"Documentation" & "Practice Management" Articles


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How to Search Find-A-Code for Medicare Policies and Guidelines — LCDs, NCDs and Articles —

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Help for Searching Find-A-Code when searching for Medicare Policies and Guidelines — LCDs, NCDs and/or Articles.

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 ...

My Location and CBSA is Missing!

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We often get questions on missing Core Based Statistical Areas, known as CBSAs. CBSAs are used for pricing and other factors according to the geographical location. If you do not see your CBSA, it is important to note they are not missing - it may not have an assignment, according to ...

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.

Payment Adjustment Rules for Multiple Procedures and CCI Edits

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Surgical and medical services often include work that is required to be done prior to a procedure and post-procedure. When there are multiple procedures done by the same physician, group, or another qualified healthcare professional on the same day, the pre and post work is only required once. Therefore, CMS ...

New ABN Form is Here

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The anticipated changes to the Advanced Beneficiary Notice of Non-coverage (ABN) Form (CMS-R-131) have arrived. This important form is issued to the patient or client by providers, physicians, practitioners, and suppliers in situations where Medicare payment is expected to be denied. You can begin using the new ABN immediately if you so wish. However, it becomes mandatory on August 31, 2020.

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 ...

Getting Your Practice Back on Track

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As we begin returning back to work, we will all face a new normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of business. While it has certainly been a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing regulations (that’s likely to continue for a little longer), exciting new opportunities have also been created, such as the expansion of telemedicine. There’s also the maze of government funding that needs to be navigated and an increased awareness of OSHA standards to implement.

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.

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.

Financial Impact of CARES Act on Healthcare Providers

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The recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has several provisions to ease the financial burden being faced by healthcare providers who have been impacted by the effect of the coronavirus. Learn more about how the Provider Relief Fund and the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program work.

"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: ...

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 ...

Why is HIPAA So Important?

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Why is HIPAA So Important? Some may think that what they do to protect patient information may be a bit extreme. Others in specialty medical fields and research understand its importance a little more. Most of that importance lies in the information being protected. Every patient has a unique set of ...

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: ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Role of Chiropractic in Value Based Payment Systems

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Chiropractic care can play a valuable role in overall patient health. It is important to realize that chiropractors can effectively participate in Medicare's new value based payment systems. Read about one organization who has made this transition.

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 ...

Are These Problems Hurting Your Practice?

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There are many things that can be missed when trying to run an effective and profitable practice. This article covers some important tasks that are often overlooked such as not reviewing your payer contracts or failing to check eligibility.

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 ...

Q/A: Do I Really Need to Have an Interpreter?

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Question: I heard that I need to have an interpreter if someone who only speaks Spanish comes into my office. Is this really true? Answer:  Yes! There are both state and federal laws that need to be considered. The applicable federal laws are: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,  Americans with Disabilities ...

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. ...

Small Breaches Can Be Subject to Large Penalties

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Small Breaches Can Be Subject to Large Penalties    We may have heard about the large fines issued by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against big organizations like Anthem or the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. These organizations have been in the news due to privacy breaches that constituted violations ...

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?

Q/A: Two Payers Both Paid the Claim. Who Gets the Refund?

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Question  We have a personal injury situation where we submitted a claim was sent to the patient's auto policy carrier who refused payment. We then submitted it to her other insurance. Eventually, both companies paid her claims. Her auto paid at full value, and her secondary paid at a reduced rate ...

Prioritize Your Patient's Financial Experience

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For many years, the ChiroCode DeskBook has emphasized the need for providers to firmly establish the patient’s financial responsibility through clear communication. We even created a “Patient Financial Responsibility Acknowledgment Form” to help providers with this process. Lately, the lack of pricing transparency has been in the news and even ...

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.

Watch out for People-Related ‘Gotchas’

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In Chapter 3 — Compliance of the ChiroCode DeskBook, we warn about the dangers of disgruntled people (pages 172-173). Even if we think that we are a wonderful healthcare provider and office, there are those individuals who can and will create problems. As frustrating as it may be, there are ...

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 ...

Q/A: What's the Difference Between Q5 and Q6 for a Substitute Provider?

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It is important to understand that modifiers Q5 and Q6 are not interchangeable. So when do you use each of them?

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 ...

Clinical Staff vs. Healthcare Professional

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State scope of practice laws and regulations will help determine who is considered Clinical staff and Other qualified Health Care professionals.  Physician or other qualified healthcare professionals:  Must have a State license, education training showing qualifications as well as facility privileges.  Examples of Qualified Healthcare professionals: (NOTE: this list is not all-inclusive, please refer to your payer ...

Attestations Teaching Physicians vs Split Shared Visits

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Physicians often use the term "attestation" to refer to any kind of statement they insert into a progress note for an encounter involving work by a resident, non-physician practitioner (NPP), or scribe. However, for compliance and documentation purposes, "attestation" has a specific meaning and there are distinct requirements for what ...

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

Are You Protecting Your Dental Practice From Fraud?

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With the expansion of dental coverage through Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans, an ever-increasing number of dental claims have come under scrutiny for fraud. One such payer, Aetna, is actively pursuing dental fraud by employing their special investigative units (SIUs) to identify and investigate providers who demonstrate unusual coding and ...


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