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Technology Committee
Committee Spotlight

By Bill Carnes, CHBME


Perhaps it’s fitting for the newest HBMA committee to be the last to be spotlighted in Billing. But one thing is certain; the Technology Committee aims to make a big splash in its first year of existence. The goal of the committee is to help HBMA members improve outcomes (make your day-to-day life easier) through the use of technology.

The committee will offer innovative tools that enable you to lower costs or improve efficiency and effectiveness (enabling you to focus on more important things like family or clients). It has also started providing support on various EHR projects.

Here are the exciting 2008 initiatives the Tech Committee is working on:

  1. Applicant Management Tools. Online job postings, applications, tracking, and assessments (eliminates your paper process and enables better hires)
  2. Project Management Tools. A project, document, and communication tool for use by HBMA volunteers and member companies to facilitate efficient teamwork
  3. Accounting Management Tools. A system for use by member companies which will enable cost analysis and industry benchmarking by HBMA
  4. EHR Support. Work with community leaders as a partner in the CMS project for incentivizing adoption of EMR/EHR by physicians

Some ideas to be investigated for 2009 include voting tools for HBMA and technology for process certification for member companies.

We look forward to sharing more information as we get closer to roll-out. In the meantime, feel free to inquire about volunteer opportunities on the committee or to share your ideas by contacting Bill Carns, the Committee Chair, at billcarns@practicemax.com.

Tech Committee Members: Curt Cvikota, Sherri Dumford, Patrick Lukacs, Joe Schendel, Tom Smith.


A Boost for Your Business Operations
New coding organization offers benefits to HBMA members

By Holly Louie, CHBME


I have received many questions about a new coding organization that attended our Annual Fall Meeting and wanted to take an opportunity to provide more information to our members. The American College of Medical Coding Specialists (ACMCS) is a one year old, non-profit, professional coding organization. I have been fortunate to sit on its Board of Governors as a member-at-large industry advisor for the past year and I’ve watched it grow from six people to more than 1,500. The first conference had more than 200 attendees and all of the speakers were nationally recognized experts, many of whom have spoken at HBMA.

I am excited about what I perceive to be the very real benefits, cost savings, and competitive advantage this organization can bring to our companies. I am awed by a certification exam that was developed by a team of very advanced professional coders and is challenging enough to test the real world of coding!

The ACMCS was started by a group of some of the best known coding experts in the country. What they bring to the table can help every HBMA member who codes, recommends external coding resources to their clients, and/or requires external coding expertise for specific issues. More importantly, HBMA owners and their coding managers have expressed frustration in trying to identify potential employees who have more than a certification—the ones who have in-depth coding knowledge, revenue cycle understanding, and compliance knowledge specific to coding issues. ACMCS can help you identify those employees.

While ACMCS welcomes all professional coders in the United States and its protectorates, the college is focused on those coders who want to reach the highest level of professional growth and development. The college wants to mentor new and less experienced coders through the learning process and to help them grow professionally while developing expertise in coding, billing, and compliance. However, the college is focused on identifying and recognizing, through certification, those coding professionals who are at an advanced level.

New Nationally Certified Exam
A nationally certified examination is currently in beta testing in several markets and will be available by the first of the year. The examination tests advanced outpatient physician coding knowledge and principles, complex coding concepts, interpretation of facts, comprehension of medical record documentation, knowledge of basic revenue cycle issues, and compliance with CMS policies and regulations. Testing includes; CPT, HCPCS, ICD-9, and the CMS Correct Coding Initiative.

The college recognizes that not all coders will choose to sit for this rigorous examination. However, I believe every HBMA owner and coding manager will be able to quickly identify the benefits of hiring a coder who may need some specialty-specific training, but who will not need to be taught the basics. ACMCS is confident HBMA members will appreciate, recognize, and require this new certification as part of their hiring decision.

HBMA is currently developing some joint educational sessions with ACMCS and the upcoming ICD-10 conversion may provide another opportunity to work together as organizations.

More information can be found at the ACMCS website. www.acmcs.org.

Holly Louie, CHBME, is corporate compliance officer for Practice Management Inc. in Boise Idaho. She can be reached at holly@PMIboise.com.


Help for Kids Heading to College
March 31 Deadline for Marion Financial Corp. Scholarship

By Holly Louie, CHBME


In 1999, Marion Financial Corp. established an annual scholarship for participants in the accounts receivable management industry. Applicants must be employees or children of a parent who is employed in the accounts receivable management industry (U.S. companies that are collection agencies, billers, debt buyers, receivable outsourcing companies and trade associations that directly apply to the credit & collections industry) as of the application deadline on March 31, 2008.
The 2008 scholarships will consist of two grants of $4,000 each. The criteria for applying for Marion's scholarship is as follows:

  • The award recipient must be a high-school graduating senior.
  • The student must enroll as a full-time student (12 credit hours or more) of an accredited college or university in the U.S.
  • The student must be seeking a degree in two-year or four-year college or university program or trade school.
  • The student must submit an essay (limited to 500 words) titled: “Why further education is important to me.”
  • The student must be an employee or the child of an employee in the Accounts Receivable Management Industry.

Application materials must be postmarked (or hand-delivered) by March 31st at the following address:

Marion Financial Corp. • Scholarship Committee
Nine Greenway Plaza, Suite 3131
Houston, Texas 77046
(713) 988-8000

The decision of Marion's scholarship committee and the judges are final. The awards will not be based on race, color, or sex of the candidates, nor will the awards be based on financial need of the candidates. The candidates will be notified by the third week of May. For more information and application forms, go to www.marionfinancial.com/scholarship.

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