The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Transmittal 1058, Change Request (CR) 7767 confirms a zero percent update for payments under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) through year’s end.
Tag Archives | technical component
Reporting modifier 78 for a staged procedure? Expect denials.
When it comes to appending CPT® modifiers to your codes, the rules can be daunting, and Medicare’s regulations only compound the confusion. But if you’re up to speed on these key modifier billing practices, you’ll be raking in deserved pay.
Check out the following five tips to ensure that you aren’t missing any opportunities.
1. Don’t Avoid Modifier 26.
If your physician provides an interpretation and report for an x-ray or other radiological service in the treatment of a patient, that’s not always just part of his E/M—in some cases, you can separately bill for the interpretation and report by appending modifier 26 (Professional component) to the CPT® code.
Typically, the technologist that performed the patient’s x-ray will bill the code — such as 71010 (Radiologic examination, chest; single view, frontal) — with modifier TC (Technical component) to indicate that he is billing for the equipment, room charge, film and radiologic technician, but not for the physician’s interpretation. If the physician who renders the interpretation is with a separate professional group and is not a hospital employee, you should report the service with modifier 26 to obtain his proper share of the reimbursement.
2. Know the Difference Between Modifiers 58 and 78.
Because both modifier 58 and 78 describe procedures performed during another surgery’s global period, it can be easy to confuse them. But differentiating between the two can mean the difference between collecting your due and filing endless appeals.
Key: You’ll report modifier 78 (Unplanned return to the operating room for a related procedure during the postoperative period) when conditions arising from the initial surgery (complications) rather than the patient’s condition…
One of the most common procedures in ophthalmology is A-scan ultrasound biometry, which is associated with some of the most uncommon coding problems.
According to CPT, A-scans — 76511, 76516, and 76519 — are the shortened names for amplitude modulation scans, “one-dimensional ultrasonic measurement procedures,” notes Maggie M. Mac, CPC, CEMC, CHC, CMM, ICCE, Director, Best Practices-Network Operations at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Ophthalmologists use 76511 (Ophthalmic ultrasound, diagnostic; quantitative A-scan only) to diagnose eye-related complications such as eye tumors, hemorrhages, retinal detachment, etc.
Physicians use 76516 (Ophthalmic biometry by ultrasound echography, A-scan) to measure the axial length of the eye in preparation for cataract surgery.
And 76519 (Ophthalmic biometry by ultrasound echography, A-scan; with intraocular lens power calculation) allows ophthalmologists to determine the intraocular lens calculation prior to cataract surgery only.
Typically, most A-scans are performed bilaterally. However, circumstances may only require the physician to perform a unilateral scan.
Each A-scan code has separate requirements when billed bilaterally. For example, payers consider 76511 unilateral, requiring the use of modifiers LT/RT/50 (Left side/Right side/Bilateral procedure) or the units value of “2.”
But 76516 is inherently bilateral, so you shouldn’t append modifier 50 to it.
For CPT Code 76519, some payers (including Medicare) consider only the technical component bilateral whereas the professional component is unilateral.
Some non-Medicare payers, on the other hand, want you to bill globally and don’t typically divide the professional and technical components, so you must determine which insurance company you are coding for and what its policy is for billing A-scans.
Medicare carriers for Part B services have published articles specifying their preference to report a bilateral service with a single line item with modifier 50 and one unit of service, whereas [some] non-Medicare payers prefer reporting bilateral services with two line items…
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…
What do insurers expect for documentation of tympanometry or other diagnostic tests? That’s the question Pediatric Coding Alert subscriber Paula Escobar with Riverside Pediatric Group asked, so we went looking for answers.
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