AMA Proposes Medicare Billing Codes for End of Life Consultations

By Mary E. Vandenack.

Continued efforts by the American Medical Association (“AMA”)  are being made to get physicians paid for consultations related to end of life and advanced care discussions. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) will review proposed codes submitted by the AMA to determine whether the codes will be included in the 2015 physician fee schedule, expected to be released in November. Various legislation has been  introduced in Congress seeking to get physicians paid for end of life discussions. If CMS includes the codes in its fee schedule, such legislation will become unnecessary.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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HHS Confirms October 2015 Deadline for ICD-10

By M. Thomas Langan II.

The deadline to implement ICD-10 has been confirmed to be October 1, 2015.  The implementation date was most recently postponed from October 1, 2014 to an undetermined date.  In its statement announcing the new deadline, CMS explained that the delay will give the healthcare industry “ample time” to prepare for the change.

The notice from CMS can be found here: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2014-Press-releases-items/2014-07-31.html.

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Study Identifies Common Medicare Billing Issues

CMS has released results from its recent study on common billing mistakes by health care providers. Among the most common mistakes include unbundling – the practice of submitting claims by piecemeal to maximize reimbursements for tests and procedures that are required to be submitted together at a reduced cost.  Other common mistakes are using the wrong diagnosis code to support an MRI and coding a subsequent Annual Wellness Visit improperly as an initial wellness visit.

 The study also revealed that common forms of underbilling include coding for the wrong surgery and using a lower level of Evaluation and Management than the documentation supports.

More information on the study can be found at: Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT).

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CMS “ANTI-MARKUP” RULE AFFECTS DIAGNOSTIC TESTS

 

 

On January 1, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) enacted a new rule, called the anti-markup rule, that applies to certain diagnostic tests ordered and billed by physicians or their group practices.  Any physician group that orders and bills for diagnostic tests must comply with the new anti-markup rule.  CMS published the Final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2009 in the Federal register on November 19, 2009. Among other things addressed in the Fee Schedule regulations are clarifications of the diagnostic testing anti-markup rule.

 

Prior to the 2009 Fee Schedule changes, the anti-markup rule provided that if a physician or other supplier bills for the technical component (“TC”) or professional component (“PC”) of a diagnostic test that was ordered by the physician or other supplier and the diagnostic test was either purchased from an outside supplier or performed at a site other than the office of the billing physician or other supplier, the payment to the billing physician or other supplier (less the applicable deductibles and coinsurance paid by the beneficiary or on behalf of the beneficiary) for the TC or PC of the diagnostic test may not exceed the lowest of the following amounts:

 

  • The performing supplier’s net charge to the billing physician or other supplier;
  • The billing physician or other supplier’s actual charge; or
  • The fee schedule amount for the test that would be allowed if the performing supplier billed directly.

 

In the 2009 Fee Schedule, CMS has now clarified that the anti-markup provisions will not apply to the TC or PC of a diagnostic test where the performing physician shares a practice with the billing physician or other supplier. With respect to a TC or PC of a diagnostic testing service, the performing physician is considered to share a practice with the billing physician or other supplier if either of the following is met:

 

  • Alternative 1: He or she furnishes substantially all (at least 75 percent) of his or her professional services through the billing physician or other supplier; or
  • Alternative 2: The TC is conducted and supervised, or the PC is performed, in the office of the billing physician or other supplier. For purposes of this alternative, the “office of the billing physician or other supplier” is defined as the same building where the ordering physician performs substantially the full range of patient care services that the ordering physician generally provides.

 

 © 2009 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC 

 

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HHS Mandates Replacement of ICD-9 with ICD-10 Code Sets

On January 15, 2009, HHS released final rules that require the replacement of ICD-9-CM code sets with the ICD-10 code sets and implement version 5010 of the HIPAA transaction standards, which facilitate the adoption of electronic health records. The two rules work together. ICD-9 has 17,000 codes and is rapidly running out of new codes. ICD-10 is much more expansive and has 155,000 codes. The codes were scheduled to take effect in 2011, but the final rule delays the deadline for compliance until Oct. 1, 2013.

© 2009 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

 For more information, contact info@pvwlaw.com

Year End Coding Review

For 2009, there are 291 new codes, 375 revised codes and 95 deleted codes.

Consider a year end  analysis related to coding. Be sure you are ready for the 2009 changes.  Generate lists showing procedures and reimbursement levels.  Use the information in contracting.  Review coding changes.  As a group, review and discuss changes and the impact on your practice. Disactivate discontinued codes.  Be sure new codes are available.  Communicate coding changes to everyone involved in the process.

 © 2008 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC  

 For more information, contact info@pvwlaw.com