Revenue Cycle Management

Reporting Cardiac Stress Tests

Interpretation only, or supervision, too? The answer affects your coding.

If coding for cardiac stress tests makes you want to pull your hair out, you are not alone. Understanding the nuances of the appropriate stress test codes can be tricky. Here’s how to avoid the confusion so you can seamlessly report stress tests.

Notice What Happens During Stress Tests

Cardiologists use stress tests, also known as treadmill or exercise tests, to see how well a patient’s heart deals with work.

When a patient takes a stress test, the cardiologist (or tech) hooks up the patient to heart monitoring equipment, and the patient walks slowly on a treadmill. Next, the treadmill’s speed increases and tilts to simulate the patient going up a small hill. During the test, the cardiologist monitors the patient’s heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and level of tiredness.

Stress tests allow the cardiologist to diagnose coronary artery disease, determine a safe level of exercise for the patient, and diagnose a possible heart-related cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or light-headedness.

stress test

Grasp 93015 — Several Codes in One

When it comes to reporting stress tests, the CPT® manual gives you the following options:

  • 93015, Cardiovascular stress test using maximal or submaximal treadmill or bicycle exercise, continuous electrocardiographic monitoring, and/or pharma­cological stress; with supervision, interpretation and report
  • 93016, … supervision only, without interpretation and report
  • 93017, … tracing only, without interpretation and report
  • 93018, … interpretation and report only.

Problem: The way that the CPT® manual lists the above codes could suggest that they work together. This interpretation isn’t correct, but the manual does not offer any extra explanation beyond the descriptor language for the codes’ appropriate usage.

Solution: You can look to an article in the January 2010 CPT® Assistant to see the close connection between the stress test codes.

According to CPT® Assistant, 93015 represents a complete cardiac stress test procedure, which includes the technical and professional components of the service — 93016, 93017, and 93018. To correctly report 93015, one cardiologist must perform all three components in a nonfacility setting like an office, clinic, or diagnostic testing center.

If the cardiologist does not perform a complete 93015, he should report just the code or codes that best represent the service he did perform (93016-93018).

Reporting stress tests in the hospital: If the cardiologist reports stress tests in a facility setting like the hospital, the facility would report the technical component (93017), and the cardiologist would report the service he performed (93016, 93018, or both).

Bonus tip: The PC/TC indicators for these codes in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule also can help you use these codes correctly:

  • Code 93015 has indicator 4, meaning it’s a global test code that describes selected diagnostic tests where there are associated codes that indicate (a) the professional component only and (b) the technical component only.
  • Codes 93016 and 93018 have indicator 2, meaning they are professional components only. Codes 93016 and 93018 describe the physician work portion of selected diagnostic tests where there is an associated code that describes the global test.
  • Code 93017 has indicator 3, meaning it is the technical component only. Code 93017 indicates the staff and equipment costs of selected diagnostic tests where there is an associated code that describes the professional component of the diagnostic test only.

Understand the Individual Component Codes of 93015

Let’s dig deeper into each component of 93015 — 93016, 93017, and 93018 — to see what it means when a cardiologist reports these codes.

1. Code 93016 is a professional component you report for the physician’s supervision only, without the interpretation and report. Medicare’s diagnostic test supervision guidelines require this component.

Expert tip: Report 93016 only if the physician provides direct supervision of the stress test. Physicians should document they supervised in order to use this code.

2. Code 93017 represents the service’s technical component such as technicians, providing the equipment, paying for rental space, utilities, supplies, etc. You use 93017 for tracing only, without the interpretation and report.

Expert tip: For tests performed in a facility setting, only the facility reports 93017.

3. Code 93018 is a professional component.

Expert tip: Report 93018 if the provider provides an interpretation and a written report.

Learn more-

Cardiac Stress Test 

Cardiac Health

~Excerpt taken from the 2018 Cardiovascular Survival Guide

Revenue Cycle Management

Clear up EOB Confusion

Remember: An EOB is not a bill.

Working in the healthcare field, you know that acronyms are a part of your daily life. From the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); to local coverage determinations (LCDs); to relative value units (RVUs) — as a coder, you are constantly bombarded by acronyms.

It’s common for one such acronym, explanation of benefits (EOB), to cause confusion among patients. Read on to learn more about EOBs, as well as remittance advice (RA).

Delve Into How EOBs Work

Insurance companies send EOBs to patients two to three weeks after their initial appointment.

“EOBs are insurers way of explaining their reimbursement, based on the CPT® codes and ICD-10 codes submitted,” says Catherine Brink, BS, CMM, CPC, president of Healthcare Resource Management in Spring Lake, New Jersey. “EOBs usually list the service provided was approved or not approved, the amount a provider charged, the amount approved by the insurer, the amount paid by the insurer, the amount you may be billed, then a code that indicates how the claim was paid, denied, or partially paid based on the patient’s policy. This is explained in detail on the EOB.”

Don’t miss: Although patients often mistake an EOB for a bill, an EOB is not a bill.

“Most patients do not understand EOBs or the definition of the acronym ‘explanation of benefits,’ which means what the insurer will pay based on your particular policy,” Brink says.

Check out this example from Brink: A participating provider charges $200 for a service. Medicare’s approved amount for this service is $160. Medicare pays 80 percent of $160-$128. The 20 percent difference, $32, is the patient’s responsibility to pay. If the patient has a Medigap insurance plan, then that $32 is usually paid by insurer depending on the insurance plan. The $40 difference from what the par provider charged and the Medicare approved amount must be written off by the par provider since it is part of the par contract with Medicare. Biller and coders must understand this and adjudicate the remittance advise, which is sent to the provider, correctly.

Note: An EOB is sent to the patient and an RA is sent to the provider. The patient needs to understand the EOB since he is responsible for the 20 percent.

Helpful tip: When asked how practices can help ease the confusion patients often have about EOBs, Brink says practices should explain to patients what the EOB will tell them and try to help them interpret it.

Practices could let their patients bring in EOBs and explain them. Practices could post this on their websites as a helpful service they provide, Brink adds.

Some practices offer education classes for patients to teach them about EOBs, and the patients like these classes, Brink says. “I see this in bigger practices who have the personnel to do this, for instance, education sessions, such as breakfast seminars.”

Practices Should Utilize RAs to Ensure Maximum Reimbursement

While an EOB is sent to the patient, a RA is sent to the provider who billed the service, according to Melanie Witt, RN, MA, an independent coding expert based in Guadalupita, New Mexico.

“Both types of statements provide an explanation of benefits, however,” Witt says. “The content of the RA and the EOB is nearly identical with the exception of a few minor items.”

Both RAs and EOBs contain the following information, according to Witt:

  • Information regarding the patient
  • The service provider
  • Any adjustments made to the claim
  • The type of procedure performed
  • The date the procedure was performed
  • The cost of the procedure
  • An explanation if the payment was denied

“Additional information regarding the patient’s benefits is often included as well, including the particulars of the plan, such as co-payments and deductibles,” Witt adds.

The major difference between RAs and EOBs is that an EOB contains a disclaimer stating the EOB is not a bill, according to Witt.

Example: For example, at the top of an EOB for Cigna, you will find the statement: “THIS IS NOT A BILL. Your health care professional may bill you directly for any amount you owe.”

Practices should utilize their RAs to streamline their processes.

“All billing staff should spend time studying the reasons cited for adjustments or denials from the RA they received,” Witt says. “Each RA message should be tracked to ensure that any patterns of inappropriate adjustments (incorrect use of a modifier, bundling issue, reduction for secondary procedure, etc.) or denials (code not covered, code bundled, demographics incorrect, not medically necessary, etc.) are addressed to ensure maximum reimbursement.”

Billers should also use RAs to compare what was paid to the published fee schedule from the insurer, Witt adds.

-originally posted from TCI Supercoder June 26, 2018

Revenue Cycle Management

4 Common Myths on Reporting Heart Failure Dx Codes

ICD-10 can be tricky to master with the sheer number of diagnoses to choose from, sequencing rules, and special notes. However, you don’t have to sacrifice precious dollars in your cardiology practice.

Bust these four myths to streamline your heart failure claims.

Male anatomy of human organs in x-ray view

Myth 1: Acute and Chronic Heart Failure Develop at Same Rate

Truth: Acute heart failure develops suddenly, and the symptoms are initially severe. On the other hand, chronic heart failure usually develops slowly, over time.

“Patients with chronic heart failure have a previous history of heart failure and are on long-term management such as medications to control the heart failure,” says Carol Hodge, CPC, CDEO, CCC, CEMCcertified medical coder of St. Joseph’s Cardiology in Savannah, Georgia explains. “Chronic heart failure is an established form of heart failure that can be controlled, but not cured.”

Coding solution: If the physician documents acute diastolic congestive heart failure, you would report I50.31 (Acute diastolic (congestive) heart failure). However, if the physician documents chronic diastolic (congestive) heart failure, you would report I50.32 (Chronic diastolic (congestive) heart failure).

Myth 2: ADHF Doesn’t Involve Worsening of Heart Failure Symptoms

Truth: Acute on chronic heart failure (ADHF) is the sudden symptomatic worsening of heart failure (established known heart failure), says Julie-Leah J. Harding, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, CCC, CRC, CPEDC, RMC, PCA, CCP, SCP-ED, CDIS, AHIMA-approved ICD-10 trainer and ambassador and director of revenue operations-cardiovascular surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

ADHF typically includes dyspnea with physical activity and or lying flat, the patient may have gasping for breath while walking, lower extremity swelling, fatigue, pulmonary edema (chest congestion), palpitations, loss of appetite, weight loss, low urine output, confusion and memory issues, according to Harding.

When chronic heart failure becomes uncontrolled, it is referred to as acute on chronic, and symptoms such as increased shortness of breath and pedal edema, may occur, according to Hodge.

“The worsening of these symptoms on top of the chronic condition is referred to as ‘acute on chronic,’” Hodge explains. “Once the acute phase isresolved, it is returned to being referred to as ‘chronic.’”

Coding solution: The physician documents acute on chronic right heart failure. You should report I50.813.

Myth 3: Specificity Not Important in Heart Failure Documentation

Truth: When it comes to heart failure documentation, specificity is vital. As Harding emphasizes, “You can offer any magnitude of ICD-10 codes, but if it is not documented, you cannot report them.”

“The most common mistake I see in reporting heart failure is that documentation only supports heart failure, unspecified,” Hodge says. “Providers need to be educated to document whether the heart failure is systolic, diastolic or combined. And, is it right or left heart failure? “

Harding talks about her experience from the congenital heart disease perspective.

“In the congenital heart disease world, most of our patients have a form or element of heart failure, according to Harding. “Our struggle, and it is common in the acquired world as well, is the lack of specificity in provider/clinician documentation.”

We seldom receive “acute,” “chronic,” or “acute on chronic” written in the patient record, Harding adds. We often query the providers for clarification.

Myth 4: You Can Ignore “Code First” Notes

Truth: You should also pay close attention to “code first” notes in ICD-10.

For example, a “code first” note under category I50- (Heart failure) tells you to sequence heart failure due to hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease.

A common error she sees is coders not using the combination codes or the hypertensive with heart disease codes, according to Hodge.

“These codes should be used to indicate hypertensive heart disease followed by the code for the type of heart failure,” Hodge adds. “Kidney disease very often occurs with hypertension and congestive heart failure, and those guidelines should be followed to correctly sequence those codes.”

Coding solution: The physician documents that the patient has hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease with acute systolic (congestive) heart failure and with stage 5 chronic kidney disease. You would report the codes in the following order: I13.2 (Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease with heart failure and with stage 5 chronic kidney disease, or end stage renal disease); I50.21 (Acute systolic (congestive) heart failure); N18.5 (Chronic kidney disease, stage 5).

-originally posted on TCI supercoder, June 26, 2018

New Patient Image
MDSuitemedical billingMedical Billing and CodingMedisoft

What Makes A New Patient “New”?

A patient makes an appointment at your clinic and “has never been seen before”, you bill a new patient visit only to have the payer reject the claim, stating, “New patient qualifications have not been met”.

So, what went wrong?  Not all Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes fall under the new (versus established) categories.  For example, if the patient presents through the Emergency Department, the patient is always new, and the provider is always expected to get the patient’s history to diagnose a problem.  However, in the office setting, the patient sees their primary provider routinely.  The provider knows- or can quickly access- the patient’s history to manage their chronic conditions, as well as make decisions on recent problems.

The definition of a new patient in the CPT code book is: “one who has not received any professional services from the physician/qualified health care professional or another physician/qualified health care professional of the exact same specialty and subspecialty who belongs to the same group practice, within the past three years.”  In addition to this definition, CMS adds “an interpretation of a diagnostic test, reading an X-ray or EKG etc., in the absence of an E/M service or other face to face service with the patient does not affect the designation of a new patient.”[i]

Three key components that make up a new patient are:

  1. Professional Service (not modifier 26)– If the provider has never seen the patient face to face, a new patient code should be billed.
  2. Three-year rule- the general rule to determine if a patient is “new” is to check to see if that patient has been seen in the past three years. Check your dates on this-if the patient was seen the last time in May of 2015 and its March of 2018, it hasn’t been three years, according to the payer.
  3. Different specialty/subspecialty within the same group is possibly the most confusing. For Medicare patients, use the NPI registry to see what specialty the physician’s taxonomy is registered under.  The credentialing process is of upmost importance in ensuring no denials happen due to improper credentialing.

What happens when doctors switch practices?

If a doctor changes practices and takes his patients with him, the provider cannot bill for the patient as a new patient based on the “new” tax ID.  The tax ID doesn’t matter because the provider has already seen these patients and has established a history.  Just because the patient is being seen in a new facility, that patient is still seeing the same provider.

What happens when a provider sends the patient to mid-level provider?

When an MD or DO sends a patient to a mid-level provider (Nurse Practitioner or Physicians Assistant) and the visit is not an incident-to, the mid-level provider could bill a new patient code if they are a different specialty with different taxonomy codes.  An example would be a family practitioner and the mid-level sees hematology patients.  Since the specialty is different, the mid-level could bill as a new patient visit.  However, if the mid-level is also considered family practice, then a new patient visit code could not be used.

Of course, in billing there are always exceptions to the rules.

For example:

  • For some Medicaid plans, obstetric providers need to bill an initial prenatal visit with a new patient code, even if they have seen the patient for years prior to the patient’s pregnancy. Make sure you check your own local rules and Medicaid plans if you are billing obstetrics.
  • Hospitalists and Internal Medicine providers are the same specialty according to Medicare, even though each has a different taxonomy code.

If a new patient claim is denied, look to the medical record to see if the patient has been seen in the past three years by your group.  If so, check to see if the patient was seen by the same provider or a provider of the same specialty by checking the NPI registry website.  It’s always helpful to know how the provider is registered with the payer denying the claim.  If in researching all of this, there isn’t any substantiating evidence to support the denial, appeal the claim.

 

[i] Medicare Claims processing manual, chapter 12-Physican/Nonphysician Practitioners (30.6.7)

Medisoft

Modifications to MIPS by the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018”

The Further Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 (HR1892) (officially renamed the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018”) enacted by the United States Congress and President Trump on February 9, 2018 extends the transition years for MIPS to include 2019, 2020 and 2021. This goes beyond the 2017 and 2018 transition years CMS allocated per the original MACRA legislation. There are also some changes included in the Act that apply to the 2018 MIPS performance year.

What Changes

  • Post-transition now begins in 2022, not 2019 and includes key requirements.
    • In 2022 the MIPS performance threshold must be the mean or median of national historical MIPS scores
    • The MIPS cost category must be weighted at 30% of the score
  • During the extended transition years of 2019 – 2021, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary shall:
    • annually increase the MIPS performance threshold in a “gradual and incremental transition” towards the value mandated for 2022 (the first post-transition year),
    • set the MIPS Cost category weight to be between 10% and 30%, and
    • not factor year-to-year MIPS Cost improvement into the MIPS score for 2018 and extended transition years.
  • Beginning with the 2018 performance year, the MIPS payment adjustment percentage will be applied only to Medicare Part B “covered professional services”. That means, most prominently, no MIPS payment adjustment for Part B drugs. Hence, MIPS financial incentives and penalties in absolute dollars will be reduced somewhat by this change.
  • Similarly, beginning with the 2018 performance year, the low-volume exclusion for MIPS will now only be based on “covered professional services”, rather than items as well, such as Part B drugs. Hence, the low-volume exclusion will exclude somewhat more clinicians than before. This assumes that the dollar amount and patient count thresholds of the exclusion set by CMS remain as they are ($90k and 200 patients, respectively) in the 2018 QPP Final Rule.

What Remains the Same

  • The schedule of maximum MIPS penalties for low performance or non-participation without a MIPS exclusion does not change
    • -5% for the 2018 performance year
    • -7% for 2019
    • -9% for 2020 and beyond
  • CMS will still publicize MIPS scores, category scores, and 5-star performance ratings of quality measures. More than half-a-million clinicians’ scores will be publicly reported during 4Q 2018 for the 2017 performance year.
  • The compliance and reporting requirements for Quality, advancing care information (ACI) and improvement activities (IA) do not change, although Quality benchmarks will likely continue to rise.

Key Takeaways

  • MIPS is here to stay. This Act reinforces CMS’ position that MIPS is a catalyst to move from FFS to value-based care. It further entrenches the MIPS program.
  • Clinicians may stay in MIPS longer. Easing the ramp up of the MIPS program may result in more clinicians and organizations deciding to remain in MIPS longer rather than entering an Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM). MIPS becomes a safer sandbox or “spring training” for clinicians to develop and practice value-based care improvement strategies before moving to more aggressive programs such as APMs.
  • CMS continues to drive continuous MIPS performance improvement. The Act requires CMS to continue to increase the MIPS performance threshold year-over-year to reach the required national mean or median by 2022. In the 2018 QPP Final Rule, CMS predicts that 74% of eligible clinicians will have scores of greater than 70 for 2018. For the 2022 performance threshold, if the historical national mean or median were to be, say, 75 points, then the average annual increase in the threshold from 2019 to 2022 would be 15 points per year, enough to encourage continuous improvement.
  • MIPS compliance and complexity persist. As the growing MIPS penalty remains, MIPS compliance will remain important. MIPS regulations and requirements will continue to be updated annually and semi-annually, making it essential for organizations stay on top of the program.
  • MIPS Cost will grow in importance. MIPS Cost remains at least at 10% until it must be 30% in 2022. This confirms CMS’ commitment to making cost performance part of MIPS.
  • MIPS public reporting is on track. As CMS projected, more than half-a-million clinicians’ 2017 MIPS scores and quality measures will continue to be publicly-reported in 2018 through the Physician Compare website or through a freely downloadable file. The reputational impacts of MIPS remain intact and are even more important as providers stay in MIPS for a longer period of time.

This article was originally published on SA Ignite.

EHREHR on the webElectronic Medical Recordselectronic patient recordEMR

eClinicalWorks LLC to Pay $155 Million to Resolve Civil False Claims Act Allegations

eClinical Works has agreed to pay $155 million to resolve allegations the the EHR company misled consumers about the certification of it’s EHR technology and paid some customers kickbacks in return for positive promotion of it’s product, this is according to a press release by the Department of Justice May 31, 2017.

Since 2011, healthcare providers who used eClinical Works software and attested to satisfying the Meaningful Use objectives and measures received incentive payments through the Meaningful Use program. Had eClinical Works disclosed that its software did not meet the certification criteria, it would not have been certified and its customers would not have been eligible for incentive payments. In addition, requests for incentive payments that resulted from unlawful kickbacks constituted false claims.

eClinical Works paid unlawful remuneration to influential customers to recommend its product to prospective customer. Among other things, eClinical Works employed a “referral program” a “site visit program” and a “reference program”. Through its “referral program” eClinical Works paid current users as much as $500 for each provider they referred who executed a contract with eClinical Works. All of these programs violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and are included in the original complaint.

The company and its three founders — CEO Girish Navani, CMO Rajesh Dharampuriya, MD, and COO Mahesh Navani — will be responsible for paying $154.9 million to the federal government. One developer and two project managers are on the hook for a combined $80,000.

Under the settlement, the EHR company headquartered in central Massachusetts will enter into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which includes a provision that eClinicalWorks “retain an Independent Software Quality Oversight Organization to assess ECW’s software quality control systems and provide written semi-annual reports to OIG and ECW documenting its reviews and recommendations.”

Customers of the EHR company will be able to obtain updated versions of eClinicalWorks at no cost or transfer their data to another EHR software free of charge.

 

Medisoft

Will your EHR stand up to the Rigors of MACRA?

 What is MACRA?

MACRA is the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. MACRA replaces the current Medicare reimbursement schedule with a new pay-for-performance program that’s focused on quality, value, and accountability. It was signed into law on April 16, 2015 by President Obama.RIP MU

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated that MACRA enacts a new payment framework that rewards health care providers for giving better care instead of more service. MACRA combines parts of the Physicians Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Value Based Modifier (VBM) and the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program (MU) into one single program called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or “MIPS”.

What is MIPS?

MIPS is the name of a new program that will determine Medicare payment adjustments and is an acronym for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System. Using a composite performance score, eligible professionals (EPs) may receive a payment bonus, a payment penalty, or no payment adjustment.

The Composite Performance Score is based on four performance categories:

  • Quality
  • Resource use
  • Clinical practice improvement activities
  • Meaningful use of certified electronic health records (EHR) technology

Performance for MIPS started on January 1, 2017 and will annually measure eligible providers in four performance categories to derive a “MIPS score” (0 to 100). The MIPS score can significantly impact a provider’s Medicare reimbursement in each payment year from -9% to +27% by 2022. The four performance categories are weighted:

  • 50% for quality (PQRS/VBM)
  • 25% for Meaningful Use
  • 15% for clinical practice improvement
  • 10% for resource use

The points provided for each category will shift over time to place an increasing focus on more resource use.

MediTouch is MACRA-compliant and can support your success through the transition to the new payment model.

Our software will provide you with a MACRA-specific, real-time dashboard so that you can be aware (at any point of the reporting period) of how you’re performing in the three categories on which you will be reporting.  The new MACRA-ready functionality will also identify ways in which you can take action, per patient, to improve your score.

Three MIPS Performance Categories comprising our MACRA dashboard:

  • Quality (PQRS + VBM)
  • Advancing Care Information (Meaningful Use)
  • Clinical Practice Improvement Activities

Note: Resource Use (or Cost) will not require reporting. This will be calculated based on your claims.

Want to learn more?  Use the form below to schedule a demo or give us a call at

502-538-4665 to talk with a sales representative.

 

medical billingMedisoft

Can your current payment system store a card on file?

Most everyone likes the convenience of paying bills online.  It’s definitely my preference, since it seems most of the time I’m not home.  I am from the generation that is use to writing a check every month, and trying to remember to buy enough stamps, so I enjoy the convenience of going online and pay a bill with my credit card or setting up an auto payment to pull funds right from my checking account.  I like that I am emailed or sent a text of said funds have left my account-it’s just more convenient.  With my  Health Savings Account (HSA), I can also keep track of all my families medical expenses too and (again the word) conveniently pay with a debit card.

From a revenue standpoint in medical office, wouldn’t it be nice to give this convenience to your patients?  Especially for families like mine where there is college student making their own medical appointments (no way I am going to give him my debit card), or a spouse who can never remember to grab the HSA card from my wallet.

For medical practices using BillFlash,there is a way to now set up auto draft payments for patients.  There are two ways to do this-with StoredPay and with PlanPay.

StoredPay

With StoredPay, you’re able to make the authorized payment and email a receipt rather than just sending another bill and waiting to get paid. Securely store a payment method that you can use later as agreed with your patient.

PlanPay

PlanPay payments are not associated with any single bill/statement but are simply part of a plan to pay off an established liability like a car loan payment would do. Create and automate payments for payment plans/agreements you make with your patients (ex, payoff $2,400 liability by making a $100/mo. payment on the 15th of each month for 24 months).

Best thing of all-it’s easy to get started!  

Simply give us a call or email at(502) 538-4665 or sales@sunrize.com

Don’t currently use BillFlash and want to learn more?  Visit our website to view product information and see a video on how BillFlash works or give us a call!

electronic patient recordICD-10MACRAmedical billingMedical Billing and Coding

New PT CPT Codes for 2017

pt-with-patient

CPT® 2017 has a few expanded codes for physical therapy evaluations and follow-up exams.  These codes are in effect for dates of service starting January 1, 2017.

97001 to be replaced by three codes in 2017:

These new codes will add more specificity and details regarding the scope of the evaluation and states that it involves clinical decision-making of low/moderate/high complexity. The evaluation includes history to identify any factors that impact the plan of care; using standardized tests and measures to assess body structures and functions that may limit activity or restrict participation; and evaluation of the patient’s current status on presentation. The evaluation typically includes face-to-face time with the patient and/or family.

97161 Physical therapy evaluation: low complexity, requiring these components: A history with no personal factors and/or comorbidities that impact the plan of care; An examination of body system(s) using standardized tests and measures addressing 1-2 elements from any of the following: body structures and functions, activity limitations, and/or participation restrictions; A clinical presentation with stable and/or uncomplicated characteristics; and Clinical decision making of low complexity using standardized patient assessment instrument and/or measurable assessment of functional outcome. Typically, 20 minutes are spent face-to-face with the patient and/or family.
97162 Physical therapy evaluation: moderate complexity, requiring these components: A history of present problem with 1-2 personal factors and/or comorbidities that impact the plan of care; An examination of body systems using standardized tests and measures in addressing a total of 3 or more elements from any of the following: body structures and functions, activity limitations, and/or participation restrictions; An evolving clinical presentation with changing characteristics; and Clinical decision making of moderate complexity using standardized patient assessment instrument and/or measurable assessment of functional outcome. Typically, 30 minutes are spent face-to-face with the patient and/or family.
97163 Physical therapy evaluation: high complexity, requiring these components: A history of present problem with 3 or more personal factors and/or comorbidities that impact the plan of care; An examination of body systems using standardized tests and measures addressing a total of 4 or more elements from any of the following: body structures and functions, activity limitations, and/or participation restrictions; A clinical presentation with unstable and unpredictable characteristics; and Clinical decision making of high complexity using standardized patient assessment instrument and/or measurable assessment of functional outcome. Typically, 45 minutes are spent face-to-face with the patient and/or family.

CPT® 2017 adds 97164 to replace 97002 (Physical therapy re-evaluation).

The new code adds more specificity and details regarding the scope of the evaluation, which includes history review and standardized tests (criteria established and agreed upon by a group of experts) and measures to assess body structure and function; a revised plan of care using standardized instrument and measurable functional outcome assessment tool; and typically involves 20 minutes of face-to-face time with patient and/or family.

Consider these to be the equivalent of E&M codes (99000) for Physical Therapy.  You should now consider these elements when coding for services:

  • Patient’s history
  • Examination results
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Development of the care plan

The level of the PT evaluation performed depends on the clinical decision-making and the patient’s severity, according to CPT® instruction. For reporting, PTs must demonstrate review of these body regions and body systems:

  • Defined body regions such as the head, neck, back, lower extremities, upper extremities, and trunk
  • Musculoskeletal systems, which include gross symmetry, range of motion, strength, height, and weight
  • Neuromuscular systems, which includes gross coordinated movement and motor function
  • Cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, which include heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure, and edema
  • Integumentary system, which means assessing the pliability, scar formation, color, and integrity of the skin

One other thing-make sure to sequence these codes before your modality CPT codes (those starting at 97010).

OT and AT have similar changes.  Look for those in a future post.

References:
CPT® 2017 Professional Edition, American Medical Association, pages 664-668
Federal Register, Vol. 81, No. 136, Pat. 46162, July 15, 2016, “Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other revisions to Part B for CY 2017; Medicare Advantage Pricing Data Release: Medicare Advantage and Part D Medicare Advantage Provider Network Requirements’; Expansion of Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Model”
AAPC Healthcare Business Monthly, November 2016

 

AttestationEHREHR on the webElectronic Medical Recordselectronic patient record

Advancing Care Information and Improvement Activities-Q&A

shutterstock_498951139The Merit Based Incentive Program (aka MIPS) defines four categories of eligible clinician performance, contributing to an annual MIPS final score of up to 100 points (relative weights are indicated for the CY2017 performance year and associated CY2019 payment year):

  • Quality (60% for 2017)
  • Advancing Care Information (ACI, renamed from Meaningful Use) (25% for 2017)
  • Improvement Activities (CPIA) (15% for 2017)
  • Cost (0% for 2017, but will be weighted for 2018 and beyond)

On December 13, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), briefly discussed two of the four Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) categories: Advancing Care Information (ACI) and Improvement Activities. Most of the 90-minute session was reserved for questions and answers. Here are some of the questions your colleagues asked, with answers from CMS.

Q: How is the ACI scored for hospital-based and non-facing patient clinicians who are part of a large multi-specialty reporting as a group?

A: That would depend on whether they choose to submit data, or not; they still have the option because they’re hospital-based. If they choose to participate, they will be scored as a group. The resulting update will apply to everybody in the group.

Q: When ACI is set to zero, to what category is the percentage applied?

A: The entire 25 points is moved to the Quality category, so instead of the Quality category being worth 60 points, it will be worth 85 points of the composite performance score (CPS).

Q: Will providers be submitting data through the same system for ACI and Improvement Activities as they did for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program?

A: No. There will be a new system for MIPS. However, if you are eligible to participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, you will need to attest through the same system as before.

Q: When reporting as a group, will nurse practitioners and physician assistants be excluded from ACI scoring if no data is submitted?

A: Yes. But if they are part of a group ,they will get the same update as everyone else in the group.

Q: Do eligible clinicians need to inform CMS in advance whether they will be attesting as an individual or a group? If so, how do they do that?

A: They don’t have to inform CMS; they just submit the data — unless they are reporting as a group through the CMS Web Interface or reporting Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) data. Information on these protocols are forthcoming.

Q: For the test portion of Pick Your Pace, which allows for one improvement activity to receive credit, can we pick any activity or do we need to pick a high or medium activity?

A: You can pick a high or medium activity, but a medium activity will only give you have the points (7.5) toward your final score.

Q: If we do not use an EHR and cannot attest to ACI, do we have to attest or submit this fact anywhere?

A: No. Just don’t complete that part of the reporting requirements.

Q: The rule states that ACI performance for groups will be based on a group score. Does that mean the reports showing the numerator/denominator for each eligible clinician in the group have to be combined?

A: The attestation should be aggregate there is one submission — one numerator and denominator per measure — for the group. If the group is using multiple EHR technologies, you will have to sum the numerator/denominator for each measure across the different EHRs for the group.

Q: If you do group reporting, do you only need a “1” in the numerator for the entire group to get credit for the base score under ACI?

A: Yes.

Q: When will the specifics of the improvement activities be released? The working on the 90-plus activities are vague and open to interpretation.

A: We are not planning to issue more specific language around the activities for the transition year. We aren’t requiring any specific data to be submitted. What you see is on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website is all that is required.

Q: Will the bonus payment be a one-time payment?

A: Whatever score you get in MIPS will be applied to your Physician Fee Schedule amount. The method for paying the added bonus for exceptional performers is still being worked out.

Q: What if your certified EHR technology (CEHRT) year changes mid year due to an upgrade and your submitting a full year of data?

A: You can submit a combination. Aggregate your data between the  two EHRs and submit the data for the ACI category as one submission. This is not the case for Quality reporting, however. You will need to work with a data aggression vendor to report electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs), in that case.

Q: Does MIPS reporting take the place of EHR reporting? Do we still have to use a qualified EHR or can we do claims-based reporting?

A: The data needs to come out of your EHR. For Quality measures, you’re no longer required to submit eCQMs to earn credit. In the Quality category, you could submit via claims and it wouldn’t count against you.

Q: Can you report as a group under MIPS if not all of your providers are using a CEHRT?

A: Yes.

Q: What type of documentation is required for improvement activities?

A: For improvement activities, we are not requiring documentation. But providers should retain copies of medical records, charts, reports, and any electronic records that are applicable and appropriate for up to 10 years after the conclusion of the performance period, in case of an audit.

See the whole presentation: