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Get Paid for What You Do: Dictation Patterns and Impact on Billing Accuracy

Journal of the American College of Radiology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jacr.2004.12.012
  • Coding
  • Dictation
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Medicine


No one would knowingly invest in a business whose principal executives knew little or nothing about the key components determining reimbursement for the services provided. Superimpose on that lack of knowledge a regulatory environment in that business sector that places owners and key employees at risk for accusations of fraud and abuse as well as in jeopardy of large fines and potential exclusion from the marketplace for the largest consumer of a company’s product if billing is done incorrectly. Yet this is exactly the case in many radiology practices today. A significant number of radiologists who provide excellent quality medical care produce dictated reports that demonstrate complete ignorance of the parameters used by their billing personnel to generate accurately coded claims, thus losing significant legitimate clinical practice revenues while placing themselves and their practices in jeopardy. This article does not outline ways to game the system or inappropriately augment practice revenues. Rather, it describes many of the basic elements needed in the dictated reports produced by radiologists in their daily work, calculates examples of the financial impact of medically correct but poorly documented reports, and provides dictation guidelines for radiology residents and radiologists in practice that, if adopted, should ensure that you get paid properly for what you do.

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