Magazine article Medical Economics

Practice Management

Magazine article Medical Economics

Practice Management

Article excerpt

Providing nursing home care that passes government muster

Q A cardiology group has asked our family practice to provide care to the nursing home patients those doctors have been following. The group has offered us a signing bonus and fixed monthly fee for our primary care services. Although we're under no obligation to the cardiologists, wed probably refer patients from our practice to them because of our familiarity with their practice. Would Medicare consider this an above-board arrangement?

A No. Medicare would call it a kickback. If you want to care for these patients, forgo the cardiology group's proposal. Instead, explore the possibility of caring for these patients independently of the specialty practice. This will leave you free to refer patients to whomever you'd like. You may bill Medicare for the services you provide to nursing home residents, utilizing codes 99301, 99302,99303, 99311,99312, and 99313.

Why you need a payroll paper trail

Q An assistant has asked to be paid in cash so she doesn't have to endure the crowds at the bank on paydays. Is there harm in indulging this request?

A Yes. The IRS would have a field day with you. You'd have no proof that you'd truly paid the employee or that the payroll taxes you withheld on her salary matched what you'd paid to the state and federal government.

A solution: Give your employees the option of direct deposit, and politely suggest that if they need cash, they can avoid long lines at the bank by using an ATM.

Call in a lawyer before firing a staffer?

Q My partner and I agree that a billing clerk is underperforming and should be dismissed. …

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