Self-Audits Are Worth the Effort
by Peggy Stilley, CPC, CPC-I, COBGC Conducting a baseline audit of your practice—and taking proactive action to correct and prevent coding, billing, and other compliance shortfalls—does require a considerable effort. But however painful that process may be, it almost certainly will be less stressful and costly than finding yourself under the microscope of a payer audit, unprepared and unsure of what the audit may turn up. Peace of mind has tremendous value. Audits verify that the provider’s documentation meets applicable guidelines, and that he or she is reporting the appropriate level of service for services provided. When a provider understands E/M documentation guidelines and practices compliant documentation there will be less risk for error and concern. Audits look for a medical record to be complete and compliant for patient care. If the standards of care are not documented, it could leave the practice vulnerable. To ensure the records are complete and compliant, determine:
- Did the patient sign all the necessary forms and consents?
- Did the physician document risks and benefits of recommended treatments?
- Did the service need an order?
- Is the procedure note adequately documented?
- Did the physician sign the record?
- Did the patient sign an ABN (advanced beneficiary notice)?