Thursday, September 30, 2004

Tracking the elusive CMN
with Sarah Hanna

Q.How can I improve my CMN and physician order process for better accuracy and return?

A.CMNs and Physician Orders are not only an important aspect in the billing process, but quite possibly the most frustrating. A company’s account’s receivable can increase due to the number of claims waiting for this documentation in order to be billed.

Your organization’s intake staff must be trained on the coverage criteria on the variety of medical equipment they dispense. Develop cheat sheets with the information required for all equipment that requires a CMN or specific detailed information on the Physician Order (i.e., surgical dressings) and organize them in a binder separated by equipment category.

It is helpful to designate a specific person in charge of processing CMNs and physician orders within the billing department. Employee accountability and responsibility over this area of the business is crucial to success. Your most effective CMN specialist is someone who is organized, has good people skills, has a good phone presence and can make relationships with the physician’s office.

A systematic process that is known throughout your billing department should be developed to track each CMN and PO that leaves the building. CMNs that go out today in the mail should be checked on within seven days. CMNs sent via fax should be checked on within three days. If the CMN has not been received, then the physician should be called. If a new CMN has to be resent, then the CMN person needs to check on it again. If it is still not received, then a phone call is made again. Some companies choose to deliver the CMN directly to the physician after the second attempt and return to pick it up within a few days. This process is completed daily.

Tenacity and constant vigilance to the process is essential to gaining your documents from the physician.

Sarah Hanna is the Vice President of ECS Billing & Consulting, Inc. and can be reached at 419-448-5332 or