"Location: All Locations" & "Code Updates" Articles


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Understanding ASCs and APCs: Indicators and Place of Service

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The decision regarding the most appropriate care setting for a given surgical procedure is determined by the physician based on the patient's individual clinical needs and preferences. Of course, there is a difference in reimbursement, and the billing depends on where the procedure took place, such as an office setting, inpatient ...

Are You Keeping up with the Official ICD-10-CM Guideline Changes for COVID-19?

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The COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) has made it interesting and challenging for organizations to keep an eye on the evolving changes to the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting. Have you been keeping up with these changes?

Is Your Organization Ready to Deal with Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Audit Contractors?

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Audits are currently underway to verify the monies distributed through the CARES Act were warranted and properly used by those organizations that received them. The federal government has contracted with financial institutions such as KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, among others, to perform these audits referred to as Provider Relief Fund (PRF) audit contractors, funded with monies from the very same program. There were four phases of funding disbursements with phase 1 audits beginning in September. How ready are you to be audited?

Five Major ICD-10-CM Changes That Can Effect Your Organization

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Have you had a chance to review the new ICD-10-CM codes for FY 2022? Did you know that many payers do not want to see unspecified codes when there is a possibility for better data? How adept are you at assigning and sequencing COVID-19 codes? Take a minute to review 5 of the major changes to the FY2022 ICD-10-CM code updates and claim your chance to watch our most recent webinar where we review the newest code updates.

New Codes for Pediatric COVID Vaccinations

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On October 6, 2021, the AMA released three new codes to track COVID-19 vaccinations in the pediatric population.

ICD-10-CM Cracks Down on the Use of "Unspecified" in the 2021 Official Guidelines

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We always knew there would come a day when payers would look down on an "unspecified" diagnosis code and possibly even deny it or delay payment until a review of the record could be performed. ICD-10-CM was adopted by the U.S. for data analytics, which cannot be accurate if unspecified codes are reported when the documentation verifies greater specificity. Join us for a look at the many guideline changes to ICD-10-CM, a review of the newest code changes and suggestions on documentation improvement to elevate coding protocols.

How Well Will Your Organization Score in the 2022 Star Rating Measures?

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How ready is your organization for implementation of the 2022 new Star Rating measures? Creating opportunities for staff to share innovative ideas is essential to creating a successful outcome, so take a minute to review the Part C and D measures today.

Is Coding Based on Addendums or Late Entries Putting You At Risk of Audit Failure?

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Independent Health, another Medicare Advantage Organization, has been named in a qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit and enjoined by the DOJ for allegations of fraudulently upcoding to increase beneficiary risk adjustment scores to obtain higher reimbursement. It appears they used DxID, LLC, a coding consulting subsidiary of Independent Health to retrospectively identify and have providers addend unsupported diagnoses. How is your organization actively protecting against accusations of upcoding by improper use and reporting of diagnoses from provider addenda?

Medicare Advantage - The Fastest Growing Government-Funded Program Undergoing Multiple Fraud Investigations

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Medicare Advantage is the fastest growing form of government-funded healthcare and the rate of fraud within this segment has come under increased scrutiny. Funding is determined by the health status of each beneficiary; therefore, accurate coding based on detailed documentation makes the medical record vital to the process because some ...

New Codes for COVID Booster Vaccine & Monoclonal Antibody Products

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New codes have been announced for the COVID-19 booster vaccine, Novavax vaccine, and monoclonal antibody treatment.

Will CMS Allow Medicare Advantage Organizations to Risk Adjust from Audio-Only Encounters? 

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While audio-only telehealth services became a covered benefit during the PHE, CMS put limitations on using the data from those encounters for risk adjustment scoring. Medicare Advantage (MA) plans cannot use the information from these encounters to be scored for risk adjustment; however, it can be used for risk adjustment scoring of ACA plans.

How Does Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) Affect Risk Adjustment?

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CMS recently announced the 53 Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs) that will be participating in the April 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) Model. Among those participating is Clover Health Partners, who runs an in-home primary care program that has the potential to help Medicare ...

Managed Care Organizations Use CMS Tools to Identify Outliers

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Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) include risk-adjusted plans whose funding is based on the health status of their beneficiaries. Government-funded MCOs use CMS information to search for suspected cases of fraud and abuse.

OIG Plans for Onslaught of Risk Adjustment Audits Claiming 9.5% Error Rate in Code Assignment

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As the OIG has published their intent to further investigate the 9.5% of improper payments based on incorrect ICD-10-CM code assignation, they implore Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to begin employing some of the CMS tools and data analytic programs used to help identify outliers.

Identifying Risk-Adjusted Services During the Opioid Crisis

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Between June 2019 and June 2020, the United States saw a total of 107,750 deaths from COVID-19. The spread of this virus was so extraordinary that it led President Trump to declare a public health emergency, and we watched as individual states began implementing laws and regulations to limit social interaction ...

New Communication Technology-Based Services (CTBS) Codes for Nonphysicians

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Medicare continues to expand the number of services provided via technology. There are some interesting new codes for nonphysician practitioners (NPPs) (e.g., psychologists, physical therapists) that became effective on January 1, 2021. Communication Technology-Based Services (CTBS), also known as virtual check-ins, describe specific short provider-patient communications which are initiated by the patient.

Q/A: For E/M, How do I Count Tests Ordered in One Department and Performed in Another?

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Question: I am in an ENT office as part of a large clinic with separate practices including audiology, CT, and allergy, all billing under the same TAX ID. Sometimes tests are ordered which are done in other departments that my office does not bill for, would those be considered an outside source? Answer: This is a great question and one that has been asked by many coders and auditors.

How to Combat COVID-Related Risk Adjustment Losses with the Medicare Annual Wellness Exam

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Identifying new ways to encourage Medicare beneficiaries to schedule and attend their Annual Wellness Exam (AWE) can be difficult, but the Open Enrollment period is a prime time for every payer to identify new beneficiaries and provide a reminder to both new and existing patients that this preventive service does ...

How Reporting E/M Based on Time May Lose Money

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Just like math teachers who require students to show their work so they can see how the student reached their answer, providers are also required to "show their work" through the documentation process in the medical record. By the time a provider has reviewed the patient's subjective complaints (i.e., patient's ...

Critical Evaluation and Management Changes Recently Announced by AMA

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On March 9, 2021, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced some pretty significant changes in relation to reporting Evaluation and Management (E/M) services, particularly for Office or Other Outpatient Services (99202-99215). The AMA Editorial Panel had previously met to discuss how to address concerns and made changes surrounding Office or Other Outpatient Services which are retroactive to January 1, 2021. Learn more about those changes in this article.

How Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Data Enhances Risk Adjustment

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The role of SDOH in overall patient care and outcomes has become a more common topic of discussion among healthcare providers, payers, and policymakers alike. All are attempting to identify and collect SDOH and correlate the data to patient management which is increasingly seen as necessary to address certain health disparities and identify exactly how SDOH affects patient health outcomes. Learn how to address this important subject.

New Procedure Codes for the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine

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On January 19, 2021, the AMA announced two new CPT codes for reporting the Janssen Pharmaceutica (a division of Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. Of course, just as with the other COVID-19 vaccines, they must be given FDA approval for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to be administered before the codes can be reported. As is ...

Looking Beyond an Employee's Coding Credentials

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In today's ever-changing healthcare environment, it is important that organizations hire coding and reimbursement personnel who enjoy learning. Each year changes are made in how healthcare services are coded and reported from federal and state laws, the code sets themselves, and varying payer policies. During the public health emergency (PHE) ...

AMA Announcement of Additional COVID Vaccine Codes and Guideline Changes in December

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On Friday, December 17, 2020, the AMA announced several changes in relation to the addition of new codes for the COVID-19 vaccine under development by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford. Codes 91302, 0021A, and 0022A were published on the AMA website and will be effective once they have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA.

ICD-10 Code Updates for January 1st

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Be aware that new ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS codes took effect on January 1, 2021. Rarely have ICD-10-CM codes been released in January, but as you may have guessed, these changes are in relation to COVID-19. The information in this article will help your organization understand these changes.

CMS Reduces the Exchange User Fee to Support Lower Premiums for the Consumer

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It has been no secret that Americans have been complaining about the high cost of health plans since implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed and in many states are equal to or exceed the cost of their rent or mortgage payments. As such, most ...

How Might the New 2021 E/M Guideline Changes Impact Risk Adjustment?

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While provider organizations are busy learning the new E/M guideline changes being implemented January 1, 2021, Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) are contemplating how the documentation changes for these services may impact risk adjustment coding. To be clear, the new E/M guidelines only pertain to Office and Other Outpatient E/M Services ...

COVID Vaccine Codes Announced

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On November 10, 2020, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced the addition of two new codes which will be used for the new COVID-19 vaccines along with 4 new administration codes to be used when reporting the administration of these vaccines.

Are You Aware of the 2021 Star Rating System Updates?

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Each year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publishes the Star Ratings System Updates for Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Prescription (Part D). This rating system was developed to help beneficiaries identify and select the health plans that best meet their needs, specifically addressing main issues:  Quality of ...

Delving Into the 360 Assessment Fraud Complaint

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The Department of Justice is pursuing claims of healthcare fraud against Cigna Health-Spring Medicare Advantage plan based on how they used data from their 360 Program in 2012. A review of the allegations may help other payers avoid similar accusations.

CMS Expands Telehealth Again

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On October 14, 2020, CMS announced further changes to expand telehealth coverage. Eleven (11) new codes have been added to their list of covered services bringing the current total to 144 services. The new services include some neurostimulator analysis and programming services as well as some cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.

What is the Difference Between the Medicare 1995 and 1997 Documentation Guidelines for E/M Services?

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When Medicare determined that providers could follow EITHER the 1995 OR the 1997 Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management Services to determine which level of E/M service to report, because CMS had not clarified that portions of the 1995 and 1997 guidelines could be used together to determine the level of ...

Significant COVID-19 Code Changes as of October 6

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Significant COVID-19 Code Changes as of October 6

New Codes for Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS)

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New codes for Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) are effective October 1, 2020 based on the grade/severity of the symptoms. This article covers the new grading scales.

ICD-10-CM 2021 Coding Updates for Chiropractic

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October 1st is just around the corner and that means it’s time for updates to the ICD-10-CM code set. This year there are some interesting changes such as a new headache type, new codes related to TMJ, several new codes for reporting accidents involving micro-mobility devices (e.g., hoverboard), and some other changes.

More COVID-19 Codes Added as of September 8, 2020

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The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced the addition of two more CPT codes in relation to COVID and the Public Health Emergency (PHE). Codes 99702 and 86413 were posted to the AMA website on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 and new guidelines have been added as well.

2021 Brings Another Risk Adjustment Calculation Change

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In 2021, a big change in Risk Adjustment score calculations will take place, which will affect payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans for the coming year and take us closer to quality and value-based programs instead of fee-for-service (FFS) or risk-adjusted (RA). Currently, CMS pays a per-enrollee capitated...

Additional COVID-19 Testing Codes Announced

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New coronavirus antigen testing codes announced. These are effective immediately.

Are Diagnoses from Telehealth Services Eligible for Risk Adjustment?

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On April 10th, CMS released a memo with the subject line, “Applicability of diagnoses from telehealth services for risk adjustment,” suggesting there may be some telehealth services that might not qualify for risk adjustment. However, in the memo CMS states: “Diagnoses resulting from telehealth services can meet the risk adjustment face-to-face ...

ICD-10-CM - Supplement information for E-Cigarette/Vaping Reporting

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The CDC has released additional information and coding guidance for reporting encounters related to the 2019 health care encounters and deaths related to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI).  The update offers coding scenarios for general guidance, poisoning and toxicity, substance abuse and signs and symptoms.  ICD-10-CM Official Coding Guidelines - ...

Additional Telehealth Changes Announced by CMS

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On April 30, 2020, CMS announced additional sweeping changes to meet the challenges of providing adequate healthcare during this pandemic. These changes expand the March 31st changes. The article covers some of the key changes. See the official announcement in the references below.

Dismal OIG Report on Telemedicine

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Providers need to understand the rules for reporting telemedicine services. A recent OIG report shows that this is not the case. What problems are being found in documentation claims? As providers are expanding their telehealth offerings, now is the time to understand the potential pitfalls since disallowed amounts will be taken back.

New CPT® Codes Approved for COVID-19 Antibody Identification

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On April 10, 2020, the American Medical Association approved and published a revision of code 86318 and added two new codes 86328 and 86769 for reporting Coronavirus [COVID-19] antibody testing.

CMS Temporarily Suspends Contract-Level RADV Audits

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is suspending contract-level RADV audits, related to the payment year 2015 and will not initiate any new ones until after the public health emergency has ended. Any documentation already submitted will be reviewed as usual.

CMS Announces Final 2021 HCC Risk Adjustment Changes

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On April 6, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published their final Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D payment methodologies for CY 2021. Read more to be prepared for these upcoming changes.

ICD-10-CM Official Coding and Reporting Guidelines Updated for COVID-19

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The ICD-10-CM Official Coding and Reporting Guidelines have just been updated to include COVID reporting. Additional information beyond the previously released interim guidelines are included. These are the rules that should be followed for claims submission. The notice states that this is for April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

"What is the ICD-10 code for...?" - Search Smarter With Find-A-Code Tools

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Do you still find yourself searching the internet for an ICD10 code? Medical coders often type into their search engine, what is the ICD10 code for ... and a specific diagnosis code, to avoid repeatedly dragging out the incredibly large ICD10 codebook. Ironically, some of the most commonly searched ICD10 diagnoses include: ...

Understand the New Codes for Testing & Reporting the COVID-19 Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

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The current coronavirus pandemic refers to COVID-19, a novel or new type of coronavirus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first victim of the virus was identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China at the end of 2019. There is no immunization available to prevent it from spreading and ...

Additional Coronavirus Testing Code Announced

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On March 13, 2020, a new CPT code was announced by the American Medical Association (AMA) who maintains the CPT code set. This early release of a CPT code is rare and is effective immediately.

New HCPCS Code for Coronavirus Testing Announced

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Currently, healthcare providers testing patients for Coronavirus must use an unspecified code. To provide better tracking, on February 13, 2020, CMS announced the creation of a new HCPCS code.

A 2020 Radiology Coding Change You Need To Know

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The radiology section of the 2020 CPT© has 1 new, 18 revised, and 14 deleted codes. Interestingly, six of the 14 deleted codes were specific to reporting single-photon computerized tomographic (SPECT) imaging services of the brain, heart, liver, bladder, and others. If your organization reports radiology services, it is...

Medicare Announces Coverage of Acupuncture Services

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On January 21, 2020, a CMS Newsroom press-release read, This new announcement is both exciting and refreshing. Acupuncture, a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and most commonly used to treat pain, is now being officially recognized by Medicare and several other large payers as a covered, alternative treatment option for ...


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