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New AWV Codes: Here’s What the MACs Are Saying

Stop worrying if your claims were denied, you still hold a chance as many carriers are reprocessing.

Almost a year ago, practices were told that Medicare will cover an annual wellness visit (AWV) for Part B beneficiaries effective Jan. 1 and last month, CMS announced the new codes for the AWVs. Everything seemed to look perfect until came the time for claims submissions and came the denials along with it.

The MACs may have hit a few speedbumps while processing the first of the AWV claims, but are attempting to get their systems rolling smoothly as January closes out for codes G0438 (Annual wellness visit, initial) and G0439 (Annual wellness visit, subsequent). We give you answers to several questions — straight from the MACs themselves — which may help you ensure that your claims go through smoothly.

Which Diagnosis Code Should You Use?

Several subscribers have told the Insider that they submitted their AWV claims using ICD-9 code V70.0 (Routine general medical examination at a health care facility), but faced immediate denials due to MACs claiming that this is the wrong diagnosis code.

It appears that those denials were the result of a computer glitch that made the AWV codes non-payable when billed with V70.0, but some payers have already fixed this problem.

National Government Services, a Part B payer in four states, sent out a notification on Jan. 25 stating that they “omitted the editing for diagnosis code V70.0 that is allowable with HCPCS codes G0438 and G0439, and claims that were initially denied are being reprocessed.

Pinnacle Business Solutions, a Part B MAC in two states, ran a notification on its Web site on Jan. 21 stating that a system error in the claims processing system incorrectly denied claims for G0438-G0439 between Jan. 1 and Jan 20. “A…

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MACs Differ on Response to CMS’s Cardiology Payment Adjustments

Don’t look for a raise just yet, in most cases.

CMS may talk, but MACs don’t always listen — at least not quickly.

As we told you in last week’s Insider, CMS recently corrected several “technical errors” published in the 2010 Fee Schedule, and thanks to these corrections, Medicare will increase payment for several cardiology-related testing codes, including codes 75571-75574 (Heart CT) and 78451-78454 (Heart muscle SPECT imaging).

Although many practices are eager to see the payment boosts in their next Medicare payments, that may be an overly ambitious goal at this point.

“I inquired with a few MAC carriers such as Trailblazer, Noridian, and Palmetto, and was told different things by different Medicare payers,” says Terry Fletcher, BS, CPC, CCS-P, CCS, CMSCS, CCC, CEMS, CMS, CEO of Terry Fletcher Consulting Inc.

“One did not even know there was a change,” she says. “Next, Noridian said that they will be making the adjustments when they get the directive from CMS. And Palmetto said they would need the provider to contact them and then batch retroactive to January the myocardial perfusion imaging claims and send a letter to request the increase,” she says.

Bottom line: Until CMS provides a clear answer to the MACs regarding when they must implement the changes, you may not see your pay increases, but keep an eye on your carrier’s Web site for information on when it intends to reprocess claims using the new rates.

Part B Insider. Editor: Torrey Kim, CPC

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Unlock Pay With Anesthesia V Code Advice

Don’t be caught asleep: Patient history is one element of proper Dx coding.

Many coders hesitate to report V codes, or simply use them incorrectly, but sometimes this section of ICD-9 most accurately describes the reason for the patient’s condition….

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Congress Puts Off 21 Percent Pay Cut Until May

But because legislators missed the cutoff by one day, some claims were processed using a lower rate.

Although the government appeared poised to take a big bite out of your next Part B payments, you have another month before…

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21 Percent Pay Cut Kicked in April 1 — But MACs Are Holding Claims

No legislative wrangling can take place until April 12.

Unless Congress steps in soon, you could be facing the 21.2 percent Medicare pay cut that you’ve feared since January.

Despite several Congressional attempts to cobble together another temporary pay fix…

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Don’t Bill One Physician Incident-To Another

Find out what incident-to requirements you have to meet.

Question: Is there any circumstance in which a group can bill all services and all providers (including other physicians) under just the head doctor? I know we can bill NPP

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Quick Quiz: Think You Understand the New Consult Rules? Find Out Fast

Test your 2010 consultation coding understanding with these questions and answers.

Consultation coding has every practice on edge this year. Ensure that you’ve got a handle on this complicated coding and billing situation by taking this three-question quiz and then…

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Think You Understand the New Consult Rules? Find Out Fast

Check your 2010 consultation coding savvy.

Find out if you’re set to properly code your physician’s consultation services this year by tackling three problems and their solutions.

Check With Your MAC for Guidance


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CMS Tells MACs to Hold Claims For 10 Days

The latest on the 21 percent Medicare pay cut.

If your practice leans heavily on Medicare for reimbursement, expect your cash flow to taper off a bit.

CMS has instructed the MACs to hold claims for the first ten business…

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CMS Delays Ordering/Referring PECOS Regulation Until 2011

Take the extra time to get your practice registered in PECOS — don’t wait until the end of the year, CMS reps say.
Practices that were busily struggling to find out whether their ordering/referring physicians’ national provider identifiers (NPIs) were in the PECOS system can relax a little bit — at least until next year.
If your physician performs […]

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ICD-9 Coding: Stop Asking ‘Which Diagnosis Code Will Get My Claim Paid?’

Assigning an ICD-9 code merely to get your claim paid could land you in legal hot water.
Medical coders face a lot of questions each day in the course of their work, but one question you should not be asking is “which diagnosis code should I put on this claim if I want to collect?”
When […]

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CMS Will Soon Issue Consult Code Replacement Advice, According to Open Door Forum

Plus: You can now download a list of all practitioners who can order/refer.
If you’ve been confused about how to report low-level hospital visits now that consult codes are gone, you aren’t alone. CMS intends to tackle this problem by issuing more specific guidance on the topic in the near future.
That’s according to a Feb. 2 […]

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Global Billing: Document ‘Unrelated’ for Modifier 79 Services

MACs are looking for ‘red flags’ to halt additional global period pay
Billing for additional services during a global surgery period is always tricky, but now you can expect special scrutiny for modifier 79 claims.
After the OIG got wind of fraudulent surgery billing with modifier 79 (Unrelated procedure or service by the same physician during the postoperative period), CMS contractors have been on the hunt […]

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Medical Office Billing: 7 Ways to Escape Computer Claim Casualties

Pay attention to EOBs and keep talking to your MAC.
You could be losing money to a computer glitch and not know it, experts say.
If you don’t nip a computer glitch in the bud, you may be plagued with improper denials and other claim holdups. Here are seven things you can do to seek out and […]

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Coders: Watch Out for Claim-Denying Computer Glitches

Don’t wait for your MAC to alert you to an error — be on the lookout for them.
If you’ve been losing reimbursement to computer hiccups at your carrier, you’re not alone. Earlier this year, thousands of Medicare recipients in one state were wrongly told their benefits were being cut by $300 — but the state decided not to notify those affected with a letter. Instead, the state only told […]

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A Physician Coder’s Guide to the 2010 OIG Work Plan

If your practice does lab panels, sleep studies, hospice visits and more, take heed.
The HHS Office of Inspector General has published its 2010 Work Plan, which should give us all a heads up on what the watchdog agency will be auditing and evaluating this year.
Why you should care: The 115-page document is like a map […]

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