January 4, 2023

New Year's Checklist for Outpatient Psychiatrists: 10 Must-Dos for a Productive 2023

Written by

Dr. Carlene MacMillan, MD

During my time running a large mental health practice, we found that the first few weeks of January were “special”— and by special, I mean nightmarish. It got to the point where we asked our administrative staff to avoid taking time off during that period because there were too many moving parts.


Here are 10 tasks to consider as you embark on 2023 to keep your private psychiatric practice running smoothly:


1) Renew memberships for professional societies like the American Psychiatric Association.

While there is a grace period, these memberships reset at the start of the year and are tax-deductible (aside from any portion of the membership fee that goes towards a political action committee).


2) Send any outstanding 2022 superbills to your patients who submit them for out-of-network reimbursement as soon as possible.

Many patients submit these at the end of the year or at the beginning of the new year, especially if they're changing insurance plans. If you accept insurance, submit any outstanding claims from 2022 as soon as possible to avoid any issues with changes in allowed CPT® codes.


3) Familiarize yourself with changes to the CPT® coding rules for 2023 by reviewing handy our guide.


4) If you accept insurance, check with each patient before their next session to see if they have any changes to their insurance plan for 2023.

If they do, collect the new insurance information from their insurance card. Keep in mind even if the overall carrier remained the same, sometimes there may be a different group and plan ID for the new year.

Let's say you accept insurance but you write prescriptions. Collecting updated insurance information can make it easier to request prior authorization for medication if needed throughout the year.


5) Remind all your patients that the start of the year is often when deductibles and out-of-pocket max amounts reset.

Patients should check their in-network deductible and out-of-pocket max if you accept their insurance, and their out-of-network deductible and out-of-pocket max if you don't.

If patients are used to paying a certain co-pay for each session or getting a certain amount back when they submit a superbill for out-of-network coverage, chances are these amounts will be different at the start of the year until deductibles are hit.

Even once the deductible is hit, the amounts may be different due to changes in plan structure from year to year. When in doubt, it's best to tell patients we won't know for sure how claims will be paid until they are processed by the payer—regardless of what the card says.


6) Send out new Good Faith Estimates (GFE) to all your private pay patients.

GFEs should be sent annually. While most of us send GFEs prior to an initial appointment, you'll save a lot of logistical headaches if you simply send a new one at the start of each year to all your current private pay patients.

You can use our sample template and modify it for your own practice. We recommend checking with a healthcare attorney for any specific rules pertaining t to your state.

7) Take this opportunity to review your practice policy documents and make any updates you wish to make for the new year.

Similarly, run through your public-facing materials like your website and Google My Business listing to make sure they accurately reflect your practice as it stands now.

8) Decide if you want to implement a fee increase.

The new year is often when clinicians decide to increase fees. Ideally, this would have been announced 30-60 days in advance at the end of the prior year. However, if you haven't done that and still wish to raise your fees, you can implement it immediately for new patients and tell existing patients it will go into effect 30 days from whenever you do notify them.

Most clinicians raise their fees slightly every 1-3 years. Check with colleagues in your area to see if your current rates are competitive and in line with the market for your specialty.


9) Make sure your bookkeeping is up to date for the prior year in advance of Tax Season.

This is also an opportunity to:

  • Evaluate if you met your financial goals for the prior year
  • Attempt to collect on outstanding invoices for services
  • Set new financial goals for your practice for the year ahead


10) Determine what professional development you plan to do in the year and what CME and board requirements you need to meet.

Look up various academic conferences you plan to attend and add their dates to your calendar. Remember to note any submission deadlines if you plan to submit to present at conferences, and start planning any necessary travel arrangements. While you add these dates to your calendar, also make sure to include any planned time off for rest and personal obligations.

Conclusion:

We hope the above checklist will give help you start the year off on a strong and organized note! At Osmind, wish you and your practice much success in the new year. We want to support you at every step of the way as you grow your practice!


Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about the ways Osmind can support your electronic health record, clinic lending, marketing, web design, and business intelligence reporting needs.

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