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Is Your Staff Disaster Code Ready?

Is Your Staff Disaster Code Ready?

Hurricane season 2007 won’t be starting up again until June, however with the appearance of El Nino, a natural phenomenon that brings warmer currents to the oceans, a larger number of hurricanes is slated to develop along with more severe storms across the United States. With bad weather, unfortunately comes disasters and catastrophes, make sure if you live in a highly likely area to experience severe flooding, tornados or hurricanes that you educate your staff on using the correct codes for these special types of claims. CPT added two codes to reflect disaster related coding (DR) and catastrophe/disaster related (CR). DR is the top-level code and CR is the modifier for these claims.

These medical billing codings are to be used in the case of disaster related care. These codings were found to be necessary and instituted by CPT after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. All Medicare contractors must use the new codes on claims for any services rendered to a disaster victim. The location you see the patient in is of no significance when filing a DR or CR medical billing claim. This part of the claim was changed because as you know, many Hurricane Katrina victims were relocated as far away from Louisiana as states such as Illinois, Ohio and Maine. Medical services rendered due to injuries related to the Hurricane would be billed under DR and CR codings.

The only exception to these designations are that they are only available to hospitals and institutions. DME suppliers and physicians should not use the DR code; they can however use the CR modifier to show they rendered services to a victim outside of a hospital setting but provide necessary services.

Make sure your staff knows the ropes for using these new codes; otherwise you may not realize full reimbursement for your medical billing claims of DR and CR patients.

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