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


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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 ...

Reporting the Health Effects of Vaping Now and in April 2020

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To report vaping related conditions/disorders, use the official CDC guidelines to ensure proper documentation of vaping related health conditions. There is also a new code that will become effective April 1, 2020.

Regence: Dental Procedures Under The BlueCard Program?

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This information can be found on Regence/Blue Cross Dental procedures explaining additional benefits for dental procedures. Regence currently does not offer dental benefits, however, there are times a patient can receive treatment with a Blue Cross provider and qualify under their medical benefits. In addition, Regence informs the providers to file these claims ...

CMS says Codes are on the Move!

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Have you noticed your LCDs are missing something? CMS is moving codes out of LCDs and into Billing and Coding Articles. MACs began moving ICD-10-CM, CPT/HCPCS, Bill Type, and Revenue codes in January 2019, and will continue through January 2020. Therefore, if there is an LCD with its codes removed, you will find ...

Eliminating Consultation Codes?

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There are a few payers that have joined with CMS in discontinuing payment for consultation codes. Most recently, Cigna stated that, as of October 19, 2019, they will implement a new policy to deny the following consultation codes: 99241, 99242, 99243, 99244, 99245, 99251, 99252, 99253, 99254 and 99255. United Healthcare announced they ...

Do ICD-10 Updates Have Your Heart Beating Irregularly? Check Out the New Atrial Fibrillation Codes

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). It is caused by a disorder in the heart’s electrical system. AF is the result of abnormal contractions of the atria (upper two chambers of the heart) causing them to quiver and beat out of sync with ...

The New ICD-10-CM Code Updates Are Here — Are You Ready?

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Chapter 1: Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (A00-B99) A small revision in the description changed[STEC] to (STEC) for B96.21, B96.22, B96.23. Remember, in the instructional guidelines, ( ) parentheses enclose supplementary words not included in the description (or not) and [ ] brackets enclose synonyms, alternative wording, or explanatory phrases. Chapter 2: ...

E-Health is a Big Deal in 2020

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The new 2020 CPT codes are on the way! We are going to see 248 new codes, 71 deletions, and 75 revisions. Health monitoring and e-visits are getting attention; 6 new codes play a vital part in patients taking a part in their care from their own home. New patient-initiated ...

Chiropractic 2020 Codes Changes Are Here

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There are some interesting coding changes which chiropractic offices will want to know about. Are codes that you are billing changing?

Are You Aware of Medicare Advantage Plans Timely Filing Rules?

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The Medicare Fee for Service (FFS) program (Traditional or Original Medicare) has a timely filing requirement; a clean claim for services rendered must be received within one year of the date of service or risk payment denial. As any company who has billed Medicare services can attest, the one-year timely filing ...

How to Properly Report Prolonged Evaluation and Management Services

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Have you ever had a patient take more time with the provider than they were scheduled for? Do you understand which codes to report and the rules that govern them to allow for better reimbursement? Prolonged Service codes were created just for that reason but you must carefully follow the documentation ...

Extrapolation Policies Apply to RAD-V Audits

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Risk Adjustment is a program that was implemented to identify and support Medicare beneficiaries with health conditions, illnesses, or injuries that put them at risk of death or organ system/bodily function failure. Through Risk Adjustment (RA), Medicare ensures their beneficiaries are being followed at least annually for any healthcare conditions ...

What Medical Necessity Tools Does Find-A-Code Offer?

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Find-A-Code is a great resource for individuals working in all aspects of healthcare, from providers and ancillary staff to the attorneys and payers who assess and critique the documentation supporting the services performed. When recently asked what tools Find-A-Code has to help support medical necessity, our response was, "We provide many resources ...

Noting "Noncontributory" for Past Medical, Family, Social History - Is It Acceptable?

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Is "noncontributory" really an unacceptable word to describe a patient whose family history doesn't have any bearing on the condition being evaluated and treated today?

Let's Talk High Risk E/M Services

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Have you ever assigned a high-complexity E/M code (e.g., 99205, 99215, 99223, 99233, 99245, etc.) and wondered if it would stand up to further scrutiny? Well, let’s take a closer look at the requirements for reporting high-level E/M services.   Both the American Medical Association and Medicare-published E/M Guidelines agree that a ...

What is Medical Necessity and How Does Documentation Support It?

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We recently fielded the question, “What is medical necessity and how do I know if it's been met?" The AMA defines medical necessity as: It is important to understand that while the AMA provides general guidance on what they consider medically necessary services, these particular coding guidelines are generic and may be ...

The Impact of Medical Necessity on High Level E/M Services

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I was recently asked the question, "Does 99233 require documentation of a past medical, family, and/or social history (PFSH)?"  The quick answer is, "it depends." Code 99233 has the following minimal component requirement: Subsequent inpatient E/M encounters can meet the code level requirement either by component scoring & medical necessity or time & medical necessity. ...

How to Report Imaging (X-Rays) of the Thumb

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If you've ever taken piano lessons, you know that the thumb is considered the first finger of the hand. Anatomically, it is also referred to as the first phalanx (finger). However, when you are coding an x-ray of the thumb, images are captured of the thumb, hand, wrist, and all ...

Understanding NCCI Edits

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Medicare creates and maintains the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits and NCCI Policy Manual, which identify code pair edits. When performed on the same patient, on the same day, and by the same provider, the secondary code is considered an integral part of the primary code, and payment for ...

Proposed Rule: Expanded Telemedicine Benefits for Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries

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Telemedicine continues its rise, with new technologies allowing for better communication and access to more aspects of healthcare than ever before. Each year Medicare has made strides, albeit small strides, in their telemedicine coverage while commercial payers continue to make great strides, constantly improving and expanding telemedicine service offerings to ...

How to Report Co-Surgeons Using Modifier 62

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Modifier 62 is appended to surgical claims to report the need for the skills of two surgeons (co-surgeons) to perform a procedure, with each surgeon performing a distinct part of the same procedure, during the same surgical session. An easy way to explain this is to visualize a patient requiring cervical fusion where ...

Nine New Codes for Fine Needle Aspirations (FNA) in 2019

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If your practice performs a lot of fine needle aspirations (FNA), you probably have the code options memorized (10021 without image guidance and 10022 with image guidance). However, the 2019 CPT codes now include nine (9) new FNA codes (10004-10012), one deleted FNA code (10022) and one revised FNA code ...

New Genetic Test for Severe Inherited Conditions

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For 2019 a new code has been introduced (81443) which represents genetic testing for 15 genes associated with severe, inherited conditions. The results of this test may be used to identify carrier status during prenatal genetic counseling, confirm a clinical diagnosis, or identify at-risk family members for the following severe ...


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