Thursday, December 14, 2017

I Medicare'd It

Michelle Romero, Director at ACSS Health explains how you should be using the Human Services website as a resource. I have been working in different capacities within the medical billing industry for years now.

Even with all that experience though, I still often encounter questions and issues that leave me baffled. Unfortunately, a quick Google search can often yield conflicting answers to queries, not to mention an overwhelming amount of responses. In times like these when I don’t have the answer to industry-related questions, I turn to the experts. And no one is more authoritative on Medicare matters than well, Medicare.

 

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If you are working in private practice, HumanServices.gov.au should be bookmarked. Medicare’s own website has everything you need to know about claiming. You want to know what form to use to apply for a new provider number? Human Services knows. You want to find out how long it takes for bulk billed services get paid? Human Services will tell you. It’s not just a place to go to when you need something either. I, for one, check it out every week to see if there’s anything new on the website. They post relevant news (like this one on an Australian government review on Medicare card access) and helpful updates (like this important one on late lodgements). I’m telling you: They may not post updates very often, but when they do, you’d want to know about it. If you’re working on Windows, just go to HumanServices.gov.au then hit Ctrl+D to save the site to your bookmarks. You won’t regret it! If you use an RSS reader, you can also subscribe to their feeds through their news page, or if you prefer, you can get regular news highlights sent to your email address. Their website also has accessibility options, letting you listen to the articles that they post. You can even download them for listening later.

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Another thing you can do on Medicare’s website that you might not know you could is to take some eLearning programs about a variety of topics. There is one on AIR education for vaccination providers, for example. Or you might want to look at something like their course on Treatment of Skin Lesions. The modules come in the form of interactive slides. Their programs are very helpful, with specific examples to help you understand the topic. Many of the courses even have case studies and questions to determine your grasp of the subject. I’m not an expert on skin lesions, but after going through their program, I have a better indication of what can or cannot be claimed. Or if you prefer, they also have text guides that aren’t in a slide format. Their guide on multi-item billing, for example, is just a long article on the topic. However, with the sample scenarios and example item codes mentioned, it’s easier for you to get what they’re trying to say.

LOGIN
If you are a healthcare provider, you can create a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account through their website too. The account allows you to access specific government services, such as Health Professional Online Services (HPOS). Once you’re logged in to PRODA, you can use HPOS to complete some tasks, like submitting Medicare Webclaims, updating your banking details or checking Medicare numbers. It’s not a full-fledged online claiming system, but if you just want to do the basics, then you could do worse than HPOS.

NEXT PAGE
With the increase in the number of things that can be done through Medicare’s website comes a growth in number of visitors. Estimates say that people visit the Human Services website 3 to 6 million times a month. Back in 2013, they didn’t even get to 800,000 visits. It won’t rival Google any time soon (3.5 billion searches per day!), but HumanServices.gov is fast becoming an important resource for people in our industry. It’s not bad timing therefore that they are trying out a new website design. You can check out the alternate site and provide feedback. I personally am so used to the current layout that the change is rather striking, but the trial site really does look cleaner and is better organised. Make sure to leave them some feedback. If there’s anyone who would benefit from Medicare’s website being improved, it’s people like me, who rely on them for information day in and day out, and it’s people like you, who work in clinics and private practices. A better Medicare website means easier access to important information, and we could all use that. What do you think of the Human Services website’s new design? Do you like it? What else do you use their website for?











Michelle Romero, Director at ACSS Health

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