Tag Archives: MACs

CMS releases clarifications regarding NCDs and LCDs

I feel a bit like January, 2000 – much ado about little. Looks like (so far) ICD-10 is a go. I’m not saying there haven’t been bumps in the road, or that there are no obstacles we have yet to recognize, but I think I can say, “so-far-so good.” Something I have spent the last few years deeply involved with is the translation of the National Coverage Determinations (NCDs) to ICD-10. On November 20, 2015, CMS released information regarding feedback on some of the NCD translations and issues discovered in some of the LCD policy translations prepared by the MACs. Continue reading

CMS is Serious about Overuse of Modifiers: More on 59

On September 10, 2014, OIG announced it settled with a physician group practice in Illinois for overuse of modifiers.  The practice exceeded the number of units allowed for certain services as regulated by CMS. According to the OIG, the physician practice used a code to bypass computer edits that otherwise would have rejected their claims. The group entered into a $590,763.45 settlement to resolve allegations of submitting false or fraudulent claims to Medicare. In addition, OIG contends the group upcoded services and submitted claims for high complexity tests when it performed less expensive, low or moderate complexity tests.

My take:

In September, I posted a blog regarding the modifications CMS plans to make to modifier 59 by creating four new, more specific modifiers that can be used to bypass an NCCI edit. CMS is requiring providers to be more specific with regard to what they believe a separate service really is. What is not new is that using the new modifiers will require documentation that adequately supports their use. A few thoughts on the new modifiers: Continue reading

CMS: CDI Take Note – Physician Claims Related to Hospital Denials Will Soon Be Scrutinized

On September 4, 2014 CMS replaced Transmittal 534 with Transmittal 540, Change Request 8802 to “adhere to CMS Inpatient recoding policy standards, which was accomplished by removing the recoding language in section 3.2.3 in the Manual Instructions.” They went on to specify “The purpose of this CR is to allow the MACs and ZPICs the discretion to deny claims that are ‘related’ and provide approved examples of such situations.”

Effective September 8, 2014 CR 8802 allows MACs and ZPICs to deny “related” professional claims submitted before or after the facility claim being questioned. CMS determines that “documentation associated with one claim can be used to validate another claim, (then) those claims may be considered ‘related.’” Continue reading

Alphabet Soup: Acronyms and E&M Coding

As healthcare professionals, we have a lot of acronyms to keep straight, don’t we? Feels like alphabet soup in my head some days. I’m reminded of a scene in the movie, Good Morning Vietnam, where Robin Williams’ character has an entire conversation using acronyms, making fun of the military jargon. We could do the same in healthcare, especially in E&M coding.

Today, let’s think a bit about HPI, not to be confused with PHI. If you have a translator in your head the way I do, these two don’t even sound the same, but for those outside the realm of coding, these acronyms can get confusing. PHI is Protected Health Information. HPI, or History of Present Illness, is the portion of the E&M (Evaluation and Management) visit during which the patient describes why they are seeing the physician. Continue reading