"Medicare" & "Claims Processing" 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 ...

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 ...

Office of Inspector General Says Medicare Advantage Organizations are Denying Services Inappropriately

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We attended the recent virtual RISE National Conference and had the opportunity to listen to presenters share their knowledge about risk adjustment and HCC reporting and data validation. Among the presenters were representatives from the Office of Inspector General (OIG), who presented findings from encounter data from 2012-2016. They began ...

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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MEGA - NCCI Edit Changes - WHO Knew?

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There was no huge announcement when CMS released new files in April. The files that were released on April 7, 2020, actually replaced files to update the NCCI edits on Procedure to Procedure (PTP) edits and Medically Unlikely Edits (MUE).  The updated files included; 291,902 Deleted Procedure to Procedure (PTP) edits 197  Deleted Medically Unlikely ...

Changes in Medicare Advantage and Part D

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized several changes in Medicare Advantage and Part D on Friday.  The Trump administration has finalized several changes in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D in anticipation of bid submissions on June 1. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released  Friday that includes ...

Where is the CCI Edit with Modifier 25 on E/M?

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If you are not seeing a CCI edit when reporting an E/M code with a certain procedure, it may be that there is no edit. CMS does not have a CCI edit for every CPT code, however, there are still general coding rules that must be followed.  The use of Modifier 25 is one example ...

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.

COVID-19 Chiropractic Resources

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COVID-19 Chiropractic Resources contains current, updated information regarding COVID-19. Included are lists of webinars, articles, websites and links pertaining to the ongoing 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

Medicare Part D Coverage Gap (Donut Hole) Closes in 2020

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Overview of the Part D coverage gap, how it got closed, what the picture looks like for 2020, and long-term outlook.

"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 ...

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.

Q/A: Did Noridian Stop Covering the M99.0- Codes?

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Question: I heard that Medicare Noridian Jurisdiction F (Alaska) has been denying claims with M99.00, M99.01, M99.02, M99.03 etc codes when billed with the CMT CPT codes. Did Medicare change their policy?

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 ...

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 ...

Medical Insurance Coverage for TMJ Disorders (TMD)

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It is agreed that TMJ disorders should be covered by insurance. There are often questions whether it is covered by medical insurance or dental insurance and where the line is that separates coverage.Medical Insurance typically is the primary insurance for TMJ disorders. The reason is that joints are found anywhere ...

Changes to Portable X-Ray Requirements

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On September 30, 2019, CMS published a final rule which made changes to portable x-ray services requirements as found in the law.

Documentation Tips

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Documenting Medical NecessityTo receive reimbursement from medical insurers, you need to make a case that proves that dental surgery is necessary for the patient. To make your case, you need to explain your decision process in terms that a medical insurer can understand, using ICD-10 codes and CPT codes. These ...

CMS and HHS Tighten Enrollment Rules and Increase Penalties

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This ruling impacts what providers and suppliers are required to disclose to be considered eligible to participate in Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The original proposed rule came out in 2016 and this final rule will go into effect on November 4, 2019.  There have been known problems ...

Q/A: How Do I Bill a House Call?

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Question If a provider makes a house call to/for a patient, is there a way that it is represented on the claim form?  A modifier, or something else? Answer Modifiers are not used to identify that a service was performed in the patient's home. However, other modifier rules must be followed (e.g., modifier GP ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Anthem is Changing their Timely Filing Requirements for All Plans, Including Medicare Advantage

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Anthem has been very busy sending out notices stating that, beginning October 1, 2019, all timely filing deadlines for claims will be 90 days. We've seen this letter, or something very similar, sent to doctors and other healthcare providers from California to Kentucky. In their notice, Anthem states: "Effective for all commercial ...

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 ...

Act Now on CMS Proposal to Cover Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain

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Now is the time to comment on a proposal to cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain. This comment period is the part of the HHS response to the opioid crisis. You only have until August 14th to officially comment.

Helping Others Understand How to Apply Incident to Guidelines

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Over the past few months, I have worked with different organizations that have been misinterpreting the "incident to" guidelines and, in return, have been billing for services rendered by staff that are not qualified to perform the services per AMA and CPT. What I found within the variances is that ...

A United Approach

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A United Approach As auditors, we all have a different perspective when evaluating documentation. It would be unreasonable to think that we all view things the same way. In my opinion, differing perspectives are what makes a great team because you can coalesce on a particular chart, work it through and ...

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 ...

Medicare Revises Their Appeals Process

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On April 12, 2019, Medicare announced that there will be some changes to their appeals process effective June 13, 2019. According to the MLN Matters release (see References), the following policy revisions in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual (MCPM), Chapter 29 are taking place: The policy on use of electronic signatures Timing ...

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 ...

Q/A: How Many Diagnosis Codes do I use?

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Question: My patient has a lot of chronic conditions. Do I need to include all these on the claim? I know that I can have up to 12 diagnoses codes on a single claim. What if I need more than that? Answer: More is not always better. You only need to ...

Q/A: What do I do When a Medicare Patient Refuses to Sign an ABN?

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Question: What do I do when a Medicare patient refuses to sign an ABN? Answer: That depends on whether the patient is still demanding to have/receive the service/supply. If they aren’t demanding the service, then there is no need to force the issue. Just make sure that you still have an ...

Prolonged Services

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Prolonged Services I find in my own audit reviews that the prolonged service code set is often mistreated: they are avoided and not used even when the scenario supports them, or they get overused and improperly documented. Prolonged services are used in conjunction with all types of Evaluation and Management (E/M) ...

Clearing Up Some Medicare Participation Misunderstandings

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Even though we may think we truly understand what it means to be a participating provider, Medicare doesn’t quite work the way that other insurance plans do. Far too many providers do not understand the difference and get into hot water. To further complicate matters, the rules are different for ...

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. ...

Revised ABN Requirements Still Fuzzy

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Although it has been quite some time since ChiroCode published an article about the revised instructions for non-participating providers  who use the ABN, there are still some outstanding questions about this change. So far, Medicare has not provided additional guidance about this question despite requests by us for clarification. Medicare now requires non-participating providers to include the ...

Date of Service Reporting for Radiology Services

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Providers need to ensure that they are reporting radiology dates of service the way the payer has requested. Unlike other many other professional services which only have one date of service (DOS), radiology services can span multiple dates. Medicare requirements may differ from professional organization recommendations.

Q/A: Can you Help me Understand the New Medicare Insurance Cards?

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As many of you are aware, CMS began issuing new Medicare identification cards last year which required the replacement of social security numbers with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). All cards have now been mailed out and patient's should have the new cards when they come in. Currently, we are in the transition period until January 2020.

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 ...

Medicare Supplemental Policies (MediGap) and Extremity Adjustments

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The nice thing about MediGap policies is that they pay for some of the healthcare costs that an original Medicare plan (Part B) does not cover. So when a patient has Medicare and a Medicare supplement (MediGap) and their condition is related to an extremity (a noncovered service), Medicare must ...

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 ...

Charging Missed Appointment Fees for Medicare Patients

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Some providers mistakenly think that they cannot bill a missed appointment fee for Medicare beneficiaries. You can, but Medicare has specific rules that must be followed. These rules are outlined in the Medicare Claims Policy Manual, Chapter 1, Section 30.3.13. You must have an official “Missed Appointment Policy” which is ...

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 ...

Empowering Medicare Beneficiaries

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BLOG: CMS announced a NEWS release today making it easier to help Medicare Beneficiaries access cost and quality information. CMS announced,  "Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new app that gives consumers a modernized Medicare experience with direct access on a mobile device to some of ...

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 ...

CMS Finalizes Major Changes to ACO Program

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Back in August of 2018, as part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program), CMS proposed some sweeping changes for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). There has been some controversy over these changes which require ACOs to move to two-sided models. In this Final Rule which was scheduled to be published in the Federal Register ...


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