Practice Readiness: What You Need to Know About the New Medicare Card

Have you heard? Over the next 20 months, Medicare patients across the United States will receive a new Medicare card. States will receive the cards in a series of releases or “waves.” The new card will be clearly different than the old ones, consisting of 11 upper case and numerical characters.

During this interim period, care providers will be able to use either the new MBI card or the old social security-based health insurance claim number for billing. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, two important details shouldn’t escape your notice:

  • Your systems will need to accept the new format by April 30, despite a grace period to allow time for implementation and disbursement of the cards.
  • Billing and filing claims using the old number will work through December 2019.

If updates to your system are needed, it’s not too late. Use this downloadable cheat sheet to get the MBI format specifications – or ask your preferred medical practice services provider or biller for assistance.

Once the cards start showing up in your practice, you’ll want your front office staff to check to see if the patient’s mailing address up to date. If not, the patient will need to contact Social Security at or 1-800-772-1213 and correct their mailing address.

According to Medicare,, starting January 1, 2020, claims submissions must use MBIs, no matter what date you performed the service. There are only two sets of claim exceptions, illustrated below, while, offers specifics – as well as regular updates.

If you need resources to share with patients, or you wish to lead an information campaign in your community,, is a great place to start.

E.H.R. Done Right Can Increase Quality of Care and Revenues in Your Practice

When you’re working in your practice, does the clinical side drive the billing?

The answer to this question should be a resounding “yes!” If it’s not, your electronic health records system is not functioning as it should. And that’s bad for your practice. Check out these 3 facts you may not know about E.H.R. management.

  1. A quality E.H.R. increases quality of care.

Manual entry of claims is outdated. Negatives include increasing room for error, opening the practice to audit issues, and coding incorrectly. Each of these issues can each negatively impact the patient’s quality of care – and the practice’s bottom line.

Instead, choose a quality E.H.R. solution and work with your practice management consultant to set up a system that tracks from the appointment to the date of service. Every patient transaction, financial or otherwise, should be linked, traceable, and clean.

  1. The addition of E.H.R. increases collections.

The fear among practitioners is often that the addition of E.H.R. will cost too much, and affect the bottom line negatively. This fear isn’t the reality. Instead, the addition of E.H.R. creates increase when implemented properly and fully.  A practice manager assures you’re getting full benefit for the system you’ve chosen, and that you get what you pay for. Part of this service includes plugging any money leaks in the collection process for outstanding revenues, ensuring that collections – and revenues – increase.

  1. Choosing the right  medical practice consultant is more important than the E.H.R.

One of the best things you can do to save money in your practice when initiating a new E.H.R. relationship is to include your practice management consultant on your E.H.R. demo call. Too often, practitioners get pushed to choose an E.H.R. solution quickly without understanding the level of support that should come with its successful implementation.

In other words, cheap solutions may not cost less in the long run.

The expertise of a professional practice management consultant will lead to a better software fit for your practice, and they know the right things to ask to make certain you get what you need. The decision to include them as part of the process, not as an afterthought, will eradicate indecision and save a lot of time and money.

In conclusion, as the shift to better quality patient care is the goal for all practices today, having a tried and true partner like Medical Practice Consulting Services is a must to maintain and grow your practice.

Let’s talk about how we can help.
dsc_5764-2Debbie Henderson, CEO, is a leading U.S. practice management consultant known for her ability to transform her clients’ practices and revenues so they can take back their passion and their lives. Learn more about her work at

Why Your Electronic Health Records System May Not Drive Revenues

As a leading practice management consultant, I’ve seen and heard just about everything when it comes to reasons why respected, independent health and medical practices have trouble with the business end of things.

Client accounts simply won’t balance properly. The payments aren’t posting automatically – or correctly. Or worse – do it yourself solutions simply aren’t getting the job done.

Scenarios like these can cripple a practice’s revenues.

True, managing a practice today includes an electronic health records, or E.H.R. system, which fits your clinical needs: making appointments, taking notes, writing prescriptions, and optimally driving your patient billing.

But when too much emphasis is placed on the clinical side of things, it can leave the practice vulnerable. Practitioners are working hard, but revenues are challenged.

You know you need an E.H.R., but which  one will work?

Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen a proliferation of medical E.H.R. software in the industry. Knowing which system is the best fit for your practice is only part of the solution, especially since many payers now mandate that providers use E.H.R. software.

Here’s the big secret no-one will tell you. Cheaper is not better. The folks behind the scenes and the systems they create are absolutely the #1 thing that will drive practice revenues.

But failing to set up systems and support to ensure success can definitely present a problem with revenue streams. I’ve yet to see a practice which didn’t need cash flow to keep operations and services running smoothly. When implementation is well planned and managed, any potential revenue slowing can be minimized. Ease of use and compliance actually follow a great implementation plan, not the other way around.

Support from an experienced, reputable practice management professional firm is an imperative during an E.H.R. transition. The best way to manage big change is with the help of the right team, in-house and consulting. I’ve found it’s good to have a system that drives billing, but it’s GREAT to have systems built around the software so it can work for you.

This one decision – to ask for the expertise you need – can save a lot of time and money. A professional practice management firm will help its clients navigate unforeseen issues, whether you’re initiating a start-up, transitioning to an E.H.R. from hand typed or written notes, or upgrading your software to meet the needs of your growing, thriving practice.
dsc_5764-2Debbie Henderson, CEO, is a leading U.S. practice management consultant known for her ability to transform her clients’ practices and revenues so they can take back their passion and their lives. Learn more about her work at