we streamline their workload to employ more efficient, and effective methods? Simply, with Mentegram.

Make a Difference with Mentegram:

Mentegram’s user friendly dashboard and online application allows both clinicians and clients real-time access to therapy notes, assignments, questionnaires and more. Mentegram removes the hassle of pen and paper while implementing a more effective form of treatment readily at your fingertips. Mentegram refers to this as Progress Monitoring. Leveraging Mentegram to employ online questionnaires and surveys, clinicians are able to more accurately measure care progress before, during, and after a session. Mentegram’s online app offers clinicians tools from a public library, or allows them to build their own – unlike traditional methods. Construct effective treatment plans to maintain client retention with Mentegram’s online questionnaires. Try Mentegram’s 30-day trial absolutely FREE!

Mentegram Session Feedback Form

If you’ve experienced a decline in client retention, it may be due to a lack of alliance during therapy sessions. These methods have proven successful in scaling a client’s mood and perception of therapy, and their alliance with their therapist. Alliance problems tend to emerge when client goals do not fit the clinician’s own sensibilities about what they need. Leveraging feedback questionnaires through Mentegram, clinicians can assess a client’s mood and goals in real-time. Try Mentegram and change lives today!

Click the link to learn more about how it works – https://mentegram.com/improve-your-client-retention/

Sources:
Bertolino, B. (2014). Better: Four Strategies to Improve Therapeutic Outcomes
http://www.phqscreeners.com/
https://heartandsoulofchange.com/content/measures/login.php
https://www.psychotherapy.net/article/therapy-effectiveness

Today we released another hotly anticipated feature. We have built a way for you to administer screens in office using any internet connected device.

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