There’s no better feeling than payday. Whether you’re cashing that hard-earned check or checking your banking app for that direct deposit notification, we all love seeing a transfer in your hands. For locum tenens, this process can be a little trickier. Both locum tenens services and healthcare facilities have to be on the same page to ensure that the billing is correct.
In other words, it’s a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out correctly. The government is constantly changing the healthcare landscape. With that in mind, you can expect a ton of forms and stipulations to go over. Luckily, we’ve got some billing tips to provide you below. Let’s give them a look!
Benefits and Challenges of Locum Tenens Physicians
Billing for locum tenens is the process of collecting payment for services rendered by locums or temporary physicians and other healthcare providers. In today’s healthcare environment, locum tenens providers are becoming increasingly popular as organizations seek to increase their capacity while reducing costs. While billing provides many benefits to healthcare facilities, it also poses unique challenges.
Benefits of Locum Tenens Billing:
Locum tenens billing is a great option for medical providers and facilities looking to increase their staff while adhering to Medicare requirements. Here are some of the benefits:
Cost savings – locums can often provide the same level of care at a lower cost than traditional healthcare providers.
Flexible staffing – locums are available on demand and can provide coverage during periods of increased demand, such as during holidays or peak times.
Access to specialty care – locums can provide access to specialties that may otherwise not be available in the area.
Challenges of Locum Tenens Billing:
While locum tenens billing offers numerous advantages to healthcare providers, certain challenges are associated with engaging in these types of arrangements. Here are a few:
Increasing regulations – as with traditional healthcare providers, regulations around locum tenens billing are becoming increasingly complex and difficult to navigate.
Lack of familiarity with billing codes – locums may not be familiar with the coding requirements for their services and can inadvertently use incorrect codes, resulting in delays in collecting payment.
Inadequate training – many locums do not receive adequate training on the nuances of billing, which can lead to errors that delay payment.
Locum Tenens Billing Requirements and Tips
Billing for locum tenens requires precise financial tracking and in-depth knowledge of insurance regulations. You can maximize your locum revenue, increase client satisfaction, and reduce administrative costs with the right strategies.
Whether you’re a solo practitioner or part of a large medical organization, these locum tenens billing tips will help your bottom line.
This goes for both the locums and locum tenens provider that is hiring them. It’s no secret that there are a good amount of procedures and options for billing, so planning ahead will save you a headache in the long run. When a substitute physician begins a new assignment, the details should already be ironed out.
These include the length of the assignment, the pay, of course, and the exact services the locum will be providing. It’s important, so the facilities aren’t paying extra, and the locum tenens aren’t being underpaid.
With some foresight, your locum tenens billing should be a breeze! There are normally two lengths that you’ll need to consider before the billing starts – locums working for less than 60 days and locum tenens physicians who are working for greater than 60 days.
Maintain Accurate Records of Locum Tenens Service
It’s important to have accurate records of each service provided, including outpatient physical therapy services and covered visit services. Here are some things to keep in mind:
-Keep detailed records of patient visits, including patient vitals, treatments administered, covered visit services, and outcomes.
-Ensure all billing information is accurate and up-to-date.
-Create and maintain a secure database that includes the time each locum works and other pertinent information.
-Document any changes during shift change or when a new locum is assigned to the shift.
-Make sure all clinical documentation is entered in a timely manner.
Get Familiar With Medicare
You might be asking why Medicare is involved in locum tenens billing. Well, billing falls under a Modified Q6, which is a form that designates proper compensation for locum tenens. The CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) says that a locum tenens physician can provide services to Medicare patients for no longer than 60 days.
National Provider Identifier (NPI) Number
Utilizing the NPI number of the absent physician allows the absent physician to bill Medicare as if they performed the treatment themselves, but this period cannot exceed 60 calendar days. The locum tenens replacing the absent physician will be billed like normal substitute physician’s services.
Understanding the 60-Day Limitation
Under Medicare regulations a Modified Q6 form is used to designate proper compensation for locum tenens. However, the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has set a maximum limit of 60 calendar days that a locum tenens physician can provide services to Medicare patients over a continuous period.
The NPI (National Provider Identifier) number of the absent physician allows them to bill Medicare as if they performed the treatment themselves, but this period cannot exceed 60 days.
Extended Stays are Trickier
If a locum tenens is working for greater than 60 days, that’s where locum tenens billing gets trickier. If a locum tenens works for longer than 60 days in a position, the absent physician’s NPI cannot be used. All locum tenens physicians must enroll and register with Medicare as new physicians starting with the facility.
This goes back to planning ahead. You’ll want to try and schedule early enrollment for incoming locum tenens that plan to stay longer than 60 days. If you let the payer take care of the enrollment process for your new staff member, this can often take up to two months. This wastes a lot of time and can often put locum tenens and facilities in tough situations.
Alternatively, if the regular physician can return for even one day, then it is possible to utilize the same locum tenens doctor as before and begin a new 60-day period with the Q6 modifier and start utilizing the absent physician’s NPI once again. This can ensure coverage over a longer period of time and save some future headaches.
Locum Tenens Billing in 2023
When it comes to locum tenens billing, the more prepared you are, the better. Ensure your facility follows all of these billing requirements and tips to get reimbursed properly for any services rendered by a locum tenens physician. When done right, locum tenens services can be invaluable.
Locum tenens billing can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be! We hope you were able to gain some insight from these tips to make the billing process as smooth as possible. What are some locum tenens billing tips that you recommend? Comment them below!
March 15, 2023
We are looking into getting a locum tenens to help out the providers because there is a vacancy and need another provider. Meaning both out providers will be performing their duties. Is there any way to bill for his services?