Tag Archives | Diagnostic Tests

E/M + Bronchoscopy + PFT: Unlock the Secrets to Signs and Symptoms Coding

Keep your CCI edits in mind for PFT bundles.

When a patient presents with common respiratory conditions, your pulmonologist should perform an extensive history and examination, and may order several diagnostic tests before he can settle with a definite diagnosis to report in the claim. Along with the primary diagnosis (if achieved), you should report the patient’s signs and symptoms or else risk an audit.

Consider this scenario: The pulmonologist sees a patient for fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss, and fatigue. After undergoing a detailed history and examination, the patient becomes suspect for hypersensitivity pneumonitis, otherwise known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis (495.x). The physician orders a diagnostic bronchoscopy with fluoroscopic guidance, as well as a spirometry to verify the patient’s condition. To justify each service performed by the same provider or group, you might be accumulating payer inquiries or denials. This 2-step technique should carry you through potentially puzzling spirometry-E/M coding situations.

1. Don’t Leave Out Signs and Symptoms On Your Claim

 First on your to-do list is to report the patient’s signs and symptoms. In this case, you would code 780.6 (Fever and other physiologic disturbances of temperature regulation), 786.05 (Shortness of breath), 786.50 (Unspecified chest pain), 783.21 (Loss of weight), and 780.79 (Other malaise and fatigue). Because these signs and symptoms resemble other respiratory problems, the physician performs a level four E/M and orders some diagnostic tests. Report the procedures with: 31622 (Bronchoscopy, rigid or flexible, including fluoroscopic guidance, when performed; diagnostic, with cell washing, when performed [separate procedure]) for the bronchoscopy with fluoroscopic guidance. Your physician is likely to perform this on a separate date. 94010 (Spirometry, including graphic record, total and timed vital capacity, expiratory flow rate measurement[s], with or without maximal voluntary ventilation) for the pulmonary function test (PFT); and 99214 (Office

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E/M Coding Makes OIG 2011 Work Plan

Make sure your postop office visit documentation measures up.

The OIG has once again set its sights on several new targets to go with the upcoming new year, and this time the feds will be double- and triple-checking your E/M documentation.

On Oct. 1, the OIG published its 2011 Work Plan, which outlines the areas that the Office of Audit Services, Office of Evaluations and Inspections, Office of Investigations, Office of Counsel to the Inspector General, Office of Management  and Policy, and Immediate Office of the Inspector General will address during the 2011 fiscal year. When the OIG targets an issue in its Work Plan, you can expect the agency to carefully review and audit sample claims of those services.

The Work Plan “describes the specific audits and evaluations that we have underway or plan to initiate in the year ahead considering our discretionary and statutorily mandated resources,” the document indicates.

On the agenda for next year, the OIG has indicated that its investigators will “review the extent of potentially inappropriate payments for E/M services and the consistency of E/M medical review determinations.” The OIG also plans to hone in on whether payments for E/M services performed during the global periods of other procedures were appropriate.

In addition, the OIG will scrutinize Medicare payments for Part B imaging services, outpatient physical therapy services, sleep testing, diagnostic tests, and claims with modifier GY on them (Item or service statutorily excluded, does not meet the definition of any Medicare benefit or, for non-Medicare insurers, it is not a contract benefit).

The OIG also intends to “review Medicare payments for observation services provided during outpatient visits in hospitals” to assess whether hospitals’ use of observation services affects Medicare beneficiaries’ care.

Keep your compliance plan up to date with tips from Part B Insider,

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Pre-Cataract Surgery Coding Myths You Should Bust

Improperly coding IOL Masters or A-scans can cost your practice $30 per patient.

Calculating intraocular lens power for patients facing cataract surgery has gotten more precise as A-scan and IOL Master technology has advanced. But to make sure your practice is getting fairly reimbursed each time, you need to understand the bilateral rules for 76519 and 92136.

Could one of these myths be damaging your claims?

Include Bilateral and Unilateral Components in Global Code

Myth: If the ophthalmologist calculates IOL power in both eyes, you should report 76519 (Ophthalmic biometry by ultrasound echography, A-scan; with intraocular lens power calculation) or 92136 (Ophthalmic biometry by partial coherence interferometry with intraocular lens power calculation) twice (e.g., 76519-RT and 76519-LT, or 76519-50).

Reality: You should not report 76519 or 92136 with modifier 50 even if the ophthalmologist calculated the IOL power of both eyes, warns Maggie M. Mac, CPC, CEMC, CHC, CMM, ICCE, Director, Best Practices-Network Operations at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. To understand why, it’s helpful to know how Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule values the procedures.

As it does with many other diagnostic tests, CMS divides the A-scan (76519) and the IOL Master (92136) into two components. The technical component (the actual performing of the test) is denoted with modifier TC, and the professional component (viewing and interpreting the results) is denoted with modifier 26.

For most procedures, the technical and professional components have the same bilateral status – for example, 92250-TC and 92250-26 (Fundus photography with interpretation and report) are both considered inherently bilateral, denoted with modifier indicator “2” on the fee schedule. The reimbursement for all components of 92250 is based on both eyes being tested.

Exception: For both 76519 and 92136, the technical component has a different bilateral status from the professional component. You can find…

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CMS Clarifies How to Report Audiology Services

Look for a physician order for diagnostic audiology tests.
If you thought CMS’s May transmittal on coding for audiology services was the last word on the subject, think again. On July 23, the agency rescinded the May directive and issued new guidance…

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Check 33208 Global to Prevent E&M Snafu

When an EM service occurs during a postop global period for reasons unrelated to the original procedure, use this modifier.

Question: If the cardiologist performs a pacemaker insertion in the hospital and later visits the patient in observation, should I

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Newborn Status Change Means Deciding Between Hospital Care Codes

Sort your normal, sick and intensive care options.
Choosing the appropriate codes for initial newborn services can be difficult due to the large number of available codes and gray areas between the spectrum of illnesses. If you find yourself getting tripped up by the multiple categories, read on for expert tips and real-world examples that [...]

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Celebrate CT Colonography’s 2010 Move to Category I

But don’t assume the new codes will yield improved fees.

Virtual colonoscopy coverage may be a mixed bag, but the AMA showed some confidence in the service by moving its codes from temporary Category III status to full-fledged Category I in 2010.
The switch from Category III to Category I does offer some hope of better reimbursement [...]

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Service Doesn’t Meet Incident-To Rules? Report Under NPP’s NPI

Heads up: These vaccine admin codes are excluded from incident-to requirements.
Incident-to rules don’t always apply to diagnostic services, but many medical practices aren’t aware of that.
And based on a new wave of scrutiny directed toward incident-to claims, you should know physician supervision rules inside and out.
A recent audit from the HHS Office of the Inspector [...]

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