Monthlyish news and updates from your peers at Ideal Medical Practices

IMPRESSIONS                           May 2017

Credit Card on File

Credit card on file for patient billing (CCOF)--are you doing it now? Considering it? Violently opposed? The rise in high deductible health plans (now encompassing around 30% of insured Americans), constantly changing copays, and uninsured patients are all making CCOF more common for medical practices. For small practices the potential benefits are clear: less time, paper, and postage sending statements in the mail; less lag time in receiving payment; and potentially fewer unpaid balances. And upsides for patients can likewise include time and postage savings, more flexibility in managing their cash flow, and even being able to use credit card rewards. The potential downsides include needing to spend time and maybe money setting up and rolling out your system; figuring out how to handle patients who are resistant to enrolling; accepting the cut taken by the card processing company, and concerns about being liable for privacy of credit card information.

Most experts agree on several best practices for getting started with CCOF. They include having a written policy and signed consent forms; trying as much as possible to make the policy universal rather than a choice (some suggest making a $25 or so annual ‘billing fee’ if patients elect not to participate in CCOF); using an intermediary like a credit card processor or online practice management system to store numbers (which keeps your practice from being liable for fraudulent charges or stolen numbers); continuing to email or call patients to notify them of automatic charges (at least ones which exceed a certain amount), and shopping around for the best deal from credit card processors since terms vary widely.

Here's a video that gets into the nitty-gritty. The speaker does have a relationship with a vendor but the general information is helpful regardless. And in the library we’ve shared a sample form used by IMP member Larry Lindeman MD. Have questions? Want to share your CCOF experience? Recommend (or regret) your card processor? Bring it over to the Forum!

Monthly Call: May Recap, and What It Means to Be An IMP for June 7

The May call developed a plan to organize on the grassroots level, and advocate on a government/policy level on three points: payment parity, metrics that matter, and back-office reform. Dr. Antonucci is working on writing up  the platform and other follow-up steps.

June 7, Ask an Oldie. New providers or just new IMPs, come with your questions for veterans. As a starter, what exactly makes an IMP--what are the specifics that make an Ideal Medical Practice and what tools and techniques have those with successful practices figured out. 

Call in details as always found on the Events page.

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Case Study: Save Money with an Affordable EHR

Dr. David Russell of Eastsound, WA was unhappy with his EHR, which was expensive and cumbersome. He found an EHR with low start-up and maintenance costs that was also easy to use. Click here to read the case study.


Board Member Intro: Michael Barron MD

This month’s featured Board member is Michael Barron MD. Dr. Barron received his BA in English Literature from St. Louis Univ. in 1987, after which he joined the US Marine Corps in 1990 and served on active duty as an infantry officer until 1994. He then attended St. Louis Univ. School of Medicine from 1997-2001 and did his residency at SLU’s Family Medicine Residency in Belleville, IL.

After finishing his medical training in 2004, Dr. Barron practiced in several locations in IL, working for Southern IL Healthcare Foundation, on the faculty of St. Elizabeth's Family Med Residency. He is currently serving in the US Army Reserve with the 325th Combat Support Hospital. He has been deployed to Kuwait (twice), Afghanistan, and Iraq. 

I think the main thing I bring to the IMP board is my interest in practice design, quality, and process improvement. I also happen to be participating in a risk based reimbursement program with a Medicare Advantage plan in St. Louis that is actually set up to reward doctors financially for delivering good care. The financial transparency with this plan is unique I think, and that makes it a good model for these types of contracts. I'd be happy to put together some lessons learned to be included in IMP's other educational material.


Clinical tidbit: a Well-tolerated, OTC Option for Migraine Prophylaxis.

Via the Journal of Family Practice.


Forum Find

Help a colleague who needs advice about a startup loan.


About Sponsorship is growing and we’ve picked up 68 great new IMPs in the last 6 months. Like your practice, IMP runs lean--with minimal staff and primarily volunteer work by your Board, and skilful use of technology to streamline the work. But just like your practice, we do have overhead, and until we grow a bit further, membership dues aren’t enough to cover expenses. So, we’ve started reaching out for sponsorship/advertisting arrangements. Our first sponsorship message appears in this newsletter, and discreet ads will appear on the website down the road. We’re grateful to our sponsors for helping IMP keep the lights on for small practices everywhere. Looking for reviews and recommendations on other IMP-friendly business partners? Check back on this threadQuestions or concerns about sponsorship? Email us, or weigh in on the Forum.