Abhijit Nair, MD, Ravikiran Mudunuri, MD, PDCC, Muthuswamy Ganapathy, DA, MD, FCAI, Venogopal Kulkarni, MD, DNB, FRCA, PDCC
Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care, Citizens Hospitals, Serilingampally, Nalagandla Road, Hyderabad. (India)
Correspondence: Dr. Abhijit Nair, Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care, Citizens Hospitals, Serilingampally, Nalagandla Road, Hyderabad-500019, Telangana State, (India); Phone: +91-040-67192391; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Key words: Anesthesia Department, Anesthesia/economics; Fee for Service; Documentation; Medical Records Systems, Computerized
Citation: Nair A, Mudunuri R, Ganapathy M, Kulkarni V. WhatsApp for anesthesia departmental billing. Anaesth Pain & Intensive Care 2016;20(1):113-114
In corporate hospitals, the anesthesiologists are either salaried i.e. they get fixed remunerations for the clinical work that they do in operation theatre and ICU or they are on a fee for service basis i.e. the department generates income by billing for every case that gets anesthetized. Billing is done for procedures (central venous lines, arterial line, emergency intubation) transportation of critically ill patients, monitored anesthesia care, PAC (pre-anesthesia check-up ) etc. The departmental members involved in services are required to write it manually on the billing sheet provided in the case sheet .
In spite of filling the billing sheet meticulously, billing department makes unintentional
blunders by not transferring amount to anesthesia department; for example charges for procedures done by members of anesthesia department in the Intensive Care Unit will conveniently be shifted to intensive care team; the fee for the use of ultrasound will be transferred to radiology department, and the charges for transthoracic or trans-oesophageal echocardiography done by consultant anesthesiologist gets transferred to cardiology team. Thus the billing process in corporate hospitals is not foolproof despite using codes for different procedures, thereby facilitating electronic billing; a discrepancy between the work done and the revenue generated remains.
In hospitals were anesthesia department is involved in providing services in many areas, it becomes a cumbersome job for the manager to tackle this issue and to ensure that there’s a record of all the services provided by the department.
We have made a BILLING group on WhatsApp. All consultants, registrars and manager are
members of this group. We take a snap of the billing sheet after we enter a procedure done by us. Even the bill for anesthesia charges in operation theatre along with the bill for PAC is snapped and forwarded to the group. (Figure 1). This way entire record is available with the manager to tally the total charges done by the billing department with our records and to detect any errors and omissions.2
Figure 1: WhatsApp image of the hospital billing chart
- Spring SF, Sandberg WS, Anupama S, Walsh JL, Driscoll WD, Raines DE.
Automated documentation error detection and notification improves anesthesia
billing performance. Anesthesiology. 2007;106(1):15763. [PubMed] [Free full text]