Highlights From ACEP 2021

Despite some truly windy and rainy weather, our team is still glowing from ACEP 2021 conference in Boston. We chatted with old friends, made connections with new ones and had the opportunity to learn from many leading experts in emergency medicine. We’re excited to share our key takeaways below.

Medical Billing and Coding

The discussion around documentation, billing, and reimbursement caught our attention. Proper documentation for patients’ medical records helps ensure patients receive the right care at the appropriate time, as well as protects providers by validating the items and services that are billed.(1)

With the “No Surprise Act” going into effect January 2022, healthcare providers will be required to provide price transparency and receive patient consent for scheduled services. This will add another layer of complexity for all physicians. The No Surprise Act will make it illegal for providers to bill patients for more than the in-network fee that is listed under the patients’ insurance with the exception for ground ambulance transport.(2)

In 2023, there may be new coding for emergency departments based on medical decision making. Higher complexity patients will require more documentation. The Medicare 1995 Documentation Guidelines have been in place for the past 26 years, so this is a paramount shift. Capturing the correct documentation and CPT codes will be critical for highly complex procedures like ultrasound.

POCUS workflow

Billing is difficult if you cannot send your ultrasound exams to the EMR. An efficient and easy to use point of care ultrasound workflow system remains a critical need for the emergency department. A recent survey conducted by the ACEP Ultrasound Section and the Academy of Emergency Ultrasound shared some of the many challenges that continue to remain unresolved: an easier way to enter patient information for both order-based and encounter-based workflows, the ability to document quickly right at the bedside and send ultrasound exams to the EMR, and improved access to key data to measure compliance and quality assurance. Something needs to change. We believe that technology innovation combined with smart design can play a key role in addressing these needs.

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Nerve Blocks for Pain Management

Procedural ultrasound discussions were a hot topic at ACEP 2021. Nerve Blocks are becoming an integral part of emergency medicine as discussed in Exo’s Senior Director of Education, Dr. Arun Nagdev's Upper Body Regional Nerve Block lecture. Nerve blocks such as the ultrasound-guided serratus anterior plane block for patients with rib fractures have proven to provide targeted pain management at the bedside without heavy opioid dosing.(3)

MSK Ultrasound Assessment

Ultrasound has emerged as an effective tool to assess musculoskeletal injuries. MSK ultrasound has an array of uses, from assessing dislocations and tendon ruptures, to the characterization of fluid collections. This insight into the body was expertly laid out by Dr. Starr Knight who highlighted the importance of utilizing POCUS for gross assessment of injury in the emergency room to help make rapid clinical decisions.

We thoroughly enjoyed learning from the phenomenal talent at ACEP and look forward to seeing you all at ACEP 2022 in San Francisco.

Follow along with us @exoeffect to see what the Exo Team is up to next.

(1) OIG-Department of Health & Human Services
(2) USC-Brookings Schaeffer on Health Policy
(3) ACEP Now