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Is It Time For A Chargemaster Check-Up?

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, July 6, 2010

Though they had created charts payables for particular service lines, over time extra information was seeping into the tables and they continued to add different charge codes. "The chargemaster had become less useful, and we were using that to measure productivity statistics. So if we used the charging mechanisms we had to do more on the back end to resolve things that couldn't be billed but were being dropped onto bills," he said.

In their effort to resolve this inconsistency, they looked for vendor software that could help. They underwent a vendor review process, and after nine months, Intermountain selected Craneware, Inc.'s Chargemaster Tool Kit.

"With it we are now able to manage the request process and we can track where things are and who we are waiting on. We also have other tools that allow us to review codes, but the real difference for us has been managing the workflow and our chargemaster," he noted.

Over the next couple of years, Craghead expects that Intermountain will also see money that was left on the table find its way back into the hospital's coffers, but the need to get the chargemaster in order this year wasn't about that. While return on investment is always the goal for financial leaders, it's easy to forget that ROI can come in shapes other than dollar signs.

A periodic chargemaster review can help your facility systematically verify that the correct HCPCS and CPT codes are assigned to each line-item. It ensures your departments have a complete array of codes to report all services provided, and that all chargemaster line-items are compliantly reported to assure accuracy and reduce the effort necessary for maintenance. Now that's an ROI that any financial leader should be able to get behind.

Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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