Why is an internal audit plan essential for healthcare practices?
An article by the AMA “13 reasons your practice should have a medical record audit” quotes Deborah J. Grider as saying that an audit “is a preventive measure if done at least once a year.”
What does an audit prevent?
One key risk is governmental investigational auditors.
On CMS’ Recovery Audit Program webpage, it states: “CMS often receives referrals of potential improper payments from the MACs, UPICs, and Federal investigative agencies (e.g., OIG, DOJ).”
As a sample, here are the Approved Recovery Audit Topics required of all Medicare health care insurers (MAC) related to evaluation and management services.
In the 2018 AMA article Avoid these missteps to slash your medical coding audit risk, the author writes:
The OIG also warns against billing for services:
- You did not actually render.
- Were not medically necessary.
- Were performed by an improperly supervised or unqualified employee.
- Were performed by an employee who has been excluded from participation in the federal health care programs.
- That were of such low quality that they are virtually worthless.
- That were already included in the global fee, such as billing for an E/M service the day after surgery.
What about private insurers?
As of 2019, Blue Cross states: “Blue Cross follows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 1995/1997 and CPT E/M selection guides for these services.” Most private insurers follow the policies and guidelines published by CMS and the AMA.
An internal audit plan is essential to ensure that your practice stays healthy.
There are many firms that offer compliance services. Compliance is often the topic of conferences, webinars, in-services, and articles. As a result, many practices have a compliance plan.
The operational questions are:
When was the last time you reviewed your compliance plan?
What topics in the compliance plan are not being followed?