Many facilities and practices mistakenly believe that if a physician is absent, it is too much trouble or too expensive to engage a locum tenens physician as a substitute, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only can you bill for the services provided by a locum tenens physician, but you can also save your facility or practice from losing money by making sure patients continue to receive care and maintaining patient satisfaction goals.
Working with a trusted partner like MPLT Healthcare can make this process even easier. Our credentialing team consists of subject matter experts who are prepared to work with you and our providers to ensure timely enrollment in all required health plans.
When engaging a locum tenens physician, it pays to plan ahead if the situation allows. This will make it easier to have continuous coverage, simplify the billing process, and give you more options for how to handle that coverage. In addition, many client facilities leave money on the table when they do not bill properly for locum tenens practitioner services. Read on to learn more about how to bill appropriately for locum tenens physician services.
Locum Tenens and Medicare for Less Than 60 Days
If you are using a locum tenens physician for less than 60 days, the locum’s services can be billed using the absent physician’s National Provider Identifier (NPI) number with the Q6 modifier to recognize that they are a locum tenens physician.
Utilizing the NPI number of the absent physician allows the absent physician to bill Medicare as if they performed the treatment themselves, but this period cannot exceed 60 calendar days.
What if the regular physician must be absent for longer than 60 days? Read on to find out what you need to do.
Locum Tenens for 60 Days or More
The absent physician’s NPI cannot be used after the initial 60 day period. If you need to utilize a locum tenens physician for longer than 60 days, then the locum physician must be credentialed and enrolled in Medicare and private insurers like any new physician. Once approved, the locum physician can then use their own NPI number for the duration of the assignment.
If your payer requires the locum physician to be credentialed, our team is ready to handle that as well. In some cases, the payer prefers to handle the enrollment process, which can take up to two months. By planning ahead and starting payer enrollment early, you can ensure that there won’t be a lapse in billings.
Alternatively, if the regular physician is able to return for a brief period, even one day, then it is possible to utilize the same locum tenens doctor and begin a new 60 day period with the Q6 modifier and start utilizing the absent physician’s NPI number again. This can ensure coverage over a longer period of time.
Simplify the Process with a Trusted Staffing Partner
The best way to make this process easier is to work with MPLT Healthcare, a trusted staffing partner. Our credentialing team knows provider enrollment inside and out and our recruiters are ready to help you staff the locum tenens clinicians you need.
Get in touch today so we can start filling your physician and advanced practice clinician needs!