"Modifier Coding" & "Coding" Articles


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​​Polysomnography Services Under OIG Scrutiny

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The OIG conducted a study dated June 2019 wherein they indicated that there were approximately $269 million in overpayments for polysomnography services for the period of 2014 through 2015. According to the OIG “These errors occurred because the CMS oversight of polysomnography services was insufficient to ensure that providers complied with Medicare requirements and to prevent payment of claims that didn’t meet those requirements.” So what are those requirements?

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.

Understanding How Place of Service Codes Work

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The Place of service (POS) codes are used by CMS, Medicaid, and other private insurance to indicate where medically related items and services are sold or dispensed for a patient. POS codes are used for professional billing and are required to be reported on each claim submitted on a CMS-1500 ...

UCR Anesthesia Fee Calculations and Base Units - Now Available!

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As per customer request, Find-A-Code now offers UCR Anesthesia Fee Calculations along with CMS and ASA. The anesthesia fee calculations can be found under the Fees section of the code and under the Anesthesia Fee Information.   Time units are computed by dividing the reported anesthesia time by 15 minutes (17 minutes / 15 minutes = 1.13 units). NOTE: Always ...

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.

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?

Congress Has Been Busy — 11 Different Bills Pass Covering Mental Health and Substance Use

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The House of Representatives has certainly been working hard to advance behavioral health services. This article summarizes each of those bills and includes a link to contact your Senator.

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.

Coding Lesions and Soft Tissue Excisions

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There are several considerations to be aware of before assigning a code for lesions and soft tissue excisions. The code selection will be determined upon the following: Check the pathology reports, if any, to confirm Morphology (whether the neoplasm is benign, in-situ, malignant, or uncertain) Technique Topography (anatomic location) The size Tissue Level Type of closure required Layers ...

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.

Failure to Follow Payer’s Clinical Staff Rules Costs Provider $273K

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Clinical staff (e.g., LPN, RN, MA) provide essential services which allow providers to leverage their time and improve reimbursement opportunities and run their practices more efficiently. There is, however, an ongoing question of how to appropriately bill for clinical staff time. This is really a complex question which comes down to code descriptions, federal or state licensure, AND payer policies. Failure to understand licensing and payer policies led a Connecticut provider organization down a path that ended in a $273,000 settlement with both federal and state governments.

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.

Evaluation & Management (E/M) Webinar Q/A

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Find answers to some questions asked by attendees of our recent webinar regarding the changes released by the AMA in their March 9, 2021 Errata and Technical Corrections document in relation to Evaluation & Management (E/M).

Understanding Skin Biopsy Codes

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A biopsy is a procedure to obtain only a portion of a lesion for a pathologic exam. According to the AMA, "The use of a biopsy procedure code (e.g., 11102, 11103) indicates that the procedure to obtain tissue for pathologic examination was performed independently, or was unrelated or distinct from other ...

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.

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.

Common Medical to Dental Procedures and Where to Find Them

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With healthcare integrating and consolidating the delivery of healthcare systems, it only makes sense using medical insurance affords better management of care, dental providers are quickly picking up the slack on dental policies and utilizing healthcare coverage, understanding this affords better care for their patients. There are many common dental procedures that ...

Locating Periodontal Disease in ICD-10-CM

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When coding a diagnosis for periodontal disease, keep in mind there are more options than just chronic or acute. To get started, look at chapter 11, Diseases of the digestive system (K00-K95). Looking at this section a little further, you can see this is where the oral cavity is coded ...

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.

Significant COVID-19 Code Changes as of October 6

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Significant COVID-19 Code Changes as of October 6

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 ...

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...

Use the Correct Diagnosis Codes and Revenue Codes to Get Paid for PAD Rehab

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The initial treatment in rehabilitation for patients suffering from Intermittent Claudication (IC) is Supervised Exercise Therapy (SET) for Symptomatic Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).  Rehabilitation using SET involves the use of intermittent walking exercise, which alternates periods of walking to moderate-to-maximum claudication, with rest.   When reporting 93668 for peripheral arterial disease rehabilitation the following ...

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 ...

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 ...

Understanding UCR Inpatient Fees used on DRGs

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HCPCS Codes Were NOT all Created for the Same Purpose

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Have you ever wondered why you were unable to find a particular product/code with our DMEPOS search? When looking for HCPCS Level II codes, there are several kinds of codes and not all HCPCS codes were created for the same purpose. If you are searching for a certain HCPCS product ...

Additional COVID-19 Testing Codes Announced

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New coronavirus antigen testing codes announced. These are effective immediately.

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Packaging and Units for Billing Drugs

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To determine the dosage, size, doses per package and how many billing units are in each package, refer to the NDC number. Take a look at the following J1071 - Injection, testosterone cypionate, 1mg For example; using NCD # 0009-0085-10 there are 10 doses of 100 mL (100 mg/mL = 1 mL and there are ...

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 ...

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.

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.

CPT Coding Guidance on New Lab Code for COVID-19

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According to the AMA, "The Addition of one Category I Pathology and Laboratory code (87635) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-2-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) accepted at the March 2020 CPT Editorial Panel meeting. *Note that code 87635 will be a child code under parent code 87471. It is represented here ...

More Telehealth Changes Announced by CMS Chiropractic Offices Should Know About

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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). The announcement included far more information than is presented in this article which only summarizes the changes to telehealth. In fact, it does change a little of the information included in our March 31st webinar.

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

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 ...

Providing Telehealth Services During COVID-19 Crisis

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The rules for providing telehealth services during this pandemic have changed and some requirements have been waived. Please keep in mind that “waiving requirements” does not mean that anything goes. Another important consideration is that Medicare and private payers may likely have different rules so you need to make sure that you know individual payer requirements during this time.

"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 ...

Implementing Telehealth Visits

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The following is a step-by-step guide on how to convert office-based encounters to telehealth encounters during the current COVID-19 pandemic. These rules may change post-pandemic, as many changes relaxing existing rules were made on a temporary basis by CMS and commercial payers to facilitate patient access and minimize risk of infection. Step ...

Coronavirus - What in the World is it and How is it Coded? 2020-02-20

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On December 31, 2019, we learned of a deadly outbreak of an unknown virus, with an unknown cause. We have since learned the virus was identified in Wuhan, China as a novel coronavirus (2019-n-CoV). Until we have more information on the 2019-nCoV, persons with an underlying medical condition are considered high ...

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 ...

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 ...

Denials due to MUE Usage - This May be Why!

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CMS assigns Medically Unlikely Edits (MUE's) for HCPCS/CPT codes, although not every code has an MUE. MUE edits are used to limit tests and treatments provided to a Medicare patient for a single date of service or for a single line item on a claim form. It is important to understand MUE's are ...


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