It has been a little longer than normal since I have posted, and my excuse is that I have been busy. Not that everyone else hasn’t been, but well work life seems to have been busier than normal. Previously, I have written blogs about a firewall that was blocking payments and how I could not get through, and that maybe things were finally getting better and they are. This week we finally got our first check from Medicare for claims since 12/19/2011. It was for $12.45. Woohoo, I can finally retire!
I laugh because I actually think that it is hilarious, all this time and work, and complaining about not getting paid for almost 3 months, and when we finally get through, the amount is not quite the amount you expect, because the deductible started over on January 1, and most of the claims on that sheet went to deductible. All this work and time waiting, listening to the crickets chirp. Or wishing their were crickets chirping, because it would be something better than silence.
After this time, arguing with the clearing house about their responsibility only to be told to look at their website, which for the longest time said absolutely nothing, and then eventually outdated and somewhat misleading information.
First it was my fault, no, it wasn’t. I did all the steps, I was told were required for a smooth transition.
Then it was my EMR vendors fault. Well,. they sent me a new update on January 1, which was downloaded within that week. Followed by one more update the end of the month. So maybe slightly- though I did send them a not so nice email as well during my frustration, to which they replied within 10 minutes intially, and then 5 more times within 30 minutes and able to fix the problem by the next morning, and considering it was 5 pm when I sent the first email, I was happy enough with their response.
So that takes me to the end of January, where the clearinghouse has yet to notify me of any problems, or to answer why I have not heard anything in a month from ANYONE (insurances included) to looking at my balance sheet saying “Holy (insert profanity here)! Why haven’t I gotten paid. How am I going to make my bills, pay my employees, …” To only get told I am 1700 in line with a waiting time of 7 and a half hours. Well that was when their system did not cut me off and hang up on me. And after all that time I was on hold what was their answer. “Well you should look at our website daily.” Well at least they are consistant. Though they continue to refuse to answer my question “how can you take my money without at least warning me that there is a problem?” Their answer is still I am sorry for your difficulties and your disatisfaction, but we post things on our website daily. You should read that. And when I threaten to leave them, it isn’t any better. Still with the damn website quote, and does not answer my question, and that I am required to give them 30 days written notice. Which I will, as soon as I know I am up and running with the new group. Just have to wait for Medicare approval.
Finally, the clearing house appears to have gotten their job done (only 60 days late, and not willing to take any responsibility). However, that day Trailblazer crashed. Nice. It takes them about 4 or 5 days to get back up and going, and then we get messages that we are not an eligible provider. Apparently even though Medicare claims that our contract is still good so far this year (we will have to renew this year, it is just not our turn yet) Trailblazer has forgotten to tell us, we need to sign a new form. OK done. Now for the new denials- all of our claims are duplicate claims. Seriously? It is a wonder, I haven’t gone postal yet. All of this, filing and refiliing, denials and everything else to get the anti-climatic check of $12.45. Awesome
However, I have gotten in contact with some great people that have helped. Apparently, I helped my professional organization find out there was a problem, and they narrowed it down to Trailblazer having the biggest issues. They determined that the physicians in Oklahoma and Texas appeared to be having the biggest problems. Talking to some billers across the country, those using a clearing house seemed to have more problems than those that didn’t. So guess what? I had both issues.
And in the middle of this all, apparently Trailblazer is installing new software to help fix the problem (which apparently started last year) I have heard from my congressman and Senator and one state Senator, but since things are improving we are hesitant to have them do anything. Because there is no desire to cause further stalling on the issue, especially now that payments (did I mention $12.45) are finally slowly coming in.
As for my relationship with my clearinghouse- Well it will come to an end when I receive approval from Medicare for my new billing company to file how the prefer to do it. After 6 years, I think it is time, and my loyalty apparently means little to them. But I did let my colleagues in the area know that their clearinghouse was at least partially responsible for them not getting paid. Helpful website indeed.
But I had good news on Thursday, I finally had enough money to catch up all of my bills. I didn’t have to take out a loan. I still didn’t get to take home a paycheck, nor did my husband, but maybe next month. It is really sad that Wednesday, I saw 40 patients, and my hubby saw 33 patients in the office and 7 in the hospital, and we were longing for the days that we saw 17 and took home a paycheck. But maybe as things start rolling, we will be able to see some of what we have worked for. I hope so, because I didn’t go to medical school hoping to support 6 other people and not get paid myself (we are now down 2 employees, after one dying at the beginning of the month, and the other being fired).
Anyway, as the computer glitches resolve, we will move foward. Looking ahead to the crashes and glitches that will come with the conversion to ICD-10. Oh happy days ahead/