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billing outsourcing news, HIPAA news,
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The word "outsourcing" has become a dirty word for many physicians that have been burned by medical billing companies that either outsourced their claims to medical billing companies that use neither secure networks nor adhere to HIPAA regulation in order to maximize their profits; or the outsourcing company just turned out to not be reliable and it wound up costing the practice money to utilize their services.
Don't let a bad experience keep you from partnering with a legitimate medical billing company that can not only help you get your reimbursements faster but also realize great profits by maximizing every single medical billing claim that is filed to make sure that all services and procedures are counted by the carrier and reimbursed.
If you've been hesitant about outsourcing your medical billing because you aren't sure it would actually help your practice or you've been burned; do a little research on your own and ask for references. Ask the medical billing company what they will do for you. OMG will not only help you get the best reimbursements on your medical billing, they will also help you manage your practice by keeping your and your staff informed of coming CPT coding changes that will affect your practice as well as helping keep your patient accounts organized and you can log in and see where a patient's account stands for insurance payments versus out of pocket. This is a very efficient way to run your practice and when you have the extra time due to partnering with a competent medical billing partner, you will finally be able to help your practice really grow!
If you haven't already, make sure that your staff is using the updated CPT codes that were released in October 2008.
Not doing so can lead to kick backs that will require more staff hours to research, redo and resubmit and if this happens on a number of claims it can seriously affect your reimbursements and in turn - slow your revenue flow to a mere trickle.
One way to avoid this dilemma is to outsource your medical billing and yes, there are some horror stories out there about outsource companies that threw away patient billing, had lax attitudes towards billing submissions and wound up costing the physician a lot more money than they made through reimbursements. However, that's not how it has to be.
Do a little research and find the best fit for your practice. Your best friend may also be a colleague but the medical billing company he uses may be a terrible fit for your own practices. How do you find the right one? First of all decide what services are most important to your practice. Make a list of the tasks your office staff is performing the most in relationship to medical billing and see if a medical billing partner could possibly lighten the load. Also, find out if your potential medical billing partner can do your credentialing for you - it's a great way to maximize the amount of insurances you can take as well as cut the paper chase for yourself.
Often, patients who are confined to beds for long periods of time develop pressure ulcers. They are painful and need to be treated as quickly as possible as infections can set up within them that can be life threatening when the patient is already in a weakened condition.
When a service is performed for a patient such as treatment of a pressure ulcer on an area of the body such as the lower back, the usual manner of treatment is to remove any devitalized tissue from the ulcer using a water jet and forceps. The area is then covered to allow it to not be rubbed on so the skin can begin to repair itself.
When you report this type of claim, read the description of the code carefully. You will notice the since the water jet is normally used, it is already bundled into the claim itself. If you report it additionally, you are setting yourself up for a total claim rejection. You would want to report this claim as follows (make sure you know the measurements of the wound being treated):
* report 97597 (Removal of devitalized tissue from wound(s), selective debridement, without anesthesia (e.g., high-pressure water jet with/without suction, sharp selective debridement with scissors, scalpel and forceps), with or without topical application(s), wound assessment, and instruction(s) for ongoing care, may include use of a whirlpool, per session; total wound(s) surface area less than or equal to 20 square centimeters) for the debridement. You will also want to link 707.03 (Decubitis ulcer; lower back) to 97597 for the pressure ulcer.
As more research is done regarding the relationship between varicose veins, blood clots and other complications; more and more patients are having the simple surgery and as a result there has been confusion about exactly how to code this procedure to get the fairest reimbursement for this service. Once you know the basics for setting it up - it's easy!
A good example would be if a patient with varicose veins in her left lower leg presents to the ED and is stating she has severe pain in her leg. One of the veins is clearly bleeding so the doctor will use a standard suture ligation to stem the bleeding and winds up removing one of the veins in the procedure. Suture ligation isn't an uncommon way to treat a bleeding varicose vein, however there is currently no specific CPT code for it. The answer? Break it down!
A good way to report this on your medical billing would be to use code 37785 (Ligation, division and/or excision of varicose vein cluster[s], one leg) for the ligation. Be sure to attach ICD-9 code 454.8 (Varicose veins of lower extremities; with other complications) to 37785 to prove medical necessity for the procedure. You should be aware that 37785 has high RVUs and may be considered by some carriers to be more indepth of a procedure than was actually performed. A good rule of thumb would be to verify directly with the specific carrier that you are reporting to and make sure they will cover the procedure as such. If they won't a good alternative reporting method on the medical billing would be to report 12002 (Simple repair of superficial wounds of scalp, neck, axillae, external genitalia, trunk and/or extremities which includes hands and feet]; 2.6 cm to 7.5 cm) for the repair and attach ICD-9 code 454.8 to 12002 to prove medical necessity for the procedure.
Include all your documentation and be as detailed as possible, especially in the case of not being certain what the carrier will cover - simply ask and document the time, date and full name of whoever you speak with - this will insure all bases on your claim are covered.
Since consultation requirements have increased in the last year as far as criteria for getting them reimbursed in your medical billing claims, there are some criteria you must be certain that your claims meet in order to justify using codes 99241-99255.
It used to be simple and medical billing consultant merely had to meet the three "R's" in order to justify medical billing claims for consultations. However the criteria for what does and does not constitute a consultation has changed and in order to make sure that your medical billing claims are paid, you need to reacquaint yourself with the three R's of medical billing for consultations.
The three R's are (1) Request for opinion; (2)Rendering of services; and (3) Report to the requesting source. The first big change in late 2006 applied to the qualifying requesters. The new CMS guidelines that were issued now require that a physician make the request. It's easy to meet this requirement by simply getting a written request; but that's not all. CMS officials still insist that the requesting physician has to document the request for a consult. The only change is that the consultant doesn’t have to verify that the initiating doctor has done so.
If you don't have the medical documentation to back up the consultation, chances are good your claim won't be reimbursed or at the very best only partially so. The best advice you can follow is to let your documentation guide your medical billing and coding. If you can't meet the three R's criteria prior to billing, attempt to get the proper documentation to do so, it will mean a little extra leg work, but the practice will reap the rewards in the form of accepted medical billing and reimbursements.
TB is in the news more and more and if you aren't already seeing an increase in TB screenings, it's likely your practice could experience it in the future. If you have a medical billing claim involving a patient that is at an increased risk for tuberculosis (TB) infection or is already having symptoms, a TB screening can be performed. If your practice runs these tests, be aware that in many cases, you can get reimbursed for the test as a medical necessity.
When processing the medical billing for a TB skin test (86580) or blood test (86480) due to pulmonary TB symptoms or known TB exposure or risk. The ordering diagnosis should be V74.1 (Special screening examination for bacterial and spirochetal diseases; pulmonary tuberculosis),and be sure to back up the need for the additional test with ironclad documentation.
If you can show the medical necessity for the procedure and the history of the patient leading up to the reason for the test, you should be able to get reimbursed for any additional testing as a necessary procedure as part of the whole care for the patient. If you're tired of keeping up with the changes in the medical billing industry that directly affect the reimbursements your practice is getting, it may be time to consider outsourcing your medical billing claims to a professional company that get you the maximum reimbursements as quickly as possible. Look into outsourcing today and reap the rewards.
Sometimes after a gastric band procedure, the band may slip during healing and need to be adjusted. The uncertain thing is how to bill the procedure since you have already billed the global.
HCPCS temporary code S2083 (Adjustment of gastric band diameter via subcutaneous port by injection or aspiration of saline) or CPT code 43771 but both of these require that the physician use a laparoscope during the procedure and usually moving the band is done through injecting saline or removing saline from the band to make it easier to adjust through a subQ port.
For most instances you can use S2083, normally you will only use 43771 if patient is taken back into surgery due to complications in the moving of the band such as a prolapse or other issue. If a flouro is used in the procedure, code 77002 may be more fitting for your medical billing and another alternative that may be a better fit, depending on the situation, is 90779 (Unlisted Therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic intravenous or intra-arterial injection...) which was one of the range added to the CPT in late 2006.
The key is obviously find the best fit for your procedure and back it up with the strongest documentation you can, especially since there isn't a specific code for this procedure at this time.
Are you swamped? So overwhelmed with patients, billing, invoices, emergencies and other day to day practice worries that you don't even have the time to get yourself credentialed with all the carriers possible. No one has to tell you that the more insurances you accept, the more patients you can see and the more revenue you can generate for your practice. Credentialing is the key. Did you know your medical billing partner can take some of the heat off you and not only compile and submit your medical billing, they can also get your practice credentialed with any carrier you choose.
If you have a busy practice, you may be putting off getting credentialed with additional insurance companies because you just don't have the time to fill out the forms, questionnaires and other information in order to get approved with additional carriers.
You know from previously getting credentialed that the process can take months for the carriers to process the paperwork and you just do not have the time to fill out the detailed forms and then call the insurance company for follow-up on your application. Wouldn't it be great if someone else could take over the hassle for you?
Your medical billing partner can do this as well as your medical billing and coding. They have the knowledge and expertise to not only get your claims paid but to also get you credentialed with as many carriers as you want to be able to provide services through. This includes Worker's Compensation, most large insurance carriers and Medicare. Whether you want to be credentialed through an individual carrier or one large network, the choice is yours.
Once your application is submitted, your medical billing partner will stay on top of your credentialing request and keep checking the status and make sure your application is handled in a timely manner. This will enable you to do what you do best- service your patients without the headaches of getting yourself credentialed and chasing your medical billing claims.
It's a valid concern. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) has had a major impact on health care providers who do business electronically as well as many of their health care business partners. Many changes involve complex computer system modifications.
HIPAA compliance requirements have been standardized into 4 main aspects.
1) Electronic transactions and code sets 2) Security; 3) Unique identifiers; and 4) Privacy
One common misunderstanding is that you are required to only report electronically to be HIPAA compliant; however that isn't accurate. HIPAA does not require a health care provider to conduct all transactions and medical billing electronically. Rather, HIPAA dictates that if you are going to conduct any one of these business transactions electronically they will need to be done in the standard secure format outlined under HIPAA. So in a nutshell, you're not required to submit your medical billing claims electronically, however you must be HIPAA compliant if you do.
That's one of the main questions to ask when you're looking for a medical billing partner. First ask if they do electronic billing, then ask if their billing methods are absolutely HIPAA compliant. If you get a long pause or the rep doesn't seem sure exactly what you're asking, keep shopping. Another qualifying question can be to ask about the submissions process from start to finish and, that can be a big clue as to whether the medical billing company has secure transmissions.
Remember, when you're looking for medical billing partner, the best fit for your company may not be located near your practice. If you're using secure data transmissions, it opens the field for you to use any medical billing company you choose, as long as they meet your criteria for HIPAA compliance and other issues such as claims follow up and the handling of denials and rejections, on the rare occasions they will occur once you switch to outsourcing your medical billing.
It's expensive to keep up with the technology required to be HIPAA compliant in your billing and it's also difficult for your staff to keep up with the never ending changes in the CPT. If you are finding your staff is spending more time chasing claims then helping service patients, it may be time to give outsourcing your medical billing a long, serious look.
For help with performing the care plan oversight services if you are having a hard time with the 993xx series these steps should help to get you started.
Step one is to count these care services as 99374-99380. The 993xx series codes allows pediatricians to bill for coordination of care of special needs children without face to face visits. You can report these care plan oversight CPO codes as 99374-99380 for Doctor supervision. This is only for when the patient is not present for the following doctors services,
a) revision or development of care plans for multidisciplinary and complex modalities.
b) related lab and other studes review
c) patient status report reviews
d) assessment of care decisions by way of telephone calls and internet communication of healthcare professionals, family, primary caregivers and legal guardians.
e) new information assimilation into the medical treatment plan or medical therapy adjustment.
2. Code Set identification
The CPO codes facility supervision entities are going to be expanded in 2006, however these services may only be reported when the patient meets one of these three conditions:
a) the patient is under a home health agency care--99374 or 99375.
b) patient is on hospice--99377 or 99378.
c) patient is a nursing facility patient--99379 or 99380.
3. Make sure you have the Total Monthly Minutes for the Exact Code
CPO codes must be billed based on 30 minute segments. To document and perform 15-29 minutes of CPO services in a month, use the first code in each of the above sets which are: 99374, 99377, 99379). For services that are longer, 30 minutes or more, within a calendar month report the second set of codes 99375 and 99378.
When using 434.91 make sure you take all of the specifics into account. When a doctor says that a patient has had a stroke make sure that you know all of the details of the situation or else some procedures can be hard to justify and therefore your medical billing reimbursement may be denied.
In the past for diagnosis of a stroke the ICD-9 index listed 436, which is acute but ill defined cerebrovascular disease, as the code to use. Now the index has code 434.91 as the code to use. This is cerebral artery occlusion, unspecified with cerebral infarction. The new ICD-9 index automatically translates a doctors diagnosis of a cerebrovascular accident to an occlusion with an infarction.
This new listing is good news for you in that you might now get renumerated for services that were not covered in the past for patients of stroke. This is obviously good news and something that you will want to make sure that you are on top of.
Keep Documenting those Details
Consultant Sandy Nicholson with Pershing Yoakley & Associates in Atlanta, states that you should still make sure that physicians write down precise diagnoses. As of right now physicians can write down "stroke" without going into greater detail and you must discourage that. This means that you could be missing out on the diagnostic details that justify the procedures the doctor performed and therefore missing payment.
An example of this would be where the doctor doesn't note a cerebral hemorrhage with a stroke, which would understate the seriousness of the patient's condition. This is vital information for other providers so that they can realize how to treat the patient so not to kill him or her. Embolic strokes have 1/5 the death rate of hemorrhagic strokes and if there is nothing saying a patient has a hemorrhage and they are given coumadin or aspirin it could kill them.
The coder will use ICD-9 code 431 for Intracerebral hemorrhage if the doctor indicates that the patient has had a hemorrhage. There is a difference in what procedures Medicare will cover for differences in strokes. For a stroke without hemorrhage Medicare will not cover surgical or transcatheter interventions. So making sure that the diagnosis is specific and correct is very important.
The time to use 59025 to code a fetal non-stress test is when the patient records that she has felt the baby moving. If not then the fetal monitor is counted as routine.
What makes the NST Code True?
When you use the code 59025 for the fetal non-stress test for NST procedures you must make sure you are using them correctly. How that happens is that during the NST procedure the ob-gyn evaluates the patient and evaluates the well being of the fetus with out the use of IV medications. The test lasts for approximately 30-40 minutes, and the ob-gyn monitors the heart rate of the fetus using external transducers.
If the NST is reactive it will show the fetal heart rate go above the baseline which is 15 beats per minute for a minimum of 15 seconds twice in a 10 minute time frame. If after 20 minutes the fetal heart rate has not sped up then the doctor may try to get a fetal response with acoustic stimulation through the mother's abdomen or a vibration. The acoustic stimulation or vibration has the effect of waking the baby or causing it to react to the stimulus. The ob-gyn might then repeat this stimulation once every five minutes for a total of two to three times. If there is still no acceleration of the baby's heart rate then the doctor will determine that the test is nonreactive.
The most important thing is that the patient feels the fetal movements and marks it. The ob-gyn interprets the test and dictates a report that must be included on the patient's record. An example would be that the ob-gyn sees a patient that is at 31 weeks gestation who has a feeling that her fetus has not been moving much. For the first 20 minutes of the monitoring the doctor uses external transducers and finds no accelerated heart rate for the fetus. The doctor then tries an electronic larynx to get the fetus stimulated through noise through the patients abdomen. The patient marks when she feels movement throughout the test which is about 30-40 minutes.
This service would be reported with 59025 because the doctor is using the NST to determine the fetal status. This procedure takes longer than a labor check and also requires that the doctor use repeated stimulations to evaluate the fetal reactions or the lack of reactions.
Using these codes correctly and with the proper documentation will insure that you get the complete medical billing reimbursements for the procedures done.
In 2006 several changes were made to the CPT regarding skin graft procedures and this included the retiring of several codes and the addition of 37 new skin graft codes to make identifying the procedures more exact for medical billing claims. The skin graft section was also renamed to Skin Replacement Surgery and Skin Substitutes.
There are new codes for autografts, sections 15100 through 15261, allografts, sections 15170 through 15176 and xenografts, sections 15400 through 15431. These codes seem to have been created in order to represent some new procedures and techniques. Many of these new codes are also specific to a particular technology or product make sure that your medical billing claims reflect these codes or you may be missing a substantial amount of reimbursements for procedures done.
It seems that there has been a lot of struggle for payment to be received for some of the expensive and specialized products. This is especially true if a general skin graft code was used, observed John Bishop who is President of Bishop & Associates in Tampa FL. The products that are usually harder to receive payment for are Integra, Appligraft, Biobrane and Dermagraft.
Bishop states that paying attention to the amount and the composition of the synthetic product you are using is key. Many of the new codes cover the initial 100 cm and then have additional codes for more product used. Make sure that your staff is using the most updated codings to reflect services rendered and you should be able to receive better reimbursements instead of denials and delays for your skin graft claims.
Are you ready for the updates coming on October 1? There are a number of changes that will affect that way Medicare reimburses your practice for the services rendered as well as adding and retiring other codings. All of these changes will be effective for service dates after October 1.
You can avoid a lot of paperwork hassles and denials by making the jump to outsourcing your medical billing. Your third party partner will keep up with the ICD-9 coding changes, rules and regulations and if you choose, can even do an audit of your current medical billing methods and show you how you can realize a better reimbursement rate on your services rendered. Many physicians are shocked to learn they've been basically giving away nearly 25% of their reimbursable income through faulty medical billing filing practices.
If you're ready to leave the paper chase behind and free your staff up to service patients instead of figure out what items on your medical billing got reimbursed, it's time to outsource your medical billing and you'll never have to sweat another CMS update again.
Medical billing changes occur throughout each and every year and keeping up with those changes can be confusing. Aural Rehabilitation has become one major area of confusion since the 2006 update. The medical billing changes to Aural Rehab CPT codes has wrongly caused many people to believe Aural Rehabilitation is no longer a reimbursable service.
Medicare actually assigned status code "I" to all new medical billing codes for auditory rehabilitation. These codes are 92630 and 92633. This means that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will not pay for auditory rehabilitation, only diagnostic audiology. However, this is only true if an audiologist performs the service and the medical billing.
There are several other medical professionals that could possibly perform medical billing for aural rehabilitation. A speech language pathologist is one example of a provider who could get reimbursed by CMS for aural rehab.
It is important when reviewing new medical billing changes not to jump to any conclusions. If you did this, you could be missing out on money. For example, there may still be speech pathologists who perform aural rehabilitation, but don't perform medical billing for the service. Having a partner firm to help your staff review and alert you of any coming changes that will affect your reimbursements is invaluable.
Not to mention that hiring a medical billing firm to review new coding changes and to handle your claims will take a lot of the paper-chase and workload off your in-house office staff. Get a free consultation and find out exactly how much of your reimbursements you've been missing through handling your own medical billing, most practices are astounded to learn they are losing up to 25% of their revenue through unpaid claims that are simply filed incorrectly or procedures that could be billed separately.
When do I use medical billing modifier 59? This is a great question. It is one that many don't ask, but most don't know the correct answer to. One of the most important things to know about the medical billing modifier 59 is which code on which to append it. There are some basic medical billing rules that can teach you which code to use with modifier 59.
The general assumption about modifier 59 (Distinct procedural service) is that it should be linked to the lower-valued code of the pair. Although this may be true a lot of times, it is not always true. There is a much better rule to follow to have correct medical billing documents.
The better rule to use with the medical billing modifier 59 is to append it with the component code, or the code in column two. The NCCI (National Correct Coding Initiative) code list consists of different edits with two types of codes. The edits have columns. One column is the comprehensive column, and column two is the medical billing component column. If on the same day, you report from both columns, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will only reimburse for the first column.
The medical billing modifier 59 should be used if you bill from both columns on one date of service. You should always append the modifier to the code in the second column. This will ensure correct medical billing reimbursement. Many times this is the lower valued code, but not always - as always with medical billing, it's usually a judgment call based on other factors in the medical billing claim.
As a medical biller, you may be seeing an increase in the number of gastric bypass claims that you are handling as more and more insurances are covering this procedure as a measure to remove the patient from danger of developing more serious, chronic and costly illnesses that can stem from being grossly obese.
After a patient has undergone gastric bypass surgery, eventually they will have the band removed. Many medical billing professionals are amiss at whether to include modifier 59 with their claim in order to obtain reimbursement for the procedure.
Under The Correct Coding Initiative (CCI), normally the procedure of removing the band and port removal would be bundled and reported using code (43774, Laparoscopy, surgical, gastric restrictive procedure; removal of adjustable gastric band and subcutaneous port components) to the gastric restriction (43644, Laparoscopy, surgical, gastric restrictive procedure; with gastric bypass and Roux-en-Y gastroenterostomy [roux limb 150 cm or less]).
The edit will already include a "1" modifier indicator, meaning you can append modifier 59 (Distinct procedural service) to report 43774 separately. But here is the hitch for this type of claim and the reason it is usually bundled, is because the surgeon would have to remove a previously placed adjustable band and port, if present, before performing the gastric bypass, which makes charging for the removal as a separate part of the procedure to put the band on when the gastric bypass was performed almost impossible.
The bottom line of this type of claims is that although Medicare and other carriers may pay for the initial procedure, they are normally going to expect the claim for removal of the gastric band to be a logical part of the procedure and in the majority of cases there will no separate reimbursement.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recently made it known that the reimbursement for procedural code 92696 is going to be increases by a rather large amount. To clarify a little bit further, the reimbursement to providers for such a procedure will come in at approximately four times the amount being received currently. This should make any of the providers of language, speech and hearing much happier when it comes to medical billing.
This entire thought of reimbursement may be a lot clearer if it is broken down a bit. For example, the code 92626 which is known for the description of Evaluation of Auditory Rehabilitation Status; first hour, is going to nearly quadruple in value. The old amount to be reimbursed was only $22.07, compared to the changes where the reimbursement amount is a whopping $81.76. The whole reason for the change in reimbursement is because there were previous errors in the calculations, which made the American Speech Language Hearing Association one of the main focal points.
Because of a certain decrease in malpractice costs, another medical billing code to be lowered is 92627 (each additional 15 minutes). The actual difference in the rate for this code is $22.07 down to $20.62.
As long as you are constantly aware that reimbursement rates along with all of the other medical billing policies are always changing, you should be able to remain one step ahead of the game. Being able to charge more for certain medical billing codes, such as 92626, will only be able to help out your practice in the long run, although many of the changes in medical billing reimbursement have been shown only to even out after an extended period of time.
"Chronic pain syndrome" can be considered as a vague description of a vague diagnosis by your carrier and unless you back up your medical billing with the reasons for using this catchall term for several pain conditions, you may be seeing only partial reimbursements to denials for this condition. Traditionally, ICD-9 directs you to code 338.4 (Chronic pain syndrome) for the condition.
However, you may need to couple this diagnosis with other probable causes backed up by symptoms and doctor's notes. Other diagnosis possibilities for chronic pain syndrome include fibromyalgia/muscular pain (729.1, Myalgia and myositis, unspecified); reflex sympathetic dystrophy/regional pain syndrome (337.2x, Reflex sympathetic dystrophy) or peripheral neuropathy (337.0, Idiopathic peripheral autonomic neuropathy) caused by either diabetes (250.6x, Diabetes with neurological manifestations) or amyloidosis (277.30, Amyloidosis, unspecified). Among the listed alternatives for 338.4, coders choose 729.1 most commonly as a substitute for the generic chronic pain syndrome diagnosis code.
The best route to getting a better reimbursement on a vague diagnosis is to check with your physician to clarify what type of pain the patient has. The patient might initially report pain "everywhere" but he may be able to pinpoint his worst pain sites, such as the lower back (724.2, Lumbago) or the hip (719.45, Pain in joint; pelvic region and thigh).
Also it's a good practice to verify any of the patient's pain-related symptoms before reporting the physician's final diagnosis. Good examples of those would be back muscle spasms (724.8, Other symptoms referable to back) or derangement of joint (718.95, Unspecified derangement of joint; pelvic region and thigh).
When in doubt, ask the attending physician which diagnosis in their opinion best suits the claim. Using the notes can help you also pin it down and if you show that you have a vague claim that needs more exacting information to get a better reimbursement for the practice, putting the need for exact information in dollars and cents is usually a good way to get the proper information you need to process the claim for the best return on services for the physician.
There have been questions regarding the use of carotid Doppler (93880) being performed on the same day as venous Doppler (93965, 93970, 93971); some insurance companies do not want to reimburse both procedures as it is unusual to perform both with one service period.
National Correct Coding Initiative edits don't prevent you from reporting these codes together, but the payer may be questioning the medical necessity of performing both services on the same day. Doctors don't usually order both of these exams for the same patient on the same date of service. If there was a reason and you can show hard documentation as to the necessity of having both procedures performed on the patient on the same day, then you can document the need for the request and show circumstances that required both procedures be performed.
The medical billing industry is non-stop unusual situations for coding and constant judgment calls are necessary. When you have an unusual situation arise with the services rendered to a patient - a good rule of thumb is to show all the documentation you can to show the request was necessary and when in doubt - contact the payer directly and document who you talk to if you were told to file your claim in a specific manner.
If you are tired of chasing the never ending updates and edits to the fast paced world of medical billing, you're most likely not being fully reimbursed for the services you perform either. It might be time to consider outsourcing your medical billing claims to a partner that will keep up with the changes, advise your office of any coming changes that will affect your practice as well as get you the best reimbursements for the services rendered to patients.
Did you know you might have a cash flow leak and not know it? It's not uncommon for practices to file medical billing claims without meeting requirements for the use of Modifier 25 in bundled sick claims and doing so could very well be costing your practice valuable reimbursement revenue.
Fortunately, there are some simple rules to follow to ensure that you're getting the best reimbursements for your claims. First of all, make sure that you know exactly what the payer requires for reimbursement on these claims. Next, make sure you document exactly what caused the encounter and what the outcome was. This shows a logical flow of information and will better help the payer see that the services rendered will qualify for full reimbursements.
Additionally, be aware that the RVU system makes no adjustment for codes with modifier 25. Although a plan may pay such claims as the policy allows, insurers that follow CPT rules should generally be paying each CPT code in full in this instance as long as a distinct entry is made on the medical billing form. Additionally, make sure that your charges are consistent and reflect real pricings for services rendered.
A red flag for many payers is two of the following scenarios: * Enter a $0 charge for the sick visit service (99201-99215), and bill the preventive medicine service (99381-99397) above the contracted rate
* Split the well care charge in half and apply it to the sick visit.
Final point, raising your price on a single visit may get your entire claim denied. The best way to file your sick claims is to charge the usual amount for services rendered and then back up your claim with strong documentation. Filing this way will give your practice the best chance at reimbursements for sick visits.
The smallest patients can present the largest and most confusing problems in medical billing. There can often be confusing scenarios that occur during neonatal procedures that many medical billings can find confusing. It could be due to the fact the patient is so tiny that many of the procedures seem related to split out but in many cases, claims for neonatal services are incorrectly bundled together.
A good case in point would be if a neonatal patient presented with a fever. The physician then did a urine catheterization (51701) and a spinal tap (62270) in the office. In many cases, the medical biller might have bundled these claims together but that would be incorrect as they are two distinctly different procedures even though they were performed at the same visit.
Also, a urine catheterization (51701, Insertion of non-indwelling bladder catheter [e.g., straight catheterization for residual urine]) and lumbar puncture (62270, Spinal puncture, lumbar, diagnostic);do not have edits placed on the code pair by NCCI so no modifier would be required for reporting this procedure. If you do use modifier 51, expect Medicare to reduce reimbursement by roughly 50%.
However, in all your neonatal claims, be sure to show ironclad documentation for the reason for the procedure as well detailing each procedure done to validate the fact they are being reported separately when possible.
Make sure that you're using the proper medical billing codes when reporting CVA services, if you're not using CPT codes 76937 and 75998, you may not be getting the full reimbursement for this service.
If a physician performs an ultrasound guided procedure, the code 76937 will give additional money for the procedure. This code means: ultrasound guidance for vascular access requiring ultrasound evaluation of potential access sites, documentation of selected vessel patency, concurrent real-time ultrasound visualization of vascular needle entry. This means 76937 can be billed separately from the CVA placement code. One thing to note is that this code is only allowed one time per session in medical billing no matter how many sites were examined for the best entry. The CPT code 76937 should not be used if an ultrasound is used to only identify a vein to mark on the skin. The ultrasound must be used for medical billing purposes to guide a needle into the vein.
The other code used in medical billing to provide additional CVA payment is 75998. This is used for fluoroscopic guidance. This code is used when fluoroscopic guidance is needed to assist catheter placement or manipulation. It is reimbursed separately from the placement itself. It is important to note that any injection used to contrast the catheter's path is included in the CPT 75998.
Both of these CPT codes in medical billing require the use of modifier 26. Modifier 26 is only necessary when a surgeon is reporting in a facility. 26 means professional component. This allows the facility to medically bill separately for the equipment itself.
Most foreign body removal procedures are pretty black and white. Only on the rarest of occasions is there a complication and most of the claims can be handled in a similar manner. However in the even the physician is called on to perform soft tissue removal in a FBR procedure, you need to know how to code your medical billing claim s so your reimbursement won't be paid only partially or denied. Make sure in this event you code the service with 10121 (Incision and removal of foreign body, subcutaneous tissues; complicated).
Some giveaways that the FBR procedure was more complex than normal will be found in notes and procedurs that show radiographic guidance was used. A complex soft-tissue FBR may also have localization techniques including use of a C-arm fluoroscopy device, ultrasound, or x-rays with radiographic markers and extensive dissection. All of these procedures are clues the FBR was more complex.
Consider this example: A patient presents to the ER and says it feels as though "something is stuck" in his forearm. The ED physician performs a level-three ED E/M service and finds and attempt s to localize the found foreign body. On exam she can palpate something beneath the skin, but attempts to exact the location of the foreign body (including making an incision) fail. Under C-arm fluoroscopy guidance, the physician localizes a 1-cm foreign body, makes a small incision and removes the FB. The wound is left open and the patient is placed on antibiotics.
On the claim, you should: * report 10121 for the complex FBR. * append 913.6 (Superficial foreign body [splinter] without major open wound and without mention of infection; elbow, forearm and wrist) to 10121 to represent the FB. * report 99283 (Emergency department visit for the evaluation and management of a patient, which requires these three key components: an expanded problem-focused history; an expanded problem-focused examination; moderate-complexity medical decision-making) for the E/M. * append 959.3 (Injury; elbow, forearm, and wrist) to 99283 to represent the forearm injury. * attach modifier 25 (Significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service by the same physician on the same day of the procedure or other service) to 99283 to show that the E/M and FBR were separate services.
Meeting these requirements for a more complex service and showing the proper documentation will ensure that your complex FBR claims are reimbursed without question.
Confused about multi-day observations? Well, you're not along. Multi-day observation medical billing claims can cause a lot of confusion. In order to get the correct reimbursements on your medical billing claims, you need to be sure that your multi-day observation billings are reported correctly - otherwise you're practice isn't receiving the maximum reimbursements for the services rendered and you're in effect - losing money.
A main rule of thumb when doing medical billing for multi-day observation is to report per day of service. This means that if a patient is admitted late at night and isn't discharged until the next morning, you report both service dates. The two current procedural terminology codes to use would be 99218-99220 for the initial observation evaluation. The other code you should use is 99217 (observation care discharge day management).
A common medical billing mistake that is made is to bill code 99234-99236 instead. This is incorrect because it means "observation or inpatient hospital care". These medical billing codes includes the initial visit and the discharge costs. Reimbursement would be unfairly less then the services provided.
When using CPT code 99217 it is necessary to provide the necessary documentation to prove medical necessity. Documentation of an initial examination, hospital discussion with the patient, continued care instructions, and discharge preparation of records is required to validate the medical billing of the two CPT codes together. When billing Medicare for observation medical services you must know their rules. In order to report same day observation codes, the patient must be in the hospital for at least eight hours. Anything less does not warrant separate reimbursement. Usually private insurance payers are not this strict.
However, the best way is to record and submit the initial evaluation time and discharge time for medical billing purposes, this will ensure that you have your medical documentation right and the carrier should not have an issue reimbursing your practice for these services.
There were two new codes issued in 2006 that continue to confuse many medical billers still over halfway into 2007. These two codes were created to specifically address the after-hours and red-eye services for procedures done by physicians outside the normal hours.
Previously when compiling the medical coding for medical billing, a coder would have used 99050 as a "catch-all" coding. Now CPT has revised the original code and added new codes. 99053 is " "for services between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. in 24-hour facilities," and will be used by both physicians on call and hospitals.
Please note that code 99053's wording to include "24-hour facility" will put a new limitation on using late night service codes. Previously a coder would have simply used 99052 to designate a meeting between a physician and a patient after 10PM but before 8AM.
The new coding language will mean the proper way to report this incident will be to determining the POS (Place of Service) and use the proper new code. In order to use 99053, the service must occur at a 24-hour facility, such as an ambulatory surgical center (POS 24), urgent care facility (POS 20), or emergency room (POS 23).
CPT has made it easier and more exacting to do your coding so carriers can better determine the eligibility of the medical billing claims. Previously, many 99050 claims were submitted without proper modifiers or with enough documentation to ascertain the time or POS. The updated coding system will make it easier to pinpoint the time and place of services,
There may be some tighter clarifications coming for this code group in 2007, until then - make sure you use the correct CPT code and back it up with good documentation and your reimbursements should be unaffected.
One way that many medical billing claims get rejected for the smallest of errors. In many cases it can be something as simple as an incorrectly used modifier causing your claim to be rejected by the carrier. There are two modifiers that get a lot of people in to trouble in the form of rejected claims as they can be confusing and those are modifier 25 and 57.
Modifier 25 which reads , "Significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service by the same physician on the same day of the procedure or other service" is kind of a catch all modifier for procedures that may not have an exact coding you can assign.
In the previous wording for Modifier 57 it caused some confusion with Modifier 25. If you haven't updated your CMS coding, be sure you have the latest as 57 now simply reads, " Decision for Surgery". If there was no such decision made on your medical billing claim, be sure not to use that particular modifier any longer.
If your busy practice doesn't have time to keep up with the fast changes in the medical coding industry, you're costing yourself a lot of revenue in terms of unpaid and rejected medical billing claims that will significantly affect your cash flow.
Consider outsourcing your medical billing claims to the pros who make it their business to stay ahead on the industry changes and get your medical billing claims reimbursed normally within 14 days. Plus your staff won't have the headache of compiling the coding and having to remember which modifier is used at which time. Look into outsourcing today!
There are a number of reasons that your medical billing claims could be getting kicked back. Next time you have a medical billing claim kicked back, carefully check it to see why it was returned. Finding out why your medical billing claims were refused will sometimes uncover an unhealthy pattern in your office such as not keeping up with the changes to the CPT codes.
And that's our number one reason, usage of outdated or improper codes. The CPT updates a number of times a year and keeping up with those changes can be difficult. However, if you don't use the most current coding the carriers are well within their rights partially pay a claim or reject it. A code that was perfect two months ago may have been retired or split into other more defined codings. The only way to know is to keep up with the changes to the CPT codes.
Lack of documentation or partial documentation is a big one. The carrier simply won't pay if you can't show through documentation why the procedure you're asking for reimbursement for was necessary in the first place. Make sure your documentation that accompanies your medical billing claims is accurate and detailed.
Improperly filled forms is another reason your medical billing claim may be rejected. Make sure the superform is filled out completely and accurately.
If your staff is tired of keeping up with the changes to the medical billing industry, it may be time to consider outsourcing to a third party partner that does nothing but your medical billing claims and keeps up with the changes to the codes.
It can happen to any individual who is involved with coding, dealing with MUEs can end up being a nightmare if you do not know when and how to use them. MUEs, which is short for the term Medically Unlikely Edits, happen to be put in place to try and help limit the amount of billing errors. The more you understand them, the better off you will be when you find that you need to use them.
If you are worried about dealing with MUEs, then you really should know that you are not alone. Luckily, there are a couple of things that you can look to and keep in mind to make sure that you use MUEs the right way every single time.
If you happen to be involved with a Medicare situation, you just might end up seeing that a case with MUEs. There is a chance that you can end up exceeding the MUE limit, which can then lead to the unfortunate ending of denial. As any practice knows first hand, a denial of a medical claim is one of the very last things that you will want to deal with. This is why it is so important that you never try to guess because it can lead to quite a nightmare of gross billing errors.
Take the time to look over all of the medical documentation that you have. Then you can look forward and begin to report the number of units, being careful not to exceed the limit and double checking your work all the way.
Until recent years, it wasn't uncommon for hospitals to use their medical billing to cross subsidize lesser expensive services with more profitable services, now with the revamping of several codings and programs, this can lead to outright denials of medical billing claims.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been giving these types of claims a much more detailed look. Billings that show to be using cross subsidizing to allow for reimbursement based on submitting a claim for both a more profitable service as well as lesser profitable services may lead to denial of the medical billing claim.
The downside to this measure is that if certain unprofitable services aren't reimbursed, many physicians will simply stop offering them to their patients. Currently, the medical billing reimbursement ratio of insurer payments to hospital charges was once 1:1 but is now 2:6. In order to be profitable and stay in business, these hospitals must do something to improve their medical billing reimbursements. Careful monitoring of your medical billing for maximum reimbursements is one way.
If you're not sure that you're getting maximum reimbursements, have your billing practices audited by an independent party, the results may surprise you. If you do bundle your medical billing, check and double check to make sure you have proper coding and documentation to back up your medical billing claim for full reimbursement. Another way to ensure you get the maximum returns for your services rendered, is to outsource your medical billing to a third party partner.
If you're ready let someone else keep up with the paper chase and documentation nightmare that medical billing can sometimes be, outsource your headaches to the pros and watch your reimbursements grow and know that proper reimbursement techniques are being used.