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.

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.

Taking the Show on the Road

ExamWRITER Educational Event logoWhat do Orlando, Phoenix, Houston, Pittsburgh, Boston, and San Francisco have in common? Give up? They are all destinations for ExamWRITER Educational Events in 2012. That’s right, we’re taking the show on the road, and we’re coming to a city near you!

It can be difficult at times to focus and fully engage with online training with the competing priorities that arise in the office. Sometimes it’s better to schedule time outside of the office where you can focus on training and learn how to get the most out of your ExamWRITER software. The ExamWRITER Educational Events are a great way to escape the distractions of the office and learn the advanced features of ExamWRITER in a hands-on setting. These interactive, in-depth workshops offer valuable face-time with experienced corporate trainers and industry experts.

These advanced courses for experienced ExamWRITER users are two days (Friday and Saturday). If you’re new to ExamWRITER, we strongly encourage you also to take the Thursday course for a total of three days (Thursday–Saturday).

In addition to the ExamWRITER training, we’re now also offering concurrent OfficeMate training in Orlando and Pittsburgh. This Friday–Saturday hands-on training will enable office staff to learn how to better manage the practice with the advanced features in the latest version of OfficeMate.

It is becoming increasingly important that your office harnesses the full power of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER. The ExamWRITER Educational Events are a great way to invest in the productivity and profitability of your office.

For dates, locations, and costs go to officemate.net/ossu_extension.aspx.

Phernell Walker Wins the Beverly Myers Achievement Award!

Congratulations to Phernell Walker, II, AS, NCLC, ABOM, an Eyefinity Implementation Consultant, for receiving the Beverly Myers Achievement Award from the National Academy of Opticianry (NAO)! This prestigious honor, which was first awarded in 1951, is “bestowed upon persons who have made meritorious contributions or who have rendered outstanding services to the field of ophthalmic optics.”

Phernell is certainly in good company; past recipients of the Beverly Myers Achievement Award include Dr. Jack Copeland, inventor of the modern retinoscope, and Dr. David Volk, developer of the Volk Aspheric Condensing Lenses.

Phernell Walker and Danne Ventura 2011
NAO Immediate Past President Danne Ventura (left) with the 2011 Beverly Myers Achievement Award Recipient, Phernell Walker (right)

Phernell, like each past recipient of the Beverly Myers Achievement Award, has dedicated himself to advancing the field of ophthalmic optics. Phernell has written numerous articles, lectured in 43 states, and even authored the textbook Pure Optics, which is now in its second edition. In addition to these contributions and achievements, Phernell is a Master in Ophthalmic Lenses (ABOM) and is certified by the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLEC) and the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).

Phernell has been a part of the Eyefinity Training and Implementation team since 2007. He provides training on all aspects of Eyefinity software, and represents Eyefinity at many conferences around the country. However, if you can’t make it out to see Phernell in person, you may catch him in an online “ExamWRITER” Ask-the-Expert session.

In response to receiving the Beverly Myers Achievement Award, Phernell states, “I’m excited, yet humbled to know that I’ve helped thousands of Eye Care Professionals, opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists.”

The Eyefinity team is excited for you too, Phernell!

Congratulations again to Phernell for receiving such a prestigious award!

Putting OfficeMate/ExamWRITER to the Test

At the beginning of May, Eyefinity conducted a new and interesting test on its OfficeMate and ExamWRITER software. The outcome of this test will be a positive influence on the release of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER 10.5 this summer, which will improve the experience for all OfficeMate/ExamWRITER users.

SeeLia Mobile Eye Clinic

The SeeLia team helped out in the examination part of the practice simulation test.

Typically, the OfficeMate and ExamWRITER software undergoes a rigorous three-tiered testing regimen before the software is released to our clients. The three tiers include our internal quality assurance (QA) team, alpha test practices, and beta test practices, and each group vigorously looks for flaws and inefficiencies in the software. Alpha and beta practices communicate their evaluations of the software via conference calls or emails at the end of their work days or on the weekends.

Examination in SeeLia

Eyefinity employees volunteered to be patients.

In May, we took it a step further, by inviting some alpha and beta practices to our offices in Irvine to simulate a high-volume practice. We had additional help from VSP’s mobile clinic team, who brought SeeLia down the freeway to our Irvine office. With everyone assembled, conference rooms converted to front desk, dispensary, and check out areas, and SeeLia set up as an examination room, Eyefinity employees participated by receiving eye exams and moving through the patient workflow. Additionally, various scenarios were interjected into the test so that unusual return or billing situations would arise.

ExamWRITER running wirelessly through Terminal Services

Since SeeLia was outside in the parking lot, ExamWRITER communicated wirelessly with the database.

Our alpha and beta testers included doctors, opticians, and other staff who were closely observed by Eyefinity product managers. Having an in-house practice simulation involving staff members from various practices with disparate business practices presented an engaging and strenuous testing environment. Observing the testers as they worked enabled Eyefinity product managers to receive immediate feedback on new and existing features, allowed them to spot inefficiencies in the patient workflow, and helped them to determine what improvements can be made. The immediacy of the feedback and observations was critical to the success of the test immeasurably beneficial to the product managers.

Check out and Scheduling Stations

In addition to the examination room, scheduling, dispensary, and check-out stations were also set up.

The feedback we received during the practice simulation will help us improve v10.5 before it is released later this summer for the benefit of all OfficeMate/ ExamWRITER users.

Attesting to Meaningful Use: Getting Paid to Improve Patient Care

Today’s entry comes from Robert Bass, OD, FAAO

CMS, the HITECH Act, meaningful use? Oh, no!! Improved patient care and stimulus money? Oh, yes!! How to get it done painlessly? OfficeMate and ExamWRITER!!

Dr. Robert Bass

Dr. Bass recently implemented OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 as his certified EHR and has already qualified for stimulus money.

For me, the HITECH Act was initially difficult to understand, especially all of the requirements for meeting meaningful use (MU). OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 made it easy for me to comply with the requirements and document the necessary information. CMS warns that it may take a doctor 10–20 hours to complete the attestation, but I was able to complete it in less than 45 minutes and was successful in my attesting to meaningful use within the first quarter of the reporting year. The OfficeMate/ExamWRITER software was integral in my successful and prompt attestation.

My practice began using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER a little over a year ago and upgraded to the certified v10 on January 3, 2011. Implementing a certified electronic health record (EHR) for meaningful use has raised the level of attention to detail of my staff and myself because we now have to document specific criteria for every patient. This enforces a consistently high level of care from one patient to the next. We have noticed better recordkeeping in such areas as patient demographics, correspondence, and referring doctors. All of these improvements took shape without our having to drastically change how we use OfficeMate and ExamWRITER.

I am looking forward to receiving my incentive check for my compliance, but even more so, I am looking forward to continuing to provide the utmost care for my patients.

I urge all optometrists to implement an EHR, and I recommend that you start now. Each year of the HITECH Act builds on the next, and the incentive payments are reduced each year. In 2011, you can be eligible to receive incentive payments after 90 days of using a certified EHR in a meaningful manner. In the coming years, the attestation period will be longer, and the payments will be smaller. Act today while the rewards are at their highest.

Dr. Bass is a proud alumnus from the College of William and Mary, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He graduated with honors from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1986, Dr. Bass became a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Bass practices optometry in Manassas, Virginia, where ha has practiced for thirty years. An accomplished professional, Dr. Bass is also an avid fisherman and a dedicated family man.

Attesting to Meaningful Use: A Success Story

Today’s entry comes from Lorie Lippiatt, OD.

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt has attested to meaningful use with the help of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10.

To some, coming back to work after the New Year’s Day always feels like a quiet, somber return to reality after the fun festivities of the holidays. But at my practice, it was an exciting return from Christmas break. The office was abuzz because we were going live with our certified software!

We implemented OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 on January 3, 2011, which was the first day we were eligible to demonstrate meaningful use (MU), and began our 90-day attestation period. After registering on the CMS Web site, we were ready to go!

Although we have used OfficeMate/ExamWRITER for many years, the first couple of weeks were a learning experience for my staff and me. Due to the requirements of the MU objectives, we needed to make a point of more carefully documenting our interactions with the patients in OfficeMate and ExamWRITER to ensure that we were meeting the MU Objectives. Thankfully, the fields were clearly identified throughout the program, which made the process easy and straightforward.

Initially, we ran the MU reports in the software daily. We did this to ensure that everyone on staff was participating fully and to spot any critical areas where our documentation was not meeting the MU objectives. Once we identified and resolved any potential weaknesses and felt confident in our understanding and implementation of the MU criteria, we ran our reports weekly, and then monthly. In the meantime, our quality of patient care was improving!

When the 90-day period ended, and CMS announced we could attest on April 18th, we were ready! In preparing to attest to meaningful use, I took a pretest that CMS offered online to verify our readiness and determine if our reporting would be accepted. It was! So, on April 18, 2011, I logged in to the attestation site, and, using the numerical values provided to me through reporting built into OfficeMate, I successfully attested to meaningful use for 2011 in about 30 minutes.

We should be receiving our check sometime before June this year. I plan to reinvest in my practice with the incentive money, and to incentivize my staff with a bonus for their help in participating in the process!

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt is a 1988 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry; she founded the Salem Eyecare Center, Inc., in 1989. Today, the center is a 5,500-square-foot facility that encompasses a complete children’s vision center.

Understanding Meaningful Use Objectives, Part 1

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

Dr. James Kirchner

At Eyefinity/OfficeMate, we are celebrating the certification of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10. We are excited to be able to produce a certified EHR, which is a critical component of your meaningful use (MU) strategy.

Now it’s time to help you understand the MU objectives. As I promised in my previous articles, I’ll give you the specifics of the 25, MU criteria, so that you can be confident in your ability to use your certified software in a meaningful way. My goal is your success in getting your portion of the stimulus money—all $44,000.

There are 25 objectives as established in the Final Rule by CMS, I’m going to detail all 25 over the next few blog articles. I’ll make them very practical to understand. I’ll begin by detailing the first 15 which are called “core” objectives and CMS expects eligible providers (EPs) to perform all 15. The second set is called “menu,” and you will be expected to perform 5 out of the 10 menu objectives. Therefore, a total of 20 out of the 25 objectives will need to be accomplished for successfully using your certified EHR in a meaningful way.

There are exclusion provisions that have been established, so that you can decide if any of the 15 should be excluded by you. I’ll address the exclusions in the future. For now, let’s go through the list. I’m going to group the objectives by 3 major categories for the sake of clarity. I’ll do the first category in this edition and the other categories in next few blog articles.

Category 1: Recording and Securely Storing Specific Patient Data

  1. Record Demographics
    Record the patient’s preferred language, gender, race, ethnicity, and date of birth.
  2. Maintain a Problem List
    Maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses.
  3. Maintain an Active Medication Allergy List
    Maintain a list of patient medication allergies. If the patient hasn’t any medication allergies, you must record as none.
  4. Maintain an Active Medication List
    Maintain a list of patient medications. If the patient isn’t taking any medications, you must record as none
  5. Record and Chart Vital Signs
    Record height, weight, blood pressure, calculate and display BMI, plot and display growth charts for children 2–20 years of age, including BMI.
  6. Record Smoking Status
    Record the smoking habits of patients 13 years and older.

There you have the first set of MU objectives. Remember that your certified EHR must provide you with the tools to accomplish the tasks listed above, but it will be up to you to do the work.

I know that many of you will be concerned with some of the objectives listed. I mentioned that the CMS Final Rule makes allowances for exclusions. The topic of exclusions is worthy of a complete edition of Trends and Tactics, so stay with me through this series, and I’ll explain them.

Understanding Meaningful Use

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

In my last post, I challenged each of you to begin the process of utilizing electronic medical records (EMR). I want to reinforce that call to action; you need to adopt a certified EMR, like ExamWRITER, now. The government wants you to use EMR, not in a superficial manner, but in a meaningful way. That desire is the basis for the incentive payments that will be available to all eligible providers.

Meaningful use is the foundation for the entire government incentive payment initiative, yet this concept seems vague and confusing. It’s like trying to drive down a foggy road without a clear view of where we are headed. It shouldn’t be this way. Meaningful use is quite simple once you understand its basic concepts. Over the next 5 years, the healthcare industry is being asked to move to a high-level use of electronic record keeping and information exchange in anticipation that it will dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of American healthcare. In order to reach this goal, the meaningful use of EMRs will progress through 3 stages over this period of time. The first stage will be over years 2011 and 2012 and, according to the Final Rule, has specific meaningful use objectives that eligible providers must satisfy to qualify for incentive pay.

The objectives (or measures) are not difficult and, if not a part of your typical workflow, can be easily added. Your certified EMR will provide you with the tools to satisfy the meaningful use objectives. There are 25 meaningful use objectives, 15 that are called “core” and 10 that are named “menu”. The government is requiring that all 15 core objectives be met during your reporting period and that 5 out of 10 menu objectives be met, with your choosing the 5 that you meet. There is room for exclusion in these core and menu objectives if you cannot perform them, due to an objective being outside of your scope of license, or if you do not have any patients that would allow you to meet the objective. In these cases, you would simply identify that item as an exclusion and it would qualify as having performed the objective. However, there is a lot that is unclear about this exclusion language, and it doesn’t appear to me that it will be allowed frequently or on a recurring basis.

I feel that the easiest way to understand meaningful use is to recognize the government’s objectives in the first stage. The 3 basic criteria include use of a certified EHR:

  • In a meaningful manner including e-prescribing, data storage, and retrieval
  • For electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of healthcare
  • To submit clinical quality and other measures

The 25 meaningful use objectives fit within those 3 areas. In my next column, we will look a little deeper at examples of these objectives. It’s my desire to help you understand this whole program, to be comfortable with its demands, and to give you the tools to achieve meaningful use of your EMR. My immediate challenge to you is to begin using your EMR, or if you haven’t purchased ExamWRITER yet, do so and begin the implementation process. There is no need to wait—begin the EMR process now.

For more information: Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Virtual Users’ Group Meeting: Don’t Wait, Sign Up Now!

We have been getting a lot of practices registering for our annual Virtual Users’ Group Meeting (vUGM), which is just a couple of weeks away. The vUGM runs from July 26–30 and boasts 37 different course topics, making this a venue that has something for everyone in the office.

Our first two user group meetings were held in person in Newport Beach, California. Both meetings were wildly successful, and the attendance exceeded all expectations.

Meeting in person was great, but we know that, in this economy, practices are looking for cost-effective ways to train their staff. Since there is no travel involved to attend a virtual users’ group meeting, it’s no surprise that many practices are jumping on this economically sound opportunity to refresh their knowledge and learn a new trick or two. Not only are practices saving on airfare, but they don’t need to register each person; the whole practice can attend on one low ticket price of $150.

Additionally, there is no limit to the number of classes a person or practice can take, and attendees can view recordings of each session starting a few weeks after the vUGM to catch the sessions they missed. Last year, many offices paid the ticket price just to get access to the recordings, which had over 5,000 viewings.

Because there are no travel arrangements to be made, we expected many practices to wait until the last minute to register, but so many practices have registered early that this vUGM looks to be most successful yet.

The deadline to register is July 19, but don’t wait. Sign up now if you haven’t already. Details and registration information can be found at http://www.officemate.net/usersgroup.aspx.

“See” you there!