23 years of helping urologists play physicians’ Monopoly

January 14, 2020

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all who have read my “Coding and Reimbursement” and “Coding Q&A” articles for the past 23 years.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all who have read my “Coding and Reimbursement” and “Coding Q&A” articles for the past 23 years. Some of you may have read my first article, “Learn to play physicians’ Monopoly-the coding game,” published in January 1997. The main point of the article was if you code correctly, you pass “Go” and get paid. If your coding is incorrect, you go to jail or face fines.

One of the quotes from the article was from a colleague: “Coding, I don’t do coding! My office personnel handle that. I’m busy. I don’t have time!” (Some things never change!)

I became involved in the business side of health care in the early 1980s because I realized the system was going to become more complicated. The changes and the detailed rules that are now being applied to documentation, coding, and billing have exceeded anything I could have imagined.

Many other things have changed since that first article. My son, Mark, joined me as co-author of the column in June 2006, bringing additional expertise, a wealth of knowledge, and new ideas. Thank you for making our column the best-read column in Urology Times for many of those years and Urology Times the best-read publication in urology.

I would also like to thank all of you who have asked questions, provided ideas, and offered encouragement with your kind words.

Special thanks go out to Dick Kerr, currently content channel director of Urology Times. He was responsible for expanding our columns from six to 12 times per year (“Coding Q&A” was added in alternate months) and had the dubious honor of editing them for many years. I would also like to thank Ben Saylor, the current managing editor, for editing and proofing the articles and making sure they are as understandable as the topic allows. Their editorial expertise and commitment to clarity has played a major role in transforming our ideas into readable articles. Their expertise and your loyal readership have allowed us to win several awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. It’s time for the next chapter for the column and for me. Some time ago, we approached Mr. Kerr with the idea that it was time for me to retire as co-author and find a new co-author to work with Mark.

We finally found the right person. I am excited that Jonathan Rubinstein, MD, a fellow urologist, has agreed to work with Mark on a monthly basis to create the articles. I worked with Jonathan when I was a consultant to the AUA Coding and Reimbursement Committee and he was a member of the committee. (Jonathan now serves as chair of the committee). He is very knowledgeable, up to date on the issues, and will add new life to the column.

I am comfortable that I am leaving the column in good hands. Jonathan and Mark work well together and hopefully will provide you excellent articles for years to come.

I am also excited about my own next chapter: I have formed a new tax-exempt nonprofit foundation, “The PRS Educational Foundation,” that is offering “Documentation, Coding and Billing Rules Course,” a coding resource with online support. The course will be available to all residents throughout their residency, free of charge. The foundation began signing up residents this past year. Hopefully, in the future, all practicing urologists will understand the basic concepts of “physicians’ Monopoly.”

Again, thank you to Urology Times for allowing me to express my thoughts and communicate them to you over the past 2-plus decades, and thank you for your loyal readership and for your many expressions of appreciation. It has been a labor of love, a pleasure, and an honor.