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AAO 2014 – Chicago

AAO 2014 Annual MeetingDr. Gonzales attended the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s meeting in Chicago in November of 2014 along with two of our billing department staff members, Kacie Hetz and Angela Stonebarger. Kacie reports on some of her highlights:

“It was a great experience to be able to take some of the anatomy classes offered; I learned more about the biology relating to the things I bill out for on a daily basis.

How we bill is being greatly affected by the upcoming changes that the government is putting into place. At the meeting there was a huge focus on the upcoming transition to ICD-10 (the new diagnosis code system). I also learned about the different phases of Meaningful Use and how to better prepare our clinic to take on Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

Meaningful Use is defined by the use of certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner (for example electronic prescribing); ensuring that the certified EHR technology is connected in a manner that provides for the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of care; and that in using certified EHR technology, the provider must submit to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) information on quality of care and other measures.

The concept of Meaningful Use rests on the ‘5 pillars’ of health outcomes policy priorities, namely:

  1. Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities

  2. Engage patients and families in their health

  3. Improve care coordination

  4. Improve population and public health

  5. Ensure adequate privacy and security protection for personal health information

In class I focused some of my time on sharpening my knowledge of coding and billing practices that we use everyday. However, most of my focus while attending the meeting, was on keeping up to date on government regulation changes and how to effectively implement them, while having the least amount of daily disruption to doctors, staff, and patient care at our clinic.

Besides taking classes, I also had quite a bit of time to network with staff from other clinics.  It was very interesting to hear how each clinic operates differently, which also gave me some great ideas to bring back and share with our own clinic.

I did have a little bit of time to enjoy Chicago. Besides spending time at the amazingly expansive McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, where the meeting was held, I enjoyed eating real Chicago style deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s. And I stayed at the Kinzie Hotel.

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