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Are You Ready for The New Medicare Beneficiary Cards?

 
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By: Lorna Simons, CPC
Medco Consultants, Inc

Medicare will begin mailing out the new Medicare cards to beneficiaries in April 2018. The cards are expected to be sent out in seven waves depending on the state. Below we’ve included Medicare’s mailing strategy for when your practice should expect to begin seeing patients with the new beneficiary cards.

You should begin advising your patient’s and/or their caregivers to expect their new cards between April 2018 and April 2019.  The cards will be sent to the address on file at the Social Security Administration. When notifying the patient’s have them verify their address with the SSA and ask them to bring them to your office for your staff to update the patient’s demographics in your system to ensure there are no missteps in receiving the new cards. 

During the transition period, between April 2018 and December 2019, you will be able to use both the HICNs (Health Insurance Claim Number) and/or the new MBIs (Medicare Beneficiary Identifier) for billing and corresponding with Medicare. Starting January 1, 2020, only the MBI will be accepted. 


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2018 ICD-10-CM Hypertension and Heart Disease

 
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By: Lorna Simons, CPC
Medco Consultants, Inc

The most delightful change to the ICD-10-CM guidelines (in my opinion) is that they made coding hypertension with heart disease easier. The new guideline presumes a causal relationship between the heart disease (I50.-; I51.4-I51.9) and hypertension (I10).

In previous years, the guidelines for hypertension indicated the use of combination codes for hypertension and heart disease when the causal relationship was stated or implied. Without the causal relationship the conditions would be coded separately. This meant that the documentation requirements for using the combination codes had to use specific language to indicate or imply the relationship. It also meant that billers would need to query the providers to ensure the proper codes were used.

The new guideline eases the documentation requirements for specific language. The combination codes should be used unless the providers documentation clearly indicates that they are separate. 

For example, it would be appropriate to code I11.9 Hypertensive heart disease without heart failure and I51.5 Myocardial degeneration for a patient with documented hypertension and a history of Myocardial degeneration based on the new guideline. Previously, the patient note would have had to indicate the hypertension was due to myocardial degeneration. 


Source:

 

  • 2018 International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, clinical modification (ICD-10-CM) Guidelines Section I.C.9.a. Hypertension

  • 2017 International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, clinical modification (ICD-10-CM) Guidelines Section I.C.9.a. Hypertension

 

Why Is Medicare Denying My Claims for Mammography and Breast Biopsies?

 
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By:Jacqueline Thelian, CPC, CPC-I, CHCA

When Medicare updated their systems with the updates to mammography and breast biopsy policies some ICD-10-CM codes were inadvertently left out. 

The omitted new codes are N63.11-N63.14, N63.21-N63.24, N63.31, N63.32, N63.41, and N63.42, which will replace the truncated ICD-10 diagnosis N63.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will correct the policies with its next update, which is scheduled for April 1. But CMS did not require its Medicare contractors to reprocess the denied claims. 

CMS has instructed MACs to adjust any claims brought to their attention that were processed in error for any of the NCDs included in CR 10318. These adjustments will not take place until after April 2, 2018 unless otherwise noted.

National Government Services (NGS) has already updated their system and will reprocess claims upon the providers request.


 Source:

  • CMS Transmittal 2005 ICD-10-CM and other Coding Revisions to National Coverage Determinations (NCDs)

KX Modifier Temporary Fix

 
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By:Jacqueline Thelian, CPC, CPC-I, CHCA

Did CMS reinstate the use of the KX Modifier for therapy claims? Yes and No. CMS implemented a temporary fix.

Despite Congressional failure to remove the cap exception, on January 28, 2018 CMS announced they will start to pay claims submitted with the KX modifier (Requirements specified in the medical policy have been met).

Starting January 25, 2018, CMS will immediately release for processing held therapy claims with the KX modifier with dates of receipt beginning from January 1-10, 2018.  Then, starting January 31, 2018, CMS will release for processing the held claims one day at a time based on the date the claim was received, i.e., on a first-in, first-out basis.

At the same time, CMS will hold all newly received therapy claims with the KX modifier and implement a “rolling hold” of 20 days of claims to help minimize the number of claims requiring reprocessing and minimize the impact on beneficiaries if legislation regarding therapy caps is enacted.

CMS did not indicate if this temporary fix will continue until Congress can get the cap extension reinstated. 

For further updates please go to CMS All Fee For Services Providers Page https://www.cms.gov/Center/Provider-Type/all-fee-for-service-providers-center.html


No Therapy Cap Exceptions for 2018

 
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By:Jacqueline Thelian, CPC, CPC-I, CHCA

Beginning January 1, 2018, the cap on physical therapy services has a slight increase to $2,010.00.  That’s the good news.


The bad news, the “exception process” which would allow the continuation of PT services up to $3,700.00 with the use of the “KX” modifier (Requirements specified in the medical policy have been met) is no longer applicable. 


Additionally, the manual review process for claims that would exceed the $3,700.00 is also no longer a valid option.


The Final Rule which put the end to the exception process states, “Without a therapy cap exceptions process, the statutory limitation requires that beneficiaries become financially liable for 100% of expenses they incur for services that exceed the therapy caps” The rules goes on to state, “the therapy caps will be applicable without any further medical review, and any use of the “KX” modifier on claims for these services by providers of outpatient therapy will have no effect.” In short, without the renewal of the exception process:

 

  • CMS will deny reimbursement of any claims that exceed the current therapy cap of $2,010.00
  • Medicare beneficiaries will be responsible for claims over the cap amount of $2,010.00
  • The KX modifier for Physical Therapy claims will have no impact on the claims

So, what can you? Providers can issue Advanced Beneficiary Notices (ABNs). The ABN is a notice of non-coverage which advises the Medicare beneficiaries of non-coverage and their financial responsibility for therapy over the cap. Click on the link below to brush up on how to complete the ABN.  

 


New CPT Codes for INR Testing Reimbursed by Medicare

 
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By:Jacqueline Thelian, CPC, CPC-I, CHCA

CPT 2018 introduces new codes for home and outpatient International Normalized Ratio (INR) services. The new codes are more user friendly than the former INR CPT codes 99363 and 99364 which were deleted for 2018. 


The new codes include the ordering, review, and interpretation of new INR test result(s), patient instructions, and dosage adjustments as needed. 


An Evaluation & Management (E/M) code may be reported in addition to the new codes as long as the E/M is significant and separately identifiable. Additionally, the codes do not include the provision of the test materials and equipment which is reported separately.
Unlike the former INR codes which required physician review the new codes may be performed by the clinical staff under the direction of a physician or qualified healthcare professional.

The new codes are:
93792 Patient/caregiver training for initiation of home international normalized ratio (INR) monitoring under the direction of a physician or other qualified health care professional, face-to-face, including use and care of the INR monitor, obtaining blood sample, instructions for reporting home INR test results, and documentation of patient's/caregiver’s ability to perform testing and report results


93793 Anticoagulant management for a patient taking warfarin, must include review and interpretation of a new home, office, or lab international normalized ratio (INR) test result, patient instructions, dosage adjustment (as needed), and scheduling of additional test(s), when performed


The best news is saved for last as CMS recognizes and reimburses for the new codes. The national reimbursement rate for CPT code 93792 is $55.06 and CPT code 93793 reimburses nationally at $12.24. You can search for reimbursement rates for your locality on the CMS Physician Fee Schedule Look Up Tool by going to: 

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/PFSlookup/index.html


 Source:

  • Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) 2018

  • CMS Physician Fee Schedule Look Up Tool

New Year, New Codes, New Rules and Regulations- Free Sources for Coding Compliantly

 
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By: Lorna Simons, CPC
Medco Consultants, Inc

New Year, New codes, New rules and regulations. But not to worry there are resources available that can help you code and bill compliantly for free. 

We all like free. But how do you find free credible resources online? There are a lot of places that offer coding information and forums that offer coding advice but how do you know if this will apply to you and your state? How do you know if the source is accurate and compliant? The best places to look for coding advice are from the code sets themselves or through governmental agencies.    

The government through CMS.gov and the websites of Local Medicare Administrative Contractors or MACs offer a lot of free information that can be used along side of the medical coding manuals to help healthcare professionals stay up to date with rules, regulations and compliance.

If you don’t know your local MAC, don’t worry, CMS has a jurisdiction map on their “Who are the MACs” page that will let you know which contractor is servicing your region. Your MAC will have tips, alerts and updates, news, local coverage determinations, local coverage articles and even a fee schedule look tool that you can use.  The MACs are National Government Services, Novitas, Palmetto GBA, Cahaba, FCSO, WPS, CGS and Noridian. 

For resources at the national level go to CMS.gov .

The Medicare tab has the contractor information and under “Coding” you can find information about the code sets, ICD-10, and National Correct Coding Initiative Edits. 

The Innovation Center is currently playing and integral role in implementing the Quality Payment Program. You can find different innovations happening in your state or if you are working remotely you will have access to the innovations that you or your client needs in the area they are located. The Innovation Center is also where you will find Webinars and Forum and Data and reports. These will keep you up to date and educated on the newest trends in healthcare.
 
“Regulation and Guidance” on CMS.gov has the Internet Only Manuals (IOMs), transmittals for coding correctly and documentation requirements, administrative simplification, regulations and policies and more. These will keep you up to date with compliance concerns.

Finally, the “Outreach and Education” tab offers many different tools that can be used as well as education.  CMS offers podcast, webinars and calls. You can also view the Medicare Learning Network® (MLN) where you can access training materials and even get continuing education credits.  These credits include both Continuing Education Units (CEUS) for individuals credentialed in Health Information Management like coders and Continuing Medical Education healthcare providers. 
 


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Laboratory Fee Schedule Takes A Big Hit In 2018

 
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By:Jacqueline Thelian, CPC, CPC-I, CHCA & Lorna Simons, CPC
Medco Consultants, Inc

Your practice may see a marked decrease in Medicare reimbursements for certain laboratory services in 2018. As a part of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014, CMS has revised the laboratory fee schedule to make the rates more equivalent to private insurance plans which have lower rates. 

Many of the common laboratory tests performed in physicians’ practices such as CBC (85025) Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (80053) Prothrombin (85610) and hundreds of others are set to for a 10% payment reduction and an additional 115 codes will see a 9% reduction in reimbursement.

The lab fee schedule will affect all practices submitting claims for Medicare laboratory services. Many physicians running labs are doing so on a very slim profit margin and the reduction will bring the sustainability of in office laboratory testing in question. It is important to note, not all laboratory reimbursements will be decreased. In some cases, the fee schedule has gone up. 

For a sampling of affected services please see the below table:
 

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