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Don’t Let Dictation Drown Your Revenue

18 May 2015, Posted by Stacie Van Der Bosch in Billing, Healthcare, Revenue Management

Physicians are perpetually busy. It’s a fact I completely understand. Actually, in most cases that’s a gross understatement—on any given day, physicians are being pulled in a dozen different directions and they probably get dizzy trying to remember all the rules that apply to their work.

This is the norm. When all most physicians want to do is focus on their patients.

And in too many cases, it’s this busyness and red tape that end up the default excuses for poor or delayed dictation. But no one—physicians included—can be allowed to forget how important dictation habits are to the health of a facility and the satisfaction of its patients.

Did you know that, in some cases, use of an operative report template can result in what Medicare considers a fraudulent claim? The same is true of dictation that’s incomplete or incorrectly dated. Not to say that anyone who uses a template or provides incorrect information is trying to defraud the system (or would be accused of doing so); most of the time it’s a result of being rushed.

But when it comes to dictation, the work must be done quickly and correctly. Otherwise, the potential affect on coding, claims management and A/R is significant.


Know the Risks of Inaccurate and Delayed Dictation


  • • Every step in revenue cycle management (RCM) is linked to another step; if dictation is not timely and sufficiently detailed, it can cause serious delays in reimbursement and leads to accounts sitting too long in A/R. Too long a delay, and your center may receive no reimbursement at all due to timely filing limits.

  • • Inaccurate dictation or dictation that does not include all billable items/procedures can result in lower reimbursement from a payor and also means the patient’s record will not reflect appropriately billable items.

  • Claim denials can result from untimely filing (timely filing requirements vary widely) and from numerous dictation mistakes, such as incorrectly fixing a dictation error, not including an operative report and providing insufficient detail or specificity, which will be especially important when switching to ICD-10.

  • • In the event that a claim is denied, thorough and accurate dictation that meets all specificity requirements will be essential for defending what was originally submitted for billing and collecting appropriate reimbursement.

  • • If dictation is disorganized, difficult to understand or contains errors, it can result in increased administrative and transcription costs for the center, in addition to the delays it causes for the RCM process.

It’s well understood that on-point dictation (and transcription) is essential to robust and timely revenue, so there are plenty of sources available for brushing up. If you’re not sure where to turn for physician dictation solutions, give us a call at in2itive and we’ll point you (and your docs) toward proper training and provide guidelines for best practices in dictation.

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