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Coding 96372 With 90471

During an office visit, our nurse administered a B12 injection and a flu shot to an established patient. Can we code for both injections in addition to the office visit? (Illinois Subscriber)

The answer depends on the circumstances. …

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New Year, New Insurance = New Verification


How should I file a claim on a patient who has new coverage but has not received an insurance identification card yet? (South Carolina Subscriber)


Ideally, when patients call to make appointments, you should have someone in your office confirm their insurance coverage and eligibility, especially if you know the patient is going to have new insurance.  Now is the time of year when benefits verification tends to be most useful. While verification is good practice all year long, January is the time when you’ll see more insurance changes – including payer, benefit, and deductible/copay changes – than at any other time during the year because most employers hold open enrollment in December.

Finding out about insurance changes before the appointment gives you time to check if you are a participating provider with the payer and verify coverage. If the patient doesn’t yet have an identification number with her new insurance company, ask for the name of the insurer and the policy number from the patient, or from the patient’s employer. Then, call the insurer and verify the coverage and the date of eligibility, and get the appropriate information to identify the patient on your claim.

Warning: The date of eligibility is an important question to ask the payer because many employers don’t make health insurance coverage immediately available to new workers. A patient with a new job and new insurance coverage may be in your office for a visit today, but his insurance isn’t effective for two months.

Alternative: Although verifying coverage in advance is preferable, many practices have patients confirm their insurance coverage and note any changes when they check in for their appointments. If you are unable to verify the insurance coverage, or you find that the patient is not eligible for coverage on…

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Does One-Hour E/M Warrant Add-on Prolonged Service Code?

Our physician provided a one hour E/M service, most of which was spent on counseling, so we reported 99215 and one unit of +99354 (Prolonged physician service in the office or other outpatient setting requiring direct [face-to-face] patient c…

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5 Tips Lead You to G0438, G0439 Coding Success

Boost your bottom line by reporting new annual wellness visits correctly.  If you want your annual visit claims to be picture perfect in 2011, then follow these five tips to avoid future denials and keep your physician’s claim on the fast track to success.

Background: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended preventive coverage to more than 88 million patients covered by health insurance, and Medicare has codified that benefit in the form of an annual wellness visit. Medicare valued the new annual wellness codes based on a level 4, problem-oriented new and established E/M service.

The two new codes are:

G0438 — Annual wellness visit; includes a personalized prevention plan of service (PPPS), first visit

G0439 — Annual wellness visit; includes a personalized prevention plan of service (PPPS), subsequent visit.

Tip 1: Apply G0438 to Second Year of Coverage

Be wary of applying these codes to new Medicare patients coming in to your physician’s practice in 2011.  The reason is that Medicare will only reimburse the initial visit (G0438) during the second year the patient is eligible for Medicare Part B. In other words, during the first year of the patient’s coverage, Medicare will only cover the Initial Preventive Physical Exam (IPPE), also known as the Welcome to Medicare exam.

Tip 2: CMS Limits G0438 to One Physician

If your FP sees the patient for the initial visit (G0438) and the patient sees a different physician for the next annual wellness visit, that second physician will only receive reimbursement for the subsequent visit (G0439), despite having never seen the patient before.

Here’s why: CMS has indicated that when a patient returns to the same or new physician in a third year, they might only pay for the subsequent visit, says Melanie Witt, RN, COBGC, MA, an…

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Simplify Your Endometrial Cancer Claims In Just Three Steps

If your ob-gyn converts a laparoscopic to an open procedure, your coding for endometrial cancer surgeries can drastically transform. Follow these three steps to ward against denials.

Review This Op Note

Preoperative diagnosis: Adenocarcinoma of the endometrium.

Postoperative diagnosis: Same as above, but greater than 50 percent myometrial invasion, pathology pending.

Operation performed: Laparoscopic assisted transvaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, laparotomy with pelvic and periaortic node dissection, partial omentectomy, pelvic washings.

Procedure: Exam of the pelvic organs revealed an 8-week-size uterus. The right and left ovaries appear to be within normal limits. The ob-gyn found no evidence of excrescences or signs of metastatic disease in the lower pelvis along the bowel or serosa, nor did he discover evidence of metastatic disease in the upper abdomen, liver and dome of the diaphragm. He then performed a dissection.

He removed the uterus vaginally with the assistance of the laparoscope, and the pathologist was present to open the organ and render an opinion.

The pathologist saw an enlarged, fungating, relatively superficial lesion of the endometrium. Up in the patient’s right fundal area, however, the pathologist saw an invasion of the myometrium at least two-thirds of the way through. Given this finding, the ob-gyn decided to perform an open pelvic node dissection. He removed the laparoscope and made a new incision to enter the peritoneum.

He obtained pelvic washings from the right cul-de-sac and pelvic area. He then performed a partial omentectomy with the aid of multiple Kelly clamps.

The ob-gyn did a pelvic node dissection, first on the right side identifying the ureter evenly. He carried down the dissection to include the internal and external iliac lymph nodes. He performed the same procedure on the left side. The dissection took place below the bifurcation of the aorta….

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Revision of a Tricuspid Valve – Why is it necessary?

The tricuspid valve is the atrioventricular valve in the right hand section of the human heart, which regulates the flow of blood from the right atrium (top chamber) to the right ventricle (the bottom chamber).

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