congress logo centered_small


Practice Management Update

Informative articles for our member to improve practice
performance and patient service
Welcome to ACOG's Practice Management Update
Practice Managers Encouraged to Attend ACOG's Annual Meeting
Appointment Scheduling
Billing and Collections
Electronic Health Records
Personnel Management
Financial Management
Physician Compensation
Effective Management Techniques
Accountable Care
Facilities & Equipment
ACOG Notices

ACOG Practice Management Update Editorial Board


Caitlin M. Cusack, MD, MPH 

Chevy Chase, MD

Samuel N. Lederman, MD

Lake Worth, FL

Jordan G. Prtizker, MD, MBA

Roslyn, NY

William R. Robinson, MD

New Orleans, LA


ACOG Staff Contact


James A. Scroggs

Newletter content has been prepared by Conomikes, nationally recognized practice management consultants

January/February 2012 - Volume 1, Issue 1

Welcome to ACOG's Practice Management Update


In response to the requests from many Fellows, ACOG is now offering this bi-monthly newsletter to members and their office staff. Articles will cover topics such as personnel management, practice cost control, electronic medical records, effective billing, and physician time management.


This first edition is being sent to all ACOG members in practice. You are encouraged to share this with your practice administrator and other office staff. They can sign up to receive this newsletter by clicking here or on the 'Join our mailing list' link in the left column. If you do not want to receive future editions, simply use the "unsubscribe" function at the end of the newsletter.


If you have questions or suggestions about the Practice Management Update, please direct them to James Scroggs, Director of Health Economics at ACOG, at



Practice Managers Encouraged to Attend ACOG's Annual Meeting


For the first time in 2012, ACOG is making a special effort to encourage non-clinician practice managers or administrators to attend the Annual Clinical Meeting, May 5-9 in San Diego. A special registration category will allow access to the Welcome Reception, Exhibit Hall, Symposia Sessions, Opening Ceremonies, and the Presidential Inauguration. Managers are especially encouraged to register for two Postgraduate Courses on Saturday and Sunday, SA607, "Information Technology: Improving Patient Outcomes and Optimizing Practice Management," and SU606, "The Women's Health Office Practice of the Future: Information and Tools for Success." There is a reduced rate for persons who attend both courses, which are intended for both office staff and physicians. Read more...


Appointment Scheduling


No-Show Rates Lowest when Patients Called by Staff Member

A recent study suggests that patients may be more likely to show up for their appointments if they get a telephone call from the office -- a call from an actual person, not a machine.

"Connecting to a live person, they may feel more of a responsibility to show up," said Amay Parikh, MD, the lead author on a study in the June American Journal of Medicine. For three months in 2007, he and fellow researchers tracked no-shows at an outpatient multispecialty clinic, which has several locations in New Jersey. More...


Billing and Collections


Preparation--Here Are the Steps to Take to Improve Front Desk Collections

The clue to improved front-desk collections is preparation. If your front desk does not collect from the patient, while at the practice, then your later results will be less revenue, weaker cash flow, coupled with more work. Here is how to maximize your results.

Step 1.Two days in advance. Review the accounts receivable with the names of scheduled patients. Patients with still-outstanding balances should be given a reminder call that includes a reminder on the outstanding balance. Another option, if you prefer not leaving such messages, is to ask those patients to call, by name, a billing staff member, to confirm their appointment.  More...


Don't Overlook "Hidden" Denials

Most billing staff understand the importance of tracking a practice's "denied" claims-those for which insurers refuse to pay a dime. But there are other "hidden denials" that you also should be monitoring to prevent a slower, less obvious revenue drain.

A recent report, sampling more than five million claims and remits, found that about 7% were denied outright by payers. This is a traditional "denial" rate. In other words, payers didn't reimburse for any of the services on these claims. More...



New 2012 CPT Codes: Effective January 1

The Current Procedural Terminology, Fourth Edition, (CPT-4) code set for 2012 includes several updates of interest to ob-gyns. New instructions and guidelines have also been added to the CPT-4 manual to help clarify coding in a variety of situations. This new guidance is in addition to new, revised and deleted CPT codes for 2012. These changes take effect January 1, 2012. Because of HIPAA requirements, insurers must accept new codes beginning January 1. The American Medical Association CPT Editorial Panel approved these changes for 2012.


Click here for more information


2012 ACOG Coding Workshops

ACOG's popular coding workshops teach physicians and their staff about appropriate coding and billing practices. These workshops cover the use of the International Classification of Diseases Ninth Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) and the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding systems as they pertain to obstetrics and gynecology.


Lake Buena Vista, FL-March 2-4, 2012
New Orleans, LA-March 9-11, 2012

San Diego, CA-May 10-12, 2012

Baltimore, MD-June 8-10, 2012

Memphis, TN-August 10-12, 2012

Chicago, IL-September 7-9, 2012

Las Vegas, NV-October 12-14, 2012

Atlanta, GA-November 9-11, 2012


For more information, or to register for a workshop, go to the ACOG web site at


Coding for NPs and PAs

When billing for your mid-levels, you want to know about the basic advantages and disadvantages of billing for Non-Physician Practitioners (NPPs) under their own Medicare billing numbers.

The biggest advantage of allowing an NPP to bill under his/her own billing number is that you don't have to worry about incident-to guidelines, which limit how and where an NPP-patient encounter can take place. Under his or her own number, for example, an NPP can see a new patient, or a patient in the hospital. By contrast, billing under the physician's number requires direct personal supervision (that is, a physician must be in the office suite). NPPs also aren't allowed to see new patients if they bill incident-to under the physician's number. More....

Electronic Health Records


Mastering EHR after Rollout Is Key to Productivity Gains

Fear of lost productivity-as in seeing fewer patients-ranks as a major barrier to implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system, yet among healthcare groups that have mastered their use, productivity is far more likely to rise than fall, according to a new survey by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

The MGMA survey distinguishes between groups that have merely implemented an EHR system and those that have "optimized their use." Optimal use means accomplishments: exploiting all, not some, of the software tools available; reorganizing work routines around these tools; and connecting the EHR to other healthcare computer systems and digitized medical devices. More...

Personnel Management


A Smart Reply: "I Don't Know, but I'll Find Out"

A common mistake many managers make-especially new managers-is to try to have all the answers all the time. Not to have an answer, they believe, hurts their credibility with employees. So it's not uncommon for these managers to fake a response or bluff their way through a discussion.

It's exactly this kind of well-intentioned deception that dampens a reputation the most. It's OK to say, "I don't know, but I'll find out," if you don't have an answer at hand.

Just be sure that you follow through on your word and get back to employees in a timely manner.

Six Rules for Managing Conflict

According to Terri Levine, president of Comprehensive Coaching U, there are six basic rules for managing conflict:

  1. Make sure you treat other staff members or patients calmly. "Calm' is a word I teach. The second word I teach is 'mutual respect,' even under pressure," Levine says.
  2. Keep people and their problems separate. If a person is being difficult, it doesn't mean he or she is a bad person. Its just behavior that is being manifested. Read more...

Financial Management


Payroll Processing Services

Some of the larger banks, including Citibank and Bank of America, offer low rates on payroll services to their business customers. For a 50-person company, Citibank charges $85 a month and Bank of America charges $96 for services that include direct deposit and electronic filing of federal and state taxes. (Some payroll providers charge up to $300 a month for these services.) If your bank doesn't offer payroll processing, try Intuit Online Payroll, which charges $112.50 a month for 50 employees.

Source: Inc.

Physician Compensation


Physician Starting Salaries Report

The Merritt Hawkins' report, "2011 Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives," shows a list of the average incomes offered to the top 20 recruited specialties in 2010-2011, listed by decreasing income. The offers exclude production bonuses and benefits: Click here to view the full report



Using Social Media

Jeff Livingston, M.D. an OB/GYN physician, was doing outreach to local high schools by giving presentations on pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and other pressing teenage health issues. But he worried he wasn't really making a connection with teens. After watching his daughter hold court on MySpace, the light went on.


"I realized that even though I had made it a mission to reach out to teenagers, I wasn't communicating with them in a way they were communicating with each other," says Livingston, a partner at five-provider MacArthur OB/GYN, Irving Texas. More...

Effective Management Techniques


Mastering the Fine Art of Follow-Up

Physicians and practice managers today face a complex environment because of the large number of priorities that must be balanced.

A lot of this depends on how well managers and the people they supervise communicate.

Employees aren't sure what the boss wants and are hesitant to inundate the boss with details. At the same time, the boss wants more information without having to ask or micromanage. More information....

Accountable Care


ACOs Lose Money First 3 Years

Most health systems adopting an accountable care organization model will lose money during the first three years, according to a report published March 24, 2011 on the New England Journal of Medicine Web site.


Authors of the report, from provider alliance VHA Inc., caution that their conclusions rest on analysis on a limited set of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Physician Group Practice Demonstration Project, which was a primary model for the new Shared Savings program that Medicare will launch.


Facilities & Equipment


Perks of Office Plants

In an article published in a recent issue of Horticultural Science, researchers at Texas State University in San Marcos found that workers who had at least one plant in their offices rated themselves as happier in their work and more satisfied with life in general than those without a plant. Those working alongside greenery were happier even than workers who had a window but no greenery. More...

ACOG Notices


Complete Online Liability Survey and Win

ACOG's 2012 Survey on Professional Liability is underway.   All Fellows and Junior Fellows in Practice are urged to log on to our website and click on the survey announcement.   Participation by all is essential for the accuracy and credibility of the survey's results. Those who complete the survey by March 9 will be eligible to win a $100 gift certificate to the ACOG Bookstore. Five winners will be randomly selected. Click here to access the survey.


ACOG Webcast Schedule

ACOG continues to offer its members and staff webcasts that focus on a variety of topics. Besides the live webcasts listed here, there are many archived webcasts that focus on coding and practice management issues.


February 14, 2012

Principles of Diagnosis Code Selection


March 13, 2012

Breast Cancer Screening: An Evidence Based Discussion of the new College Guidelines


April 10, 2012

ICD-10 Documentation Guidelines


May 15, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect: Drills and Debriefings in the Office Setting


June 12, 2012

Billing for the OB Global Package


July 10, 2012

Coping with Adverse Events, Stress, and Litigation


August 14, 2012

ICD-10 Documentation Requirements


September 18, 2012

Perinatal Performance Measures                    


October 9, 2012

OB/GYN Preventive Care Coding


November 13, 2012

Patient Safety and Risk Management Update 2012: Where Do We Go From Here?


December 11, 2012

Preview of New Codes and Medicare Changes for 2013


Follow this link to see the upcoming and archived "on demand" webcasts.

To update your email address with ACOG please go to and click on myacog and then click on Update Contact Info.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists respect your email privacy. To remove this email address from future email messages, please click on the SafeUnsubscribe icon below. You may also send a written request to 409 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024-2188, ATTENTION: Information Systems.

Privacy Statement| Copyright Information| Terms of Use | Contact Us
Copyright 2012 The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved.