Prevention services in a certain health care act were intended to prevent health problems. Sounds simple, right? But it’s not, and one person holds the key. Or in this case, the code.
Everyone in my family knows that throughout their annual prevention exam they must use correct language. They have to say ‘annual prevention exam’ when they schedule the appointment, check-in at the front desk, are questioned by the nurse, examined by the doctor, and prior to having any tests done. Seems like that would cover all the bases, but there’s always a problem and it involves someone who is buzzing around behind the scene. It’s the ‘coding queen.’ With just a few numbers, she determines what is and isn’t covered as part of your annual prevention exam. Her codes can even impact your credit score. This happens when the billing office sends your unpaid account, which you shouldn’t have been billed for in the first place because it’s covered under prevention, to collections. I guess this shows the ‘Q’ can be a real ‘B’. And yes, that is code for something.
So here is the new plan for annual prevention exams. I am going to make a large wooden sign out of a piece of plywood from the garage and add a bedazzled strap so that I can hang it around my neck when I go for the appointment. The bedazzling will ensure people notice it. And what will this sign say? It will say, “This is my prevention visit. If at any time my care moves into non-prevention territory, please notify me in advance-before asking any questions, doing any checks, or ordering any tests that will be coded as non-prevention. The coding queen will be responsible for all non-prevention charges not approved in advance.” Yes, it will be a big sign, but I will hold it up at check-in, hoist it up with one hand while the nurse checks my blood pressure, balance it between my knees during the exam, and rest my arm on it during blood tests. Everyone will see it. Including the ‘Q’ who doesn’t usually come out of her hive to see patients. Oh, sorry, that’s right-she’s not that kind of ‘B’.
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