Question: Did you get any info at the CPT 2010 conference about the “Table of Drugs and the Appropriate Qualitative Screening, Confirmatory, and Quantitative Codes” on page 386 CPT? This is brand new, and I need to learn about it.
Answer: CMS created lab fee G codes to substitute for CPT codes due to concern about how the CPT codes were being used. “I thought the descriptions were the same,” said Kenneth Simon, MD, MBA, FACS, CMS for the hospital and ambulatory policy group senior medical officer in “Medicare Physician Payment Schedule 2010 Changes and Beyond” at the CPT and RBRVS 2010 Annual Symposium in Chicago on Nov. 11, 2009. “It was supposed to be a straight cross walk.”
AUDIO: 2010 Pathology/Lab Coding Update. With Peggy Slagle.
Hey, Coding News readers! It’s your turn to weigh in on the consult controversy.
Question: What should you do for Medicare 2010 coding if an inpatient consult on a patient’s initial hospital day does not support 99221?
Answer: Kenneth Simon, MD, MBA, FACS, CMS, senior medical officer at the CPT symposium was very adamant that you would have to use 99221. When questioners kept asking “But how could you use 99221 if the documentation didn’t support that level?” he continued to say, “On day 1, use 99221-99223.” His blunt repetition angered many attendees.
Ken, however, based his idea on data that Medicare used for the consult elimination that indicated most consult are coded as high-level consult. Therefore, he seemed to think the low levels would not be problematic.
How many of you currently are using low level consults (99251, 99252)? Let us know in a reply to this question.
And what it means for pediatric practices. A report from AMA in Chicago.
Although CPT clarifies the transfer of care definition, the fix came too late for Medicare, meaning your private payers may follow suit.
Continued Errors Result in E/M Boon
The Office of Inspector General found a high error rate on consultation codes. Different opinions on when a transfer of care occurs versus a consultation caused $1.1 billion in incorrect payments. “We couldn’t even all agree on some scenarios,” admitted William J. Mangold, Jr., MD, JD, Noridian Administrative Services’ (Arizona, Montana, Utah, Wyoming) Medicare contractor medical director in the carrier response section to Day 2′s opening session at the CPT and RBRVS 2010 Annual Symposium in Chicago.
Pediatricians who don’t regularly code consults could gain from Medicare getting fed up with the inconsistency and invalidating the codes for payment in 2010. CPT still maintains the codes. CMS, however, will…
Question: A 42-year-old patient reports to the ED early on Tuesday morning for evaluation of uncontrollable shaking in her extremities and severe pain in her neck. The EP admits the patient to observation at 7 a.m. and orders blood tests and a CT scan — however, the shaking continues to worsen. The EP consults with a neurologist, who recommends hospitalization. The neurologist then admits the patient to the hospital as an inpatient at 6:25 p.m. Tuesday for more examination. Notes indicate a comprehensive history and exam, along with moderate medical decision making. Should I code this as an observation, or some other E/M service?
Answer: The ED physician could use an initial observation code in this situation.
On the claim, report 99235 (Observation or initial hospital care, …) for the E/M with 781.0 (Abnormal involuntary movements) and 723.1 (Cervicalgia) appended to represent the patient’s symptoms. ED physicians do not admit patients…
Question: There’s a notation in the CPT 2009 manual that the neonatal critical care codes include delivery room resuscitation. Is this true?
Answer: No, a parenthetical note following 99465 (Delivery/birthing room resuscitation, provision of positive pressure ventilation and/or chest compressions in the presence of acute inadequate ventilation and/or cardiac output) incorrectly stated that resuscitation could not be reported with other per day critical care services, said Peter A. Hollmann, MD, AMA CPT Editorial Panel, Vice Chair in his “Evaluation and Management” presentation at the AMA CPT and RBRVS 2010 Annual Symposium in Chicago on Nov. 12.
You can separately report 99465-25 (Significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service provided by the same physician on the same day of the procedure or other service) provided the resuscitation in the delivery room is provided as a medically necessary service and…
Hint: Think ‘unlisted procedure.’
Question: One of our physicians is looking into “endoscopic lumbar spinal nerve decompression.” One of the medical device representatives indicated he could bill it like the lateral extraforaminal approach for lumbar decompression, but I haven’t found much information. What’s your advice?
Answer: Despite what you physician might have heard, your most appropriate choice probably is 64999 (Unlisted procedure, nervous system).
Many pain management providers are being introduced to different endoscopic approach systems. The AMA confirms that the descriptors for lumbar decompression procedures, such as those mentioned to your physician (63055-+63057, Transpedicular approach with decompression of spinal cord, equina and/or nerve root[s] [e.g., herniated intervertebral disc], single segment …) do not include an endoscopic technique and should not be used to report this type of approach.
If the provider doesn’t complete the laminectomy (hemilaminectomy) required to meet the criteria for reporting 63020-+63035 (Laminotomy [hemilaminectomy], with…
With Medicare’s invalidation of consultation codes 99241-99255 in 2010, your ICD-9 codes better prove why two MDs are necessary on the same patient’s hospital care or the physician better specify why in his note.
Separate ICD-9 codes will help substantiate the medical necessity for providing consultative services, explained Kenneth B. Simon, MD, MBA, CMS senior medical officer, in “Medicare Physician Payment Schedule 2010 Changes and Beyond” at the AMA CPT and RBRVS 2010 Annual Symposium in Chicago. If an auditor reviews your hospital code (99221-99233) documentation, different diagnoses will show why more than one physician’s E/M was necessary on the same patient. Next — what auditors WON’T be looking for …
Question: My internist decided not to put a patient on Coumadin because the patient has a higher risk of falling than from having a stroke. Our group participates in PQRI easure 33 for risk of clotting. How can I indicate performing the measure wasn’t appropriate so that the physician isn’t penalized for not prescribing the anti-blood clotting medication?
Answer: You should report the measure and append the denominator exclusion indicator 1p. This indicator shows the physician chose not to prescribe the drug due to the art of medicine, or factors that make performing the measure not clinically appropriate.
If, however, the internist prescribed Coumadin but the patient isn’t taking it because she can’t afford the medication, you instead would use 2P. Your group…
Prevent 99251-99245 denials in 2010 with this checklist.
Multiple physicians using the same hospital codes sounds like a recipe for denials, but that’s what Medicare is instructing physician inpatient consultants and care coordinators to do.
Whether carriers will kick out these submissions as coordination of care or inpatient admit limiting admit edits is contractor specific, Charles E. Haley, MD, MS, FACP, Medicare medical director for Trailblazer Health Enterprises, LLC, told the audience during the E/M session at the 2010 CPT symposium. “If come January you’re getting denials, work out the issues with your specific contractor.”
You can, however, prevent many rejections from Medicare’s invalidation of 99251-99245 by following this checklist.
√ Use Initial Hospital Day Codes on Day 1
If a physician consults a patient on his first day in the hospital, you should use an initial hospital code (99221-99223), according to Medicare’s new consultation guidelines for 2010. “Stop thinking of…
Question: A thigh lesion measures 2 cm but requires a resection down to the subcutaneous layer of 4 cm. Which lesion excision code should I use?
Answer: “You should use the larger of the subcutaneous codes,” says Albert E. Bothe, Jr, MD, FACS, with the American College of Surgeons in “Excision of Soft Tumors/Bone Tumors” on the final day of the AMA CPT and RBRVS 2010 Annual Symposium. The size of the lesion is the lesion. “The defining size is the size of the resection” or the mass that’s taken out, Bothe stressed.
If all that the surgeon takes out is the lesion, you would use the lesion size or 2 cm as the lesion excision. But if the surgeon indicates the larger size of the tissue he also has to take out, you assign…