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Filing Locum Tenens Claims and When to Use Modifier Q6

Filing Locum Tenens Claims and When to Use Modifier Q6

Locum tenens is a confusing situation in the case where a physician takes a vacation or otherwise isn’t available and hires a physician to see patients on site, Medicare can deny the claim unless it is properly documented. The reason is that Medicare is very strict about seeing specific modifiers on medical billing claims that involve a substitute or locum tenens physician.

Further, your medical billing claim must have the time limits observed for locum tenens doctors. Otherwise, Medicare won’t pay for their services rendered to patients. Also, you can’t hire a locum tenens as extra staff. This includes situations where the regular attending physician goes on vacation, has an illness with a lengthy recovery time, maternity or family healthy leave, or educational reasons such as attending continuing medical education classes. When you use a locum tenens physician it must always be in the capacity as a temporary replacement that substitutes for the services of a specific physician.

Remember to use Modifier Q6 on all your locum tenens claims. There are some extra steps that must be taken in order for your locum tenens claims to be reimbursed by Medicare. The Q modifier should be listed as a procedure code so Medicare knows you’re claiming services rendered by a locum tenens physician. If you don’t use the modifier, you claim will likely be denied. Also the maximum time limit for billing for locum tenens physicians is currently sixty days for Medicare and private payers will have different criteria for length of service. Call before you file is a good rule of thumb, you may be missing reimbursements if you don’t. Some good questions to ask would be if the payer requires the locum tenens be credentialed even for a short period of service time; also, which provider’s ID would they prefer to be reported?

Using the correct modifier and a call before you file can save you a lot of hassles and delays in receiving your reimbursements for the locum tenens type of medical billing claims.

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