"Location: All Locations" & "Procedure Coding" Articles


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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 ...

Important Changes to Shared/Split Services

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Reporting of split (or shared) services has always been wrought with the potential for incorrect reporting when the fundamental principles of the service are not understood. A recent CMS publication about these services further complicates the matter.

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.

Chronic Care Management Services

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This article discusses some of the different Chronic Care Management (CCM) Services found in both the CPT and HCPCS code sets. CCM is not the same as Case Management Services in that case management has to do with “coordinating, managing access to, initiating, and/or supervising'' patient healthcare services whereas CCM services also require the patient to have a condition(s) which is expected to last at least a year or until their death.

PCS Coding for Ankle Fracture - Look Deeper Into the Codes!

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If you're looking for ankle fractures in ICD-10-PCS, you may need to look a little deeper. Let's take a look at coding an ankle fracture such as a trimalleolar fracture. PCS coding can be confusing as it is nothing like CPT coding; with CPT we can simply code an ankle ...

Intersegmental Traction — What’s Happening with Roller Tables?

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Intersegmental traction therapy via the use of roller tables has been used by doctors of chiropractic for many years. Recently, questions have arisen regarding the appropriate billing of roller tables. This is largely due to the statement published in the July 2020 CPT Assistant published by the American Medical Association (AMA). Which code should you really be using?

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 ...

Comparison of Add-On Code Guidelines

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Add-on codes are codes that are not intended to be reported alone. They are reported with another primary procedure to identify that additional services have been provided in conjunction with that primary procedure. Generally, they include the words “List separately in addition to code.” Interestingly, there are some differences in the instructions/guidelines regarding the use of these codes in the CPT® codebook, the NCCI Policy Manual, and on the CMS website. This article outlines the differences between each of these.

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 ...

Properly Reporting Imaging Overreads (Including X-Rays)

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hile many provider groups offer some imaging services in their offices, others may rely on external imaging centers. When the provider reviews images performed by an external source (e.g., independent imaging center), that is typically referred to as an overread or a re-read. Properly reporting that work depends on a variety of factors as discussed in this article.

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.

Why CMS Created G2212 for Prolonged Services Instead of 99417

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This article discusses WHY CMS decided to create code G2212 to be used with prolonged office Evaluation and Management (E/M) services instead of code 99417 as of January 1, 2021. The proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule stated that code 99417 would be used so it is essential to understand why they made this change to avoid potential problems with billing these services.

2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Updates - Do You Really Need to Worry?

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How To Properly Report Prolonged Services Using 99417 or G2212

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Prolonged Evaluation & Management codes underwent big changes in 2021, including the creation of a new prolonged code (99417), reportable only with codes 99205 or 99215. While Medicare has agreed to accept the AMA's CPT E/M coding changes, they have formulated an opinion contrary to how CPT calculates time specific ...

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) ...

Instructions for Looking up IOM References in innoviHealth's HCPCS Publication

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These instructions help owners of innoviHealth's HCPCS Coding for 2021 book access the references to Medicare's Internet-only Manuals (IOMs) which are copies of official program instructions, policies, and procedures that are based on statutes, regulations, guidelines, models, and directives.

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 ...

CMS Final Rule Changes E/M Reporting Guidelines

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Just when we thought we had figured out Evaluation and Management (E/M) reporting for 2021, CMS released their final rule and now we will need to make some adjustments. While CMS stated that they were adopting the AMA guidelines for E/M office or other outpatient services, they did make a few changes.

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 ...

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.

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 ...

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...

Modifier 50 — Four "Must Know" Tips For Getting Paid

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Modifiers added to an HCPCS or CPT© code alters the code description, providing clarity about the service for proper claim processing and reimbursement. Here are four things you must know about modifier 50 to ensure proper payment. - Modifiers are either informational or payment related. Informational modifiers provide additional...

Impact of 2021 Proposed Medicare Fee Schedule on Chiropractic Offices

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On August 3, 2020, the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2021 was released. This 1,355 page document includes some sweeping changes to the Medicare program. There are a few items in particular which should be noted by chiropractic offices.

Coding with PCS When There is No Code

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ICD-10-PCS covers ALMOST everything! But not quite! What if a body system does not contain a body part for toes or fingers? What about an elbow? When it does not cover what you are looking for, where do you turn?  To the guidelines, of course! There are ICD-10-PCS guidelines just as ...

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 ...

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.

More Telehealth Changes Announced by CMS

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On March 31, 2020, CMS announced further changes to their telehealth program in response to this unprecedented public health emergency (PHE). See this article for further information as well as references & links to CMS information

"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.

Acupuncture Clarification

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In the ChiroCode Newsletter released yesterday regarding Medicare coverage of acupuncture, one sentence in particular has let to some confusion. Read more about it here.

Medicare Begins Covering Acupuncture Services

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Medicare is changing their policy regarding coverage of acupuncture, but in order to provide these services, you must follow their rules.

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 ...

Q/A: How do we Bill Massage Services?

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Question: We are adding a massage therapist soon and have some questions about billing their services.

Billing for Telemedicine in Chiropractic

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Many large private payers recognize the potential cost savings and improved health outcomes that telemedicine can help achieve, therefore they are often willing to cover it. While there are several considerations, there could be certain circumstances where telemedicine might apply to chiropractic care.

Who Knew? There are Three Types of Add-On Codes

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Using add-on codes with HCPCS/CPT is not as simple as 123! Although there are three different groups of add-on codes assigned by CMS, these are used to identify code edits. It is easy to see the add-on code with some codes; we can see the instructional notes and phrases such ...


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