Tag Archives | Medicare Patient

64704 Denials? 5 ways to Fix Your Neuroplasty Claims

If you’re just plodding though nerve surgery claims, you could be stepping over a great deal of well-earned reimbursement.  Coding and billing peripheral nerve surgeries for conditions such as tarsal tunnel and diabetic neuropathy can involve a frazzling number of codes.   Podiatry coders often struggle to navigate the various coding guidelines that payers use for these procedures.  Use these five tips to maximize payment for your podiatrist’s hard work on nerve surgeries:

Tip 1: Check CCI edits and your local Medicare guidelines

If you’re billing codes that the Correct Coding Initiative bundles together — and your documentation and diagnosis codes can’t justify breaking the bundle — you’re not going to see one extra cent for that bundled procedure code.

Example: A California Medicare patient injures his foot when he falls off a ladder and requires peripheral nerve surgery to correct the damage the injury caused.  The podiatrist performs the following:

28035 — Release, tarsal tunnel (posterior tibial nerve decompression)

64712 — Neuroplasty, major peripheral nerve, arm or leg, open; sciatic nerve

64704 — Neuroplasty; nerve of hand or foot

+64727 — Internal neurolysis, requiring use of operating microscope (List separately in addition to code for neuroplasty) (Neuroplasty includes external neurolysis)

64708 — Neuroplasty, major peripheral nerve, arm or leg, open; other than specified.

If you report all these codes, you’re bound to get a denial on 64704 — this is one of the codes the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) bundles into 28035.  Unless you can justify billing 64704 separately (and if that’s the case, append modifier 59, Distinct procedural service, to the code), you shouldn’t list it all.

Unbundling is not automatic: Be aware that you can’t automatically override a CCI edit with modifier 59 just because documentation supports a separate site,…

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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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Replace 90658 With a Q Code, After Jan. 1

Get ready to change your flu vaccine product code 90658 to one of four Q codes.
For 2010, report 90658 (Influenza virus vaccine, split virus, when administered to individuals 3 years of age and older, for intramuscular use) to signify that your physici…

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Billing Specialist Knowledge Assessment

Before you hire a biller, you need to make sure he or she is qualified for the position. The following test coupled with a math test will assess whether the candidate will be successful in the role — and an asset to your company.

Name: _____________________________________________  Date: _______________

  1. A CPT code has _______ digits and an ICD-9-CM code has _______ digits
  2. Explain the difference between a CPT code and an ICD-9-CM code
  3. What is the purpose of a modifier?
  4. What are E&M codes?
  5. What does “COB” stand for?  
  6. What insurance information do you obtain when the patient contacts our office with new insurance?
  7. If the patient has Medicare, Tricare and Medicaid, which insurance would you bill first, second, last? 
  8.  Patient is 65; has BCBS through employer w/ 100+ employees and has Medicare Part A only.  Which insurance would you file first?
  9. What does HIPAA stand for? And what does it mean to you? 
  10. What is a CMS 1500 used for?
  11. What is the difference between HCFA and CMS 1500?
  12. How would you handle each of the following EOB rejections?
    • Procedure not a covered benefit
    • Patient not eligible on the date of service
    • Applied to deductible 
    • Bundled Service


Multiple Choice

1. A “crossover” claim is:

a. When Medicare forwards a claim electronically to a secondary insurance carrier

b. When duplicate claims are sent and the same claim is returned for more information. (essentially the two claims are “crossing” in the mail)

c. When a claim is sent that has more than one box “crossed out”

d. Sending the claim to the secondary insurance first for administrative purposes, “crossing” the normal procedural policies.


2. An EOB is:

a. End of Balance


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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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Medical Coding: Ease Counseling Codes Acceptance With Distinct Dxs

Study frequency guidelines before you bill for counseling services.

Question: A 60-year-old established Medicare patient with a confirmed diagnosis of vanishing lung (emphysema) reports to the family physician (FP) for a medication check and blood work; the patient is a moderate smoker. During the medication check and blood work, which took about 5 minutes, the patient tells the practice’s non-physician practitioner (NPP) “I think I’m ready to quit smoking; can you help?” The NPP spends the next 7 minutes providing smoking cessation counseling for the patient. Can I report a cessation code and an E/M?

Answer: Provided the patient meets Medicare’s requirements for cessation counseling, you can report the following:

  • 99211 (Office or other outpatient visit for the evaluation and management of an established patient, that may not require the presence of a physician. Usually, the presenting problem[s] are minimal. Typically, 5 minutes or less are spent performing or supervising these services.) for the E/M
  • 492.0 (Emphysema; emphysematous bleb) appended to
  • 99211 to represent the patient’s emphysema
  • 99406 (Smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling visit; intermediate, greater than 3 minutes up to 10 minutes) for the smoking cessation counseling
  • 305.1 (Tobacco use disorder) appended to 99406 to represent the patient’s tobacco dependency.

Know the rules: According to Medicare, its patients are entitled to smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling provided the patient is either:

  • a tobacco user who has an illness caused or complicated by tobacco use or
  • taking a therapeutic agent whose metabolism or dosing is affected by tobacco use as based on Food and Drug Administration-approved information.

Additionally, note these two frequency guidelines for spot-on 99406 and 99407 (… intensive, greater than 10 minutes) claims:

  • Medicare will

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Examine These FAQ to Sort Your Medicare Cancer Screen Codes

Remember frequency rules differ for average, high risk.

Getting Medicare to pony up for colorectal cancer screenings is not difficult provided you follow its frequency guidelines and eligibility requirements to the letter. A coding slip up on one of these items will knock you out of the saddle, and Medicare won’t accept the claim at all.

Rope in all the coding info you’ll need via this Medicare colorectal cancer screening FAQ.

Who’s Eligible for Average-Risk Test?

If the Medicare patient is 50-plus years old, he is eligible for a covered Medicare screening, confirms Dena Rumisek, CPC, biller at Michigan’s Grand River Gastroenterology PC.

However: These patients are considered average risk, and can have a colorectal cancer screening only once every 10 years, says Cheryl Ray, CCS, CPMA, of Atlantic Gastroenterology in Greenville, N.C. Ignore Medicare’s frequency guidelines at your peril, experts warn.

“Medicare is very stringent on the date … it has to be 10 years or longer — it can’t be 9 years and 360 days,” between covered screening colonoscopies, assures Rumisek.

Example: A 68-year-old established Medicare patient reports for a screening colonoscopy on Dec. 5, 2009. The patient’s records indicate that he last had a covered screening on Sept. 15, 1998. On the claim, you should report G0121 (Colorectal cancer screening; colonoscopy on individual not meeting criteria for high risk).

What ICD-9 Codes Are In Play for G0121?

Just one, provided there is no need for any therapeutic intervention during the colonoscopy. Medicare requires V76.51 (Special screening for malignant neoplasms; colon) on all G0121 claims. You might list other identified conditions secondarily, including diverticulosis (562.10) or hemorrhoids (455.0).

Always list the V code first for an average-risk screening, however.

What if the Patient Had a Recent Flexible Sig?

The frequency rules differ depending on whether other related…

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Append Modifier Q6 for Fill-In Physician

Before using modifier Q6 for a non-Medicare patient, check with the commercial payer — here’s why.

Question: We hired a locum tenens for two weeks. Do we code the same for the replacement physician as for a full-time

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Put Your Rehab Coding and Billing Knowledge to the Test

This quick quiz will show you where you fall.

Want to stay polished on your coding and billing skills to ensure stellar reimbursement and compliance? Give this quiz a whirl, and then turn to page 21 for the answers —…

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Gastro Coders: Be Aware of Medicare Screening Reqs Or Risk Payment Denial

Following 10-year-rule eliminates G0121 rejection.

If you slip up on screening colonoscopy claims’ frequency guidelines and eligibility requirements, Medicare will pay you zilch.

Use this guidance to capture every screening dollar your gastroenterologist deserves.

Home in on Eligibility Requirements for

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Urology Challenge: Remember All Factors for Post-Op Procedure Coding

The answer hinges on the urologist’s interpretation.

Question: A patient had a robotic prostatectomy for prostate cancer on Jan. 1. Then the patient started experiencing voiding problems in February. At that time my doctor did a cystoscopy to check for

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Ask 3 Questions to Head Off 2010 Consult Problems Before They Start

Ever used an unlisted E/M code? Get ready.
By now, you’ve heard that CMS is doing away with all inpatient (99251-99255) and outpatient (99241- 99245) consultation codes in 2010 — but are you prepared for the issues this may cause, starting Jan. 1? Ask these three questions of your practice and payers, and you’ll fend off […]

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