Medical Coding Pro Newsletter - May 23, 2011 Specialists’ Non-Physicián Practitioners Can Collect Primary Care I...
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Specialists’ Non-Physicián Practitioners Can Collect Primary Care Incentive Bonuses - 2011-05-20 10:54:50-04
Question: Our cardiology practice employs a non-physicián practitioner (NPP) who performs a lot of E/M services for our patients, and that NPP received a bonus payment as part of the Primary Care Incentive Payment Program, which surprised us. We wan...
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11400s Max Out With Margin Measurements - 2011-05-20 11:01:28-04
If our surgeon removes a sebaceous cyst from the back that measures 2.5 x 1.75 x 0.5 cm, should we add up all the dimensions or should we just use the biggest dimension of 2.5? Is the answer the same if this were a tumor instead of a cyst?
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Overcome 3 Myths and Claim Reimbursement Opportunities using Modifier 22 - 2011-05-20 11:16:08-04
Don’t fall for these common body habitus, time, and fee traps.
If you overuse Modifièr 22 (Increased procedural services), you may face increased scrutiny from your payers or even the Office of Inspector General (OIG). But if you avoid the modifièr entirely, you’re likely missing out on reimbursement your cardiologist deserves.
How it works: When a procedure requires significant additional time or effort that falls outside the normal effort of services described by a particular CPT® codè — and no other CPT® codè better describes the work involved in the procedure — you should look to modifièr 22. Modifièr 22 represents those extenuating circumstances that do not merit the use of an additional or alternative CPT® codè but do land outside the norm and may support added reimbursement for a given procedure. Take a look at these three myths — and the realities — to ensure you don’t fall victim to these modifièr 22 trouble spots.
Myth 1: Morbid Obesity Means Automatic 22
Sometimes, an interventional cardiologist may need to spend more time than usual positioning a morbidly obese patient for a procedure and accèssing the vessels involved in that procedure. In that case, it may be appropriate to append modifièr 22 to the relevant surgical codè. However, it’s not appropriate to assume that just because the patient is morbidly obese you can always append modifièr 22. “Modifièr 22 is about extra procedural work and, although morbid obesity might lead to extra work, it is not enough in itself,” says Marcella Bucknam, CPC, CCS-P, CPC-H, CCS, CPC-P, COBGC, CCC, Manager of Compliance education for the University of Washington Physiciáns Compliance Program in Seattle.
“Unless time is significant or the intensity of the procedure is increased due to the obesity, then modifièr 22 should not be appended,” warns Maggie Mac, CPC,...
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Adjust Your Codès Easily When Diágnosis Changes During A Patient’s Hospital Stay - 2011-05-20 11:19:41-04
Educate your physicián to keep you in the loop on patients’ development.
Just because a patient enters the hospital with one diágnosis doesn’t mean she’ll have that diágnosis for her entire stay. And if you bill for your physicián’s hospital visits with an out-of-date diágnosis, you could lose money or face fraud charges.
The problem: Diagnoses can change in the hospital due to various reasons, including the following, among others: The physicián may narrow down the patient’s problem. For example, a patient may be admitted with chest páin, and the doctor may rule out myocardial infarction and decide the problem is actually gastrointestinal in nature.
The patient may develop other problems. The patient may be admitted for dehydration problems but may start having chest páins. The patient may experience complications that lead their original complaint to worsen significantly. You can’t wait for the hospital to send you medical rècords and hope to bill in a timely fashion. You could be waiting six weeks after the patient gets out of the hospital for any rècords. So it’s up to your physicián to let you know if a patient’s diágnosis has changed.
Do this: Educate your physiciáns, and let them know that just because the patient has been admitted with a particular diágnosis doesn’t mean they should bill for that diágnosis for each visit. To help your physicián track his hospital visits, you might consider giving each physicián a simple form to rècord these evaluations. The physicián could put a sticker with the patient’s hospital identifier on the form and then write the date of each visit, the level of service and the diágnosis. Each sheet will have roóm for 10 or 12 patient visits.
Diágnosis Tracking Is In the Cards
Another approach is to give your doctor a...
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10120 or Beyond: Site, Depth, Complexity Drive Códe Choice - 2011-05-20 11:24:01-04
Follow 3 pointers to snag maximum pay.
From just under the skin to deep within the bowels, your general surgeon might perform a foreign body removal (FBR) that calls on a wide range of coding know-how. Zero in on the right codè every time by implementing these four principles:
1. Use 10120-10121 for Any Site Under Skin
If your surgeon makes an opening to remove any foreign body, such as a glass shard or a metal filing, but doesn’t indicate an anatomic site or depth in the op report, you’ll probably choose 10120 (Incision and removal of foreign body, subcutaneous tissues; simple). You can’t choose a more specific codè if the surgical report doesn’t provide any more documentation.
Caveat: Because the codè requires incision, look for a sharp object when considering 10120. If the documentation doesn’t include this detail, use an E/M service codè (such as 99201-99215, Office or Other Outpatient Services) instead of the skin FBR codè.
Look for complications: If the surgeon uses the term “simple” in the op note or fails to note any extenuating circumstances, you’re good to go with 10120. But the surgeon might perform a complicated FBR, meaning that the foreign body was harder than usual to remove. In these situations, the note should indicate, for example, extended exploration around the wound site, presence of a complicating infection, or sometimes the need to use visualization and localization techniques, such as x-ray. In those cases, you should choose 10121 (… complicated) for a subcutaneous FBR with no mention of anatomic site.
2. Search Musculoskeletal Codè for Specific Site
CPT® contains higher-paying FBR codè s than 10120-10121, but the surgeon needs to document the following two details before you can use the codès:
Location: You’ll find myriad FBR codès scattered throughout CPT®’s “Musculoskeletal System” section (20000-29999),...
Read more: http://medicalcodingpro.com/wordpress/archives/1425
$56 Question—Are You Downcóding Your E/M Visits? - 2011-05-20 11:32:45-04
You’re not only losing revenue—you’re also coding improperly.
CMS data from previous years shows that medical practices undercodè E/M claims to the tune of over $1 billion annually—that’s money that physiciáns could have collected based on their documentation, but forfeited because they reported a lower-level codè than they should have. But remember that your responsibility as someone who submits claims to Medicarè is to codè based on the documentation—anything else is incorrect coding.
If you’re one of the practices that’s downcoding claims, take note of the following reasons that you should codè based on your documentation rather than undercoding.
Could You Be Triggering an Audit?
The number one reason that many practices undercodè is because they don’t want to “trigger an audit.” However, coding all low-level E/M codès is sure to get a payer’s attention, because the claims reviewers will be wondering why you never offer high-level evaluations to your patients.
When claims reviewers review “bell curves” to determine whether a practice is coding outside the norm, they aren’t just looking for upcoding—they are looking at trends across the board. This means that a practice with all 99212s and 99213s will be vulnerable, because nearly every practice sees more complex patients requiring high-level E/Ms at least once in a while. If an auditor reviews your rècords and determines that you’re deliberately downcoding claims, they’ll conclude that you’ve been coding improperly.
Consider Compliance Implications
If you’re deliberately undercoding your claims to stay under the radar, you’re technically violating the False Claims Act because you are knowingly submitting a false claim. “It’s a violation just as much as deliberate upcoding is a violation, but the government most likely isn’t going to pursue it because ultimately it savès the Medicarè program money,” says John B. Reiss, PhD, JD, a health care attorney...
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Learn the Keys to Properly Coding MACE, Mitrofanoff, and More - 2011-05-20 11:37:42-04
You’ll be able to report anastomosis with some procedures and not others.
If your urologist sees pediatric patients you may occasionally run across some procedures that you’re not used to coding. When your urologist performs a Malone antegrade colonic enema (MACE), a Mitrofanoff procedure, or a Monti procedure, you might be left scratching your head over the proper code choice. Follow this expert guidance to ensure you’re reporting the proper codes for every pediatric surgery your urologist performs.
Differentiate MACE and Mitrofanoff Before Coding
The MACE and Mitrofanoff procedures are similar, as both are used mainly in pediatric patients and involve similar anatomy, which makes coding for them a challenge.
MACE: For the MACE procedure, the physician uses the appendix or other small section of bowel to create an opening attached to the skin (a cutaneous stoma) to be used to irrigate antegrade with a catheter fecal matter from the colon. “The MACE is generally a pediatric procedure used on children, but could also be used on adults, with chronic constipation or fecal incontinence. Usually these diagnoses are found in children who are born with spina bifida or other neurological abnormalities,” explains Janell Glascock, CCS, CPMA, certified coding specialist for the Indiana University Health Physicians, Urology Department in Indianapolis.
For the MACE procedure you will first report 50845 (Cutaneous appendico-vesicostomy), says Christy Shanley, CPC, billing manager for the University of California, Irvine Department of Urology. Append modifier 52 (Reduced services) because the urologist is doing part of an appendicovesicostomy (isolating the appendix but doesn’t remove it from the large bowel). Then, report 44680-51 (Intestinal plication [separate procedure]; multiple procedures) for the plication of the bowel, Shanley says.
Mitrofanoff: “The Mitrofanoff [procedure] can also use the appendix, or other small bowel if the appendix is not available, and attaches...
Read more: http://medicalcodingpro.com/wordpress/archives/1423
Considering Gilenya Administration? Answers to Top 3 FAQs are Here. - 2011-05-20 11:39:36-04
Staying with basic 99211 might be safest option.
If you’re shaky on how to report Gilenya (fingolimod) as a first-line treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS, ICD-9 code 340), you’re not alone. Gilenya questions have circulated ever since the FDA approved the drug in September 2010. Check our answers to three of the most common questions coders have so you’ll be ready when your neurologist offers the initial treatment dose to patients.
1. What’s the Best HCPCS Code?
“Gilenya is newly approved by the FDA, so there’s no HCPCS code for the drug,”says Catherine Nolin, CPC, a specialty based coder with Central Main Medical Center in Lewiston.
Result: Your only HCPCS choice currently is J3490 (Unclassified drugs), but verify details before submitting the code. Physicians sometimes write a prescription so patients can obtain and purchase the medication from a local or specialty pharmacy before coming to the office for administration. In those situations, your office should not submit any J code for drug reimbursement.
2. How Should We Code for Monitoring?
When beginning treatment with Gilenya, the FDA recommends observing the patient for a period of six hours. After taking the initial dose of the oral medication, the patient is monitored for signs and symptoms of bradycardia. Your neurologist needs to be available in the office to manage any post-dose arrhythmia-related side effects.
Dilemma: Physicians don’t normally track the patient’s status following the administration – a nurse does. The only CPT E/M code allowed for nurse care is 99211 (Office or other outpatient visit for the evaluation and management of an established patient, that may not require the presence of a physician. Usually, the presenting problem[s] are minimal. Typically, 5 minutes are spent performing or supervising these services). The code only encompasses five minutes...
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