"Skilled Nursing" & "Documentation" Articles


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Cross-A-Code Instructions in Find-A-Code

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Cross-A-Code is a tool found in Find-A-Code which helps you to locate codes in other code sets that help you when submitting a claim.

Medicare Improper Payment Report for Chiropractic (2019)

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CMS audits claims on an annual basis to identify improper payments. These improper payments do not measure fraud. Rather, they estimate the share of payments that did not meet Medicare coverage, coding, and billing rules. In the most recent Improper Payment Report by specialty, chiropractic has the highest Part B improper payment ...

Medicare Improper Payment Report for Behavioral Health Services (2019)

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CMS audits claims on an annual basis to identify improper payments. These improper payments do not measure fraud. Rather, they estimate the share of payments that did not meet Medicare coverage, coding, and billing rules. In the most recent Improper Payment Report, behavioral health services have some of the highest Part ...

Medicare Improper Payment Report (2019)

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The Medicare Improper Payment Report for 2019 has been released by the OIG. Please note that the improper payment rate does not measure fraud. Rather, it estimates the payments that did not meet Medicare coverage, coding, and billing rules. The estimated Medicare FFS payment accuracy rate (claims paid correctly) from July ...

Coding Injections for Pain Management

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Coding for pain management can get confusing. How many injections, the location, and when to use a modifier are all common questions. This article will cover some of the most common injections used in pain management. Trigger Point Injections Trigger point injections are reported by how many muscles are treated using an ...

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 ...

OIG Report Highlights Need to Understand Guidelines

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A new OIG report once again highlights the necessity for organizations to fully understand requirements for reporting services and having proper documentation. The types of problems addressed in this report are ongoing issues for multiple types of services and specialties and for many different payers.

New Grouper Added for Skilled Nursing

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The additional grouper for Skilled Nursing, sometimes referred to as (PDPM), is used for classifying SNF patients in a covered Part A stay. This grouper is included with our Home Health Grouper.  Current groupers/calculators include: Home Health PDGM (Patient-Driven Grouping Model) Skilled Nursing Facility PDPM (Patient-Driven Payment Model) What is it? According to CMS, In ...

Are NCCI Edits and Modifiers Just for Medicare?

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The National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits were developed by CMS to help promote proper coding and control improper coding that leads to incorrect payments with part B claims. It is important to understand that NCCI edits do not include every possible code combination or every type of un-bundling combination. With that ...

Understanding UCR Inpatient Fees used on DRGs

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Newest Launch - We Now Have Outpatient Facility Pricing!

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Our newest feature launch offers UCR pricing for Outpatient Facility. We recently released pricing information based on databases of insurance claims from private-sector health care providers.Usual, customary, and reasonable charges (UCR) are medical fees used when there are no contractual pricing agreements and are used by certain healthcare plans and third-party payers to generate ...

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 - ...

Special COVID Laboratory Specimen Coding Information

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With all the new laboratory test codes that have been added due to the current public health emergency (PHE), there are a few additional guidelines CMS has released about collecting samples to perform the testing. Please keep in mind that these guidelines are by CMS and may or may not apply to other commercial payer policies.

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-Coverage for Therapeutic Shoes for Individuals with Diabetes

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Therapeutic shoes and inserts can play a vital role in a diabetic patient's health. Medicare may cover one pair every year and three pairs of custom inserts each calendar year if the patient qualifies and everything is handled correctly.  Medicare Benefit Policy Manual explains what is needed for a person with diabetes to ...

Who Qualifies for Chronic Care Management Services

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Per MLN Chronic Care Management Services, the following patients are eligible: "Patients with multiple (two or more) chronic conditions expected to last at least 12 months or until the death of the patient, and that place the patient at significant risk of death, acute exacerbation/decompensation, or functional decline, are eligible for CCM services." Examples of chronic conditions ...

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 ...

CMS- Patient Driven Payment Model Effective October 01, 2019

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According to CMS, In July 2018, CMS finalized a new case-mix classification model, the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), that, effective beginning October 1, 2019, will be used under the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) for classifying SNF patients in a covered Part A stay. Using the new Patient-Driven ...

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: ...

Medical ID Theft

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Medical ID Theft "So, do you guys think you can do something with that?" John asked angrily at our first meeting with him in August 2017 as he slammed a stack of medical bills, EOBs and collection letters - three inches high - down in front of my partner and I. ...

The OIG Work Plan: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) founded its Office of Inspector General (OIG) in 1976 and tasked it with the responsibility to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within Medicare, Medicaid, and the other HHS programs. With approximately 1,600 employees, HHS OIG is the largest inspector general's office within ...

Q/A: What if my Patient Refuses to Fill out the Outcome Assessment Questionnaire?

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Question: What if my Medicare patient refuses to fill out the outcome assessment questionnaire? Answer: Inform the patient that Medicare requires that you demonstrate functional improvement in order for them to determine if the care is medically necessary. In other words, they may have to pay for the care out of pocket if ...

The Slippery Slope For CDI Specialists

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Who knew that when Jack & Jill when up the hill to fetch a pail of water, they would have to ensure that in order to keep the level of water the same on the way back down, they would need to both support the pail.  Many of you in this industry are ...

Q/A: What do I Need to Document for Periodic Adjustments on a Medicare Patient?

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Question: What type of documentation is required for a Medicare patient with degenerative joint disease who get adjusted once or twice a month for occasional flare-ups of the D. J. D. region? The noted adjustments give good relief of the patient's symptoms. Answer: There is no question that these adjustments would be considered ...

The Facts of Critical Care

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Critical care services remain to not only be an area of confusion for providers, coders, and auditors, but also a constant target for the carriers for audit. We can sit back and look at critical care and think of all of the ways the code descriptor and/or use could be ...

5 Ways to Minimize HIPAA Liabilities

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Last year was historic for HIPAA enforcement. The HHS Office of Civil Rights collected a record $23.5 million in settlements and judgments against providers guilty of HIPAA violations. To avoid becoming part of that unwanted statistic, it’s important to pay extra close attention to five key areas of HIPAA vulnerability. Take ...

The Importance of Medical Necessity

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ICD-10-CM codes represent the first line of defense when it comes to medical necessity. Correctly chosen diagnosis codes support the reason for the visit as well as the level of the E/M services provided. The issue of medical necessity is one of definitions and communication. What is obvious to the ...

2018 Medicare Improper Payment Report Shows Slight Improvement but There's Still Work to be Done

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The Medicare Improper Payment Report for 2018 is not a measurement of fraud. Rather, it is an estimate of the claims paid by Medicare which did not meet Medicare coverage, coding, and billing rules. The estimated Medicare FFS payment accuracy rate (claims paid correctly) from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, was 91.9 percent. ...

How to Properly Report Monitoring Patients Taking Blood-thinning Medications

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Codes 93792 and 93792, which were added effective January 1, 2019, have specific guidelines that need to be followed. This article provides some guidance and tips on properly reporting these services.

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 ...

How to Code Ophthalmologic Services Accurately

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Have you ever tried to quickly recall the elements required to support a comprehensive ophthalmologic exam versus an intermediate one? Make coding decisions quickly by creating a cheat sheet containing vital information that allows you to quickly select the right code. According to Article A19881 which was published in 2004 and ...

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?

Electrical Stimulation and Electromagnetic Therapy Devices

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Electrical Stimulation and Electromagnetic Therapy Devices can be used for pain, muscle atrophy, help spinal cord injuries, treat symptoms caused by other medical conditions and can be used in the treatment of wounds. This Regence BC/BS article lists codes and devices and gives guidance on coding from Medicare Advantage viewpoint.

Q/A: If Orthopedic Tests are Negative, do You List Them in Your Treatment Notes?

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Question: If orthopedic tests are negative, do you need to still list them in your treatment notes? Answer: Yes. Any tests which are performed by a healthcare provider, regardless of the result, should be documented in the patient record. This record is the only way that a reviewer or another provider ...

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 ...

Auditing Chiropractic Services

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Chiropractic is unique from other types of health care and auditors need to be aware of the nuances of this field. Chiropractic has become the focus of more and more audits as doctors seem to struggle to create records that properly support the care provided to the patient throughout the entire episode.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Used for Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain is a condition that can be diagnosed on its own or diagnosed as a part of another condition. When coding chronic pain, there is no time frame defining when pain becomes chronic pain; the provider’s documentation should be used to guide the use of these codes. ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Codes ...

Pain Codes in ICD-10-CM

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When coding with ICD-10-CM, pain codes can be found in different sections: The Body System affected or site-specific pain codes, such as Low Back Pain M54.5, can be found in Chapter 13. Diseases of the Musculoskeletal system (M00-M99). Other examples might be ocular pain H57.1, found in Chapter 7. Diseases of ...

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. ...

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 ...

Coding Medicare Initial Preventive Physical Exams (IPPE)

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The Medicare Initial Preventive Physical Exam (IPPE), also commonly referred to as the “Welcome to Medicare Physical”, may seem daunting to many, but when broken out to identify the requirements is fairly straightforward. Purpose An IPPE helps the Medicare beneficiary (the patient) get to know their healthcare provider at a time when they ...

Medical Necessity vs. Documentation for Inpatient Services

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Auditing the documentation of inpatient and observation E/M services can often be challenging. Many of the notes we are provided for review include so much information that the note feels like a short novel instead of documentation for one date of service. This over-documentation can make it difficult to see ...

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 ...

Home Oxygen Therapy

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Home Oxygen Therapy Guidelines


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