The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed the overall way of life for people across the globe. Schools across the country have closed, leaving over 55 million children to stay at home. Some states have issued a “shelter-in-place” order, while others have encouraged social distancing. In many cases, schools won’t reopen for the remainder of the school year. If your school offers medical billing or Medicaid services to eligible students, what can you do in response to COVID-19? Let’s look at a few medical billing tips you can put in place to find some sort of certainty in these otherwise uncertain times.
1. Understand the Process
It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed right now. This is a new and strange experience for so many people. Don’t be afraid to do your research through Medicaid to learn more about handling new student claims at this time, or to consider who is still eligible. If you need more help understanding the process, feel free to contact us at New England Medical Billing. We’re here to make things less confusing for you as you move forward and undoubtedly have questions.
The more you understand the process, the easier it will be for you to inform your staff (it’s a good time to hold a training session!), as well as parents who may depend on Medicaid for their children’s medical needs. When you understand the ins and outs of what is going on, you can remain calm and provide a voice of comfort for those who need it most.
2. Learn More About State Plans
It can feel as though everything is changing on a daily basis, as different states are branching off with lockdowns and stay-in-place orders. What does that mean for the medical billing process at your school?
Do what you can to learn more about any changes your state has put in place while students aren’t in school at this time. Just because school isn’t in session doesn’t mean your child won’t need the services typically covered by Medicaid, including mental health services or transportation services.
Benefits vary by state, so before you give any information to parents, staff, or other individuals, make sure to learn more about how your state is responding to the virus, not only from a security standpoint but from a medical standpoint. People still need to be able to afford medical care, and if they feel as though their claims will be denied, they might not seek out the care their children need. Being able to advise them of such things ahead of time is important, so look into any changes your state may have made in regards to billing services and eligibility due to this pandemic.
You’ll undoubtedly be dealing with questions from concerned parents, administrators, and even members of the community in the coming weeks asking if the signs and symptoms of Coronavirus would be covered by Medicaid through your child’s school.
The good news is that you can still practice your standard medical billing procedures (and allow us to assist you throughout the process as usual) regarding anything related to COVID-19. This includes any medical transportation, prescriptions, and office visits. It also includes telehealth, which is an important thing to keep in mind during these times of social distancing.
Testing and diagnostic services are of the utmost importance right now when it comes to the detection of this virus. Many parents might be nervous if they see any of the common symptoms associated with COVID-19 in their children. At New England Medical Billing, we want to take this opportunity to step back from some of the more detailed billing and coding tips and focus more on the humanistic side of things.
It’s okay to be nervous in your own office. It’s okay to offer additional staff training on how to handle these questions that will inevitably keep coming in. One of the best things you can do is to continue to provide the best possible care and services to the children in your community who need it most. Children who were eligible through the schoolyear are still eligible, and simply providing parents with that piece of information can go a long way in easing some of their concerns.
The biggest medical billing tip we can provide for schools is to remain calm. We’re here for you to ensure a sense of normalcy as you might find yourself bombarded with questions and requests. This will pass, with time, and your school will get through it.