Administration and Leadership

abc360 Conference Offers Treasure Trove of New Information

The Page, Wolfberg and Wirth (PWW) abc360 Conference kicked off on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, offering a robust audience a treasure trove of new information on several key EMS administrative areas.

Up first were the reimbursement, compliance and privacy updates from PWW partners Doug Wolfberg, Steve Wirth and Ryan Stark, which was packed with the latest about what’s going on with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cost data collection requirements, Medicare appeals, and some interesting air ambulance news.

“We aim to not only inform attendees about the latest in reimbursement, but we always give strategies to seize for EMS agencies,” said Doug Wolfberg.

The compliance update had critical lessons from the largest False Claims Act (FCA) ambulance settlement in history and covered on Office of Inspector General (OIG) enforcement. “It’s more important than ever that we address compliance risks expediently, so we can stop potential whistleblower claims in their tracks,” said Steve Wirth.

During the privacy update, Ryan Stark emphasized the importance of backing up your data to combat the impact of a ransomware attack.

The morning sessions also included entertainment, with Doug Wolfberg performing a parody of Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive” and a quick HIPAA-themed rendition of The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rappers Delight.” One attendee commented, “We come every year for the information, and love how engaging the speakers make it.”

The afternoon included many practical breakout sessions on key topics to help prepare EMS agencies for 2018 and beyond.

Attorney and PWW Media Executive Director Amanda Stark masterfully lead the compliance sessions and explained why it’s better to “put it all in writing—the good, the bad and the ugly.” The focus this year was on taking immediate action after discovering compliance issues and billing risks.

The abc360 Emergency and Non-Emergency Coding Clinics were skippered by a three-man crew made up of attorneys Chris Kelly, Dan Pedersen and Matthew Konya. They navigated billers and coders though real-life ambulance claims examples, pointing out why some claims are billable and others or not. They also homed in on why some ambulance claims qualify for ALS or higher-level reimbursement.

In the session, “Right Payer, Wrong Rules,” PWW consultant Steve Johnson illustrated how important it is to follow the rules of the payer you’re billing, otherwise “you can run the risk of leaving money on the table,” said Johnson.

Steve also explained why it’s critical to follow state Medicaid rules and not to assume that states follow Medicare guidelines

PWW attorney Christie Mellott hit the most common 855B issues in an enlightening session, “The 855B Blues.” Mellott was well-versed in Medicare enrollment, and session attendees had their most pressing questions answered about the 855B Form

Letting Loose

Attendees had a chance to mingle and unwind at the abc360  Bash and Networking Reception.  The Bash is a chance for those who attend the Hershey conference to interact in an informal setting. 

Bash-goers enjoyed the famous chocolate fountain and were treated to live music from local rock band That’s What She Said, featuring PWW’s own Doug Wolfberg on guitar and vocals.

A portion of the abc360 Bash proceeds was donated to The Peyton Walker Foundation, which was founded by Julie Walker, PWW’s first employee after her daughter, Peyton, died at the age of 17 from a sudden cardiac arrest resulting from a genetic heart condition. The foundation provides free heart screenings to students, donates AEDs, provides AED and CPR training, and awards scholarships to students pursuing healthcare careers.

Documentation Megatrack

Day two of PWW’s abc360 Conference featured a robust lineup of upbeat, practical sessions, and wrapped up with abc360 Pyramid Game.

The morning kicked off with the “EMS Documentation MEGATRACK,” a four-part series with sessions dedicated to improving a critical piece of the revenue cycle.   

PWW attorney Chris Kelly opened the series with a session on “How to Implement a Documentation Incentive Program.” Kelly highlighted the importance of focusing on complete and accurate documentation—and not necessarily billable runs.

Then, PWW partner Dan Pedersen offered strategies to interpret “not-so-good” documentation and find the best ICD code. It tied the importance of documentation to coding and answered common biller questions about selecting the right ICD 10 code.

PWW “Compliance Queen” Amanda Stark then gave a very practical session, covering seven metrics for measuring good documentation.

The MEGATRACK concluded when Doug Wolfberg tackled a common question, “What data elements of the ePCR have to also be included in the narrative?” Attendees discovered when it essential to include a further explanation in crew narratives.

After lunch, Steve Wirth hosted “Stop Sweating It” and gave attendees 15 action steps to reduce stress from living the EMS lifestyle.

Then it was time for the main event. PWW attorneys and consultants squared off in the “Great Debate,” where they went head-to-head on issues of medical necessity, facility contracting and claims coding.

The conference concluded with the abc360 Game Show, where PWW’s Ryan Stark hosted a version of the $100,000 Pyramid. Audience members played along and were quizzed on content taught throughout the conference.

The Fall abc360 Conference was packed with information, updates and useful strategies for navigating EMS and legal challenges in 2018 and beyond. The abc360 Conference will be offered again, featuring this and other new information, in spring 2019, with dates scheduled in March (Las Vegas), April (St. Louis) and June (Clearwater Beach, Fla.). For more information, visit abc360conference.com.