It’s ALIVVVEE! Here’s What You Need to Know about MIPS.

This is the first in a series of articles about MIPS. Stay tuned to this blog for additional information about MIPS and Eyefinity product updates.

Since CMS released the final rule on October 14, MIPS has been a popular topic on news sites, blogs, and Facebook posts.

So, what do you need to know about MIPS and how does it affect your practice? Read on to get the scoop.

What’s MIPS?

MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Program System) is a Medicare payment program that is intended to incentivize eligible clinicians (ECs) to focus on the quality of care rather than quantity of care.

In a nutshell, MIPS streamlines and combines meaningful use and PQRS. MIPS does not apply to hospitals; it applies to individual clinicians.

Clinicians will be scored based on the following areas in 2017:

Category Explanation Value
Quality Formerly PQRS and CQMs 60%
Advancing Care Information Formerly meaningful use 25%
Clinical Practice Improvement Expanding hours improving outreach, etc. 15%

The lion’s share, 75%, is accomplished using a certified EHR—completing measures and quality reporting currently associated with meaningful use and PQRS. Data collection begins in 2017.

A fourth category, Cost, will be added in 2018. Cost will be based on episode-specific costs as reported on claims.

What’s at stake?

Payment adjustments start at 4% in 2019 and ramp up quickly to 9% in 2022. Since MIPS is required to be revenue neutral, the program applies a penalty to the bottom performing ECs to pay incentives to the top performing. Given that payment adjustment can be up to 9% in 2022, ECs can expect to see an 18-point spread in Medicare payments. That means serious money to some ECs.

Payment Year 2019 2020 2021 2022 and beyond
Max Adjustment 4% 5% 7% 9%

MIPS is designed to make ECs compete in quality performance. Since MIPS takes money from lower performing ECs and pays it to higher performing ECs, there’s a lot of incentive for ECs to bring their A-game.

Keep your eye on this blog for more MIPS information.

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Masoud Nafey, OD

Happy AOA Paraoptometric Recognition Week!

In an effort to recognize the dedication and commitment of Certified Paraoptometric (CPO) professionals in the optometric field, The American Optometric Association (AOA) has designated September 18 to 24 as Paraoptometric Recognition Week. People with CPO letters listed after their name have achieved national recognition via certification, demonstrating their understanding of the concepts and vocabulary used in optometric care.

posterAchieving certification is not an easy task, which is exactly why Eyefinity has challenged our employees to make the grade. Here’s the break down of what the certification tests: basic science (29%), clinical principles and procedures (37%), ophthalmic optics and dispensing (18%), and professional issues (16%).

Why is CPO certification so important to Eyefinity employees?

 

“The more we understand the industry, the more we know about a day in the life of our customers,” says Rebecca Johnson, Director of Education. “We need to understand their business the best we can to ensure we provide the best solution we can.”rebecca-headshot

Rebecca adds, “We want to go beyond providing software to help manage a practice, we need to understand ‘the why.'” Why providing the appropriate code for an eye examination is important; why cycloplegic drugs are used to dilate eyes; and why anti-reflective coating makes a difference for the patient. By studying for and receiving certification, we gain an understanding beyond that of just software. We understand the terminology, process, and workflow, which makes us better equipped to develop and support intuitive software solutions for you, our customers.

“We’ve seen a growth in the comfort level of our employees,” says Jeff Lombardi, Director of Customer Care. “They’re proud to have ‘CPO’ attached to their signature lines because they feel a better connection with our community and have a better understanding of the industry topics.”

So to join the celebration of Paraoptometric Recognition week, Eyefinity would like to recognize the following employees who have achieved Paraoptometric certification:

Andrew Lee
Blake Leeper
Briggs Mushrush
Candy Reiser
Carrie Chambers
Chris Rankin
Chris Rickard
CJ “Chris” Johnson
Crystal Marchand
David Silva
Dean Davis
Don Hudson
Donora Wichmann
Doreen Stanley
Ed Schaub
Elaine Thomas
Ethan Eldridge
Gary Sandler
Glorius Tran
Harriette Harrington
Hien Le
Isaac Kinter
Jane Maramba
James Deveraux
Janell Galindez
Jeff Wainscott
Jenny Royer
Jim Saeturn
John Xiong
Josh Sweetow
Juanisha Darby
Kim Ice
Kris Garcia
Kristen Ramer
Kyle Kerrigan
Linda Park
Loren Riley
Lorriane O’Brochta
Marissa Struve
Marsha Vaughn
Matt Speer
Melody Counts
Michael Opsteegh
Mike Smith
Nichelle Ritterhoff
Nick Brown
Nigeria Muhammad
Pang Vang
Paula Thomas
Phillip Rubio
Rachel Meyer
Rajesh Hegde
Rebecca Johnson
Rhonda Regguinti
Rob Allen
Rodolpho Esparza
Sarah Gallegos
Shane Bagley
Sharif Hassan
Sheila Black
Stacey Graves
Steve Aiken
Steve Honesto
Steve Woldford
Sue Fishel
Terry Dixon
Theresa Pfeiffer
Troy Eberlein
Wayne Kunert

If you are a certified Paraoptometric give a shout out using the comment function below so we can highlight you also!

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Electronic Recalls and Reminders are patient engagement functionality you should expect from your practice management system.

Patients are the heart of any practice. Every day optometrists work to help patients from young children to the elderly detect early signs of chronic health conditions, see clearly, and look stylish. How you keep connected to patients determines your ability to monitor and meet their needs and their willingness to recommend you to their friends and family. This makes patient engagement central to your success and something that your practice management system should support you with.

Here are 5 ways to increase your patient engagement:

1. Recalls

“Practices fill about 70% of their appointments through recalls” says Jeff Wainscott, senior product manager for Eyefinity. Your existing patients are the life blood of your practice.  Text based recalls are quickly becoming the most effective way to prompt patients to schedule their routine eye exam.  Texts are less evasive than a phone call and have a much higher open rate than email.

2. Reminders

Reminding patients of their upcoming appointments are one of the easiest ways to generate a relationship outside of the practice. For the busy individuals out there, getting reminded of an appointment a few days before would be ideal and beneficial. Not only does it make a practice look organized and thoughtful, but also shows the effort a practice puts in to ensure that patients are taken care of for their appointment. Again, texting has emerged as a leading way for a practice to remind patients to show up for their appointment.  Texts are typically opened within 6 minutes of being received and can achieve response rates (confirmations) above 40%.

3. Resources

A bulk of a practice’s remaining appointments are generated through their website, social media and advertising. How does one reach patients not in their recall list? Back in the day the yellow pages seemed to do just well, but ever since technology, the art of flipping through  pages has evolved  into “just Google it.” Online advertisements, pop-up ads, promotions, etc. are plastered all over the internet. Easily accessed by anyone who might be looking for a new optometrist or a simple check-up. Google dominates website searches by generating over 80% of traffic to a website while Facebook pages and Yelp reviews provide patients with content that may ultimately determine whether or not someone walks into a practice. Makes one think twice about starting a new Facebook page huh?

4. Reports (Online Forms)

Options are great! Imagine arriving to the optometrist’s office already having completed and submitted your information online.  No printing, no writing, no paper forms.  You were able to provide the information online when it was convenient for you. Having the option to make things easier or more accessible shows the adaptation of advancement within a practice.

5. Reviews

How would the public know a practice is any good?  “All practices must have a review process” says Jeff Wainscott. Going back to number 2, technology is easily accessed by anyone and everyone. Meaning a new patient may come walking in through the door just because of a good review located on the internet. Reviews are everything, Yelp was basically built around them, and to have them allows a practice to build relationships with patients before walking through the door.

Compelling reasons for why your practice management system should be as invested in patient engagement as you are.

 

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Upcoming ICD-10 Changes

oct1CMS is making some changes to the ICD-10-CM codes, effective October 1, 2016. In some cases, CMS added new codes and retired others. In other cases, only the description associated with the code changed.

Although these changes are not nearly as sweeping as the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 last year, there are some similarities:

  • October 1 is the so-called “cutover date.” The updated codes apply only to claims with a service date of October 1 or later. Claims with a service date of September 30 or earlier will continue to use the current codes.
  • Eyefinity has your back. We’re currently updating Eyefinity EHR and ExamWRITER to properly code your exams based on the selections you make during the exam and the date of service. In other words, keep coding the way you always have, and we’ll take care of the rest. We’re also updating the ICD-10 codes in our practice management systems for billing and reporting.
  • Billers should familiarize themselves with the changes. Billers should be prepared to verify that the correct codes are appearing on claims

Eyefinity has identified over 400 ICD-10 changes that apply to eyecare. Code changes to the following areas take effect on October 1, 2016:

  • Diabetes
  • Retinal vein occlusion
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Primary open-angle glaucoma
  • Amblyopia
  • Postprocedural hematoma or seroma

We anticipate that CMS will modify ICD-10 codes slightly every year.

We’re adding the ICD-10 changes to OfficeMate/ExamWRITER now, which will be available in a service pack in September. You’ll need to download and install the service pack before October 1 to avoid any disruption in billing.

Eyefinity EHR, Eyefinity Practice Management, and AcuityLogic updates are scheduled in September and will include all of the ICD-10 updates.

To read more about the ICD-10 changes taking effect on October 1, check out CMS’ ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines.

New Videos Available on the Meaningful Use Resource Center

To help users in the daunting process of Modified Stage 2, Eyefinity has put together a resource center dedicated to achieve meaningful use in any practice.

“Users will have a choice of using the written documentation, or watching the videos when they move through the meaningful use process,” says Rebecca Johnson, Director of Education.

The resource center includes videos and written documentation that explain each measure, describe any available exclusion, and give you step-by-step instructions on how to achieve each measure using Eyefinity software.

The training videos and documentation that are available on the resource center are useful for doctors who may be low on a particular measure as well as for training new staff to help them participate in helping the practice achieve its meaningful use goals.

Eyefinity offers these additional solutions to ensure that practices have everything they need to run a successful and thriving business.

Useful Links:

Meaningful Use Resource Center: https://www.officemate.net/mu_resources.aspx

Eyefinity Training & Education: https://www.officemate.net/training.aspx

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Eyefinity Making Strides in Practice Management AND Customer Service

When it comes to practice management, Eyefinity “solutions work for you;” when it comes to customer service, Eyefinity people are there for you.

Let’s meet Rachel Meyer, EdD, CPO, Rhonda Reguinti, CPO and Marissa Struve, CPO – three of 45 employees who have received training and certification from Miller Heiman Institute (M.H.I.) Global, the world’s most powerful sales and service performance company. Moving forward, “these three fabulous women will expand the training they received to all our teams and locations in the coming months” says Rebecca Johnson, Director of Education.

Rachel, Rhonda and Marissa in Chicago

Rachel Meyer, Rhonda Reguinti and Marissa Struve at the 2016 M.H.I. Global Certification Classes in Chicago

What does that mean for you?

Being customer centric and working from the foundations of respect, simplicity, solutions and responsibility are key aspects that these ladies have learned in the M.H.I. Global curriculum. “Keeping [you] in mind with these focal points will help us continue to pursue excellence in customer care” says Rachel Meyer. This enables the staff to quickly assess your problem, provide a solution and meet your needs.

Delivering a strong personalized customer experience is exactly how Eyefinity is making strides in the EHR and practice management industry while also benefiting the needs of you, the customer.

Upcoming Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Deadline

Summer’s here, and the July 4 holiday weekend is around the corner. Before packing your bags or lighting up the grill, take a moment to review the meaningful use hardship exception guidelines. The deadline to apply for a hardship exception and avoid a 2017 payment adjustment is July 1 at 11:59 pm ET.

You do not need to file a hardship exception if any one of these scenarios applies to you:

  • You successfully demonstrated meaningful use in 2015;
  • You’re a hospital-based provider; or
  • You’re a new eligible professional who began filing Medicare or Medicaid claims in 2015.

A hardship exception could exempt you from Medicare payment penalties in 2017 if you failed to achieve meaningful use in 2015 and you met one of the following circumstances:

  • Insufficient internet connectivity
  • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (a natural disaster, practice closure, bankruptcy, failure of your certified EHR)
  • Lack of certified EHR availability
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction or follow up

There’s no hardship exemption for not knowing about the Modified Stage 2 meaningful use changes that were published in October.

The timeline for hardship exceptions and payment adjustments can be confusing since the payment adjustments occur two years after the participation year.

If you failed to participate in this calendar year… File for a hardship exception by this date… To avoid a payment adjustment in this year…
2015 July 1, 2016 2017
2016 TBD 2017 2018

For more information, refer to the following resources: