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What is a Charge Master?

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When it comes to the healthcare industry, there are a lot of confusing terms, acronyms and descriptions to sort through. This is true both on the medical side as well as on the business side. From a hospital’s perspective, there are some important business terms to understand when trying to operate efficiently and keep tabs on all the different services, products and items that are needed for patient care.

One very important term relating to the healthcare revenue cycle is that of the cdm charge master. The hospital charge master, is one of the core pieces to tracking revenue in a hospital setting and is the starting point when it comes to billing patients and is integral to proper management.

What is a Charge Master?

The charge master at a hospital is basically a list of all of the different billable items and services that will then be provided to a patient or their health insurance provider. Every single procedure, drug, test, supply and service has a cost associated with it and there are also additional fees that can be associated with services depending on the level of care needed.

When patients come into a hospital, providers are tasked with documenting the encounter and any services, fees and items that were used in the medical record via codes. These codes are then translated through a process called charge capture into rates in the chargemaster. At that point, a bill can be created and the patient or health insurance provider will now have a final payoff amount.

Ensure Revenue Integrity With Charge Master Management

Keeping the hospital charge master accurate and maintained is central to revenue tracking. If the charge master is inadequate or incorrect, the results might be underpayment or overpayment which can then lead to compliance violations, unhappy patients and rejections of claims.

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