ICD-10: A Common Language for Monitoring Ebola and Other Global Health Threats

As the fourth American Ebola patient, a physician serving in West Africa, was flown to the U.S. for emergency care this week, I was reminded that public health also wins from the implementation of ICD-10.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), the latest Ebola outbreak has killed almost 2,300 people in five West African countries. Medical workers have been hit hard by the Ebola epidemic. As of late August, more than 240 healthcare workers had developed Ebola and more than 120 had died. Continue reading

Taking a Closer Look at the August ICD-10 Coding Challenge

CONTEST QUESTION:

A 65-year old female was seen as an outpatient by her internist for monitoring of her hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus. During the course of the visit, the patient told her physician that she had been feeling sad and depressed as of late. After discussion, the patient agreed to a trial of antidepressant medication therapy. Prescription renewals for enalapril and metformin along with a new prescription for the antidepressant were sent to the patient’s pharmacy electronically. The diagnoses for the visit were hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus and depression. Assign diagnoses codes for this outpatient encounter. Continue reading

Four Things Providers Need Before They Can Embrace Value-Based Payment

The concept that payment for health care should be based on quality and clinically meaningful outcomes is not new, but the current breadth, variety and rapid adoption of value-based models is unprecedented. Value-based payment models now include accountable care organizations (ACOs), patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), bundled and episode-based payments, and pay for performance structures.

There are now more than 600 Medicare and non-Medicare ACOs. This is more than a 300% increase from the end of 2011 when the first 32 Medicare ACOs were announced, at which time there were approximately 160 private sector ACOs. The increase in PCMHs is no less remarkable with a 5-year increase from 28 in 2008 to nearly 6,000 in late 2013 – and that only includes those with NCQA accreditation.

Continue reading

Warning: Abuse of Modifier 59 – CMS Makes Changes

In 1996, CMS implemented the National Correct Coding Initiative or NCCI, sometimes referred to as CCI. The claim system edits were developed to “promote national correct coding methodologies and to control improper coding leading to inappropriate payment in Part B claims.” CMS realized that even if they created edits that bundled or disallowed procedures performed on the same date of service, there would be rare instances that would support using a modifier to override an edit. Thus, certain CPT modifiers were given that designation – modifier 59 among them.

On August 15, 2014, CMS released Transmittal 1422, CR8863 “Specific Modifiers for Distinct Procedural Services” effective January 1, 2015. The Transmittal explains that modifier 59, which is the most highly utilized of the CPT modifiers that CMS allows to override for NCCI edits, has been overused. It is associated with considerable abuse of high-level, costly manual audits, reviews, appeals and even cases of fraud and abuse. Continue reading

Getting their Money’s Worth…Value-Based Purchasing

Value-based purchasing further emphasizes the ripple effect and spider web of CDI, HIM and Quality. Everyone “knows” about value-based purchasing, but what is it comprised of?

Value-based purchasing (VBP) is both a broad and narrow quality measurement tool. Broadly defined, pay for performance (P4P)/ VBP is payer-developed metrics to measure value compared to reimbursement given. Two examples are accountable care organizations (ACOs) and bundled payments. A narrow definition is a program mandated by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and administered by CMS. VBP has been in development for almost 10 years but was formally introduced for FY 2013. Through the Medicare program, incentive payments are made to hospitals based on either how well they perform or improve against their own baseline on each domain comprising VBP. There are four domains: clinical process of care, patient experience of care, outcome (FY 2014 forward) and efficiency (FY 2015 forward). Each domain is assigned an associated weight. For example, in FY 2015 clinical process is 20 percent of the total VBP score, patient experience is 30 percent, outcome is weighted at 30 percent and efficiency rounds it out at 20 percent. Continue reading

Will 2014 be a Year to Remember for Outpatient CDI?

The other day, I was thinking back to the year 1987: Ronald Reagan was President, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl and the Minnesota Twins won the World Series. Michael Jackson released his third album, Bad, and “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles was the number one hit on The Billboard Top 100.

1987 was also the beginning of an important initiative in healthcare and health information management. This was the year that 3M created its inpatient clinical documentation improvement (CDI) program. Continue reading

E&M Guidelines: HPI and Chronic Conditions

Last month, I blogged about the History of Present Illness (HPI) portion of an E&M note. The HPI section details the specifics of why the patient is seeing their physician. Prior to that, I wrote about the two sets of E&M guidelines, specifically the different exams within those guidelines to guide physicians and/or coders to select a level of care provided during that visit. This month, I’d like to dig into the point at which these two sets of guidelines converge: chronic conditions.

The 1995 E&M documentation guidelines stipulate that to support the higher levels of care, a provider must document four or more elements of the HPI. The 1997 E&M documentation guidelines added a chronic conditions option. These guidelines state that a provider could document the status of three or more chronic conditions rather than four or more elements of the HPI. Continue reading

Is Value-Based Purchasing Working? Should We Make it a Game?

Value-based purchasing (VBP), a program authorized by the Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act of 2010, authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to base a portion of hospital reimbursement payments on how well hospitals perform in 25 core measures.  The goal of the VBP program is to incentivize hospitals to improve care by starting to base reimbursement on quality of care delivered. This program focused on how patients rate their hospital experience, and how well hospitals follow certain standards of care. Some of the VBP core measures ask the following:

• Were blood cultures performed in emergency department prior to initial antibiotic?
• Were prophylactic antibiotics discontinued within 24 hrs after surgery end?
• How often was pain well controlled? Continue reading

Selection in Health Insurance Exchanges – Risk or Risk-Adjustment?

The initial focus of media and industry scrutiny during the launch of health insurance exchanges was primarily the potential for adverse enrollee selection of insurance products. Healthier enrollees would opt for less comprehensive packages (or avoid enrollment), while the sicker would obtain more comprehensive coverage. The net result of this situation is the adverse selection-induced, so-called “death spiral.” In fact, the exchanges appear to have successfully captured significant numbers of younger enrollees, with the majority of enrollees opting for the benchmark silver levels. High-cost individuals within the community rated pool are accounted for by the 3Rs – reinsurance, risk-corridors and risk-adjustment, with reinsurance and risk-corridors being phased out as the initial shock of transitioning to the new insurance structure is absorbed. Continue reading

Taking a Closer Look at the July ICD-10 Coding Challenge

Blog by Sue Belley

This blog has been updated.  You can view the update here.

CONTEST QUESTION:

A man from a small village in Guinea, West Africa, presented to his village health clinic with a severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea and severe pains in his back. He was initially thought to have malaria, but upon transfer to a special unit at a hospital in Conakry he was diagnosed with Ebola. The patient went on to develop disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, SIRS and shock. The patient was treated with intravenous fluid and electrolytes, vitamin K, oxygen and blood pressure support. He eventually succumbed. Assign codes for this inpatient encounter and sequence appropriately. Continue reading