Tag Archives | Medicare Part B

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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Worried about Delayed Pay? Verify Your State’s Prompt Pay Laws

How many times has it happened with you that you submit a clean claim but still don’t get paid even three months later? Do you have any recourse? Yes, thanks to the prompt pay laws that each payer must follow when paying your medical claims.

Verify Which Laws Apply to Your Practice

Each state requires private insurers to pay all clean claims within a certain time frame. If the insurer does not pay the claim in a timely manner, then the payer is subject to paying interest on the charges owed to the practice (or directly to the beneficiary). Most time frames range from 15 to 45 working days, with 30 days about the average.

“If you are a little adventurous, you could search for your state law on the Internet,” says Joseph Lamm, office manager with Stark County Surgeons, Inc. in Massillon, Ohio. Lamm warns, however, that “reading through state laws and their multiple exceptions, references to other sections of state law, and ‘legalese’ can make this a very frustrating exercise.”

“Take advantage of your local or state medical society and the experts they employ to see if your state has a prompt pay law, and to which insurance companies it applies,” Lamm suggests. “The medical societies are on your side and will give you the correct information.”

State prompt pay laws do not apply to federal insurers, because the Federal Government dictates that clean claims must be paid in 30 days for Medicare Part B.

“If a state wants a prompt pay rule that’s longer or shorter, they certainly can do that with reference to other payer services,” says Connie A. Raffa, Esq., partner with Arent Fox, LLP in New York, NY. “But Medicare rules are federal and span across the country.”

If your private payer…

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Report Picture Perfect Annual Wellness Visits With These 5 Tips

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.

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 independent coding consultant in Guadalupita, N.M. “It is therefore important that you convey this information to any new physician the patient sees.”

Tip 3: Add Preventive Service Codes, If Performed

You can bill the new annual visit codes in addition to any other preventive service, such as G0102 (Prostate cancer

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CMS Releases 2011 Conversion Factor Rate

Despite adjusted rate of 33.9764, overall change is zero.
The President locked in a zero percent adjustment to your Medicare Part B payments but that doesn’t mean you’ve got the same rate.
The Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010, wh…

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Medicare Covers 99406, 99407

If you’ve been writing off tobacco cessation counseling as non-payable, it’s time to change your tune.

The change: In the past, you could collect for tobacco cessation counseling for a patient with a tobacco-related disease or with signs or symptoms of one. But on Aug. 25, CMS announced that “under new coverage, any smoker covered by Medicare will be able to receive tobacco cessation counseling from a qualified physician or other Medicare recognized practitioner who can work with them to help them stop using tobacco.”

“For too long, many tobacco users with Medicare coverage were denied access to evidencebased tobacco cessation counseling,” said Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, in an Aug. 25 statement. “Most Medicare beneficiaries want to quit their tobacco use. Now, older adults and other Medicare beneficiaries can get the help they need to successfully overcome tobacco dependence.”

Count Attempts and Minutes

The new tobacco cessation counseling coverage expansion will apply to services under Medicare Part B and Part A. That means your physicians and coders should know how to correctly document and report the sessions.

“Medicare allows billing for two counseling attempts in a year, but each attempt can occur over multiple sessions, with four sessions per attempt,” explains Jennifer Swindle, CPC, CPC-E/M, CPC-FP, RHIT, CCP-P, director of coding and compliance for PivotHealth LLC in Brentwood, Tenn.

According to section 12 of chapter 32 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, “Claims for smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling services shall be submitted with an appropriate diagnosis code. Diagnosis codes should reflect: the condition the patient has that is adversely affected by tobacco use or the condition the patient is being treated for with a therapeutic agent whose metabolism or dosing is affected by tobacco use.”

Swindle says 305.1 (Tobacco use disorder) is one diagnosis supporting…

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Congress Boosts Conversion Factor Through Dec. 31

Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rate won’t be cut 23 percent.
Although the government appeared poised to take a big bite out of your next Medicare Part B payments, you now have another month before you need to worry about losing pay. That’s because…

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CPT 99406, 99407 Coverage Extended to All Smokers

CMS announcement is triumph for physicians who haven’t collected in the past.
If you’ve been writing off tobacco cessation counseling as non-payable, it’s time to change your tune.
In the past, CMS only covered 99406-99407 (Smoking and tobacco us…

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Coding Compliance: OIG Targets Transforaminal Epidural Injections

Verify that you’re counting injections and levels correctly to keep claims clean.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) Work Plan for 2010 includes a closer look at Medicare payments for transforaminal epidural injections. The Work Plan specifically states, “We will review Medicare claims to determine the appropriateness of Medicare Part B payments for transforaminal epidural injections.”
Stay [...]

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Double Ultrasound Codes Spell Double Trouble With Auditors

Authorities scrutinize medical necessity for 76830 & 76856.
The OIG is watching your ultrasound orders and code combinations — and it doesn’t like what it sees. Take note of these problem spots to keep your claims in the clear.
An OIG audit of ultrasound services billed in 2007 found that nearly one in five ultrasound claims “had characteristics that raise [...]

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