Archive: Aug 2010

Azalea Health Innovations Friends Newsletter – August 2010

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* Welcome
* Secretary Sebelius Announces Final ‘Meaningful Use’ Rules for EHR’s
* Billing Tip: Prolonged Visits
* More New Features
* New AHI satellite office coming!
* Upcoming Events


Greetings to all of our Azalea Health Innovations friends and thank you for reading our newsletter. We wish all of our readers a happy and healthy summer!

Secretary Sebelius Announces Final ‘Meaningful Use’ Rules for EHR’s

U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced this past month the final rules defining meaningful use, allowing EHR system vendors to confirm if their systems meet the requirements and providers can be assured that the system they acquire will support the “meaningful use” objectives. The announcement completes the groundwork for the incentive payments program.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rule addresses the requirements providers must meet to qualify for payments. It is a flexible, “two track” approach with a “core” group of requirements plus an additional “menu” of procedures for a provider to choose from depending on their needs and individual path to full EHR use. It also defines all eligible professionals, hospitals, and acute care hospitals more extensively.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) rule sets the standards and specifications for EHR technology to be certified under the incentive program and coordinates the required EHR systems with the meaningful use requirements.

The incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR programs for 2011 through 2019 are estimated to range from $9.7 billion to $27.4 billion. For more information on meaningful use and government incentives, visit or email us at

Billing Tip: Prolonged Visits

A physician’s time is precious and should not be taken for granted. If a patient encounter goes beyond the “normal” time as defined by the E/M CPT definition, there is a way to bill for and get paid for that extra time in the form of prolonged visit CPT codes. Codes 99354-99357 are for care spent face-to-face with a patient in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Codes 99358-99359 are for care spent on non face-to-face contact (ie review of records, tests, communication with other professionals and/or family) in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

These codes are all considered add-on codes which means they are to be used in addition to the basic E/M service. This time does not include any separate procedures which may still be billed on the same claim and no modifier is required.

The key to using these codes is understanding when a prolonged service actually begins and the basic E/M service ends. You must provide a minimum of 30 minutes of prolonged services in order to use the code. For example if a 99204 office visit, which is defined as a 45 minute visit, runs onto 60 minutes, you haven’t reached the minimum 30 minutes of prolonged time to bill for the code. This visit would have to be at least 75 minutes long in total to bill for the E/M code plus the prolonged visit code.

New Features

At Azalea Health Innovations our goal is to keep our clients up-to-date with the most innovative technology by providing them with the highest quality products and tools necessary to succeed. Due to the dynamic nature of the medical industry, we are constantly updating and enhancing our software. One of the major advantages of utilizing our web-based applications, is that all new features and upgrades are available to our clients in real time. Over the past couple of weeks we have added even more components to Azalea QuickBill™ and Azalea LabHub™, making them both even more efficient and user friendly than before. We appreciate all our clients’ requests, as their feedback is important for the growth and optimization of our products and services. Look out tomorrow for our latest New Features email and find out all the new ways you can benefit from Azalea QuickBill™ and Azalea LabHub™!

New AHI satellite office coming!

Azalea Health Innovations is pleased to announce the expansion of the company with a new satellite office location in SAVANNAH, GEORGIA! The new office is set to open on September 1, and will look to serve the booming health care sector in the region with our wide variety of innovative products and services. With this new addition, AHI-Savannah will strive to continue with Azalea Health’s reputation of offering user-friendly software and interactive service, while having a strong and centralized presence in the southern coastal region.

Be on the lookout for more information about AHI-Savannah!

Upcoming Events

AHI will be exhibiting at the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) 2010 Conference. This event is being held at the Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA, on October 24th-27th, 2010.

Thank you!

Azalea Health Innovations, Inc.
100 North Patterson Street
Valdosta, GA 31601
Toll Free: 877-777-7686
Local: 229-269-4620
Toll Free Fax: 866-683-8679

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