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Coding Corner: Physician/patient meet-and-greet

CPR’s “Coding Corner” focuses on coding, compliance, and documentation issues relating specifically to physician billing. This month’s tip comes from G. John Verhovshek, the managing editor for AAPC, a training and credentialing association for the business side of health care. Potential patients sometimes ask to meet with a provider prior to needing health care to be sure that the patient/provider relationship will be a good fit. For example, it’s common for expectant parents to “interview” obstetricians and pediatricians. The reality is, time equals money, and physicians’ time is in demand. As ...

DHCS loads 2019 CPT Codes and Pricing by January 1

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has confirmed that the 2019 CPT/HCPCS updates have been loaded to the Medi-Cal system and were effective January 1, 2019.  Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issues new, updated and terminated CPT and HCPCS codes. However, in past years it has taken DHCS up to 10 months to update its system with the new or updated codes and pricing. This has caused unnecessary delays and denials in payment not only on Medi-Cal fee-for-service claims, but also for many ...

Medi-Cal provider enrollment moving exclusively to PAVE starting March 5

The Medi-Cal Provider Enrollment Division (PED) recently announced that it will no longer accept paper enrollment forms, effective March 5, 2019. Medi-Cal enrollment applications and forms will move entirely to the e-form application process through the California Department of Health Care Services’ (DHCS) Provider Application and Validation for Enrollment (PAVE) portal.  While PAVE was anticipated to eventually replace the paper application process, DHCS moved swiftly to eliminate the paper option for providers after the September PAVE update (3.0). Prior to the announcement, PED did seek feedback from stakeholders including the ...

CMA recoups $29 million on behalf of physician members

California physicians have a powerful ally when it comes to dealing with problematic payors—the California Medical Association (CMA) Center for Economic Services (CES). Staffed by practice management experts with a combined experience of more than 125 years in medical practice operations, the CES team has recovered $29 million from payors on behalf of its physician members over the past 10 years. In 2018, CES had a record year, recovering nearly $11 million from payors on behalf of physician members, up from $3 million in 2017. This is money that would ...

Coding Corner: Separate reporting of pre-intra- and post-procedure work

“Coding Corner” focuses on coding, compliance, and documentation issues relating specifically to physician billing. This month’s tip comes from G. John Verhovshek, the managing editor for AAPC, a training and credentialing association for the business side of health care. The global surgical package includes all “necessary services normally furnished” by a provider “before, during, and after a procedure,” as defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS). When a provider is responsible for only a portion of the global package (e.g., an emergency department physician initiates fracture care, ...

Some Medi-Cal managed care plans slow to distribute Prop 56 funds

In May, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) distributed the Proposition 56 supplemental funds for FY 2017-2018 to the Medi-Cal managed care plans. At the California Medical Association’s request, DHCS specified that plans must distribute the funds to providers within 90 days. However, the 90-day window ended August 31 and CMA has received complaints from physicians that some plans have still not issued supplemental payments. The supplemental payments are a result of the California Health Care, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Prop 56), which created ...

What you need to know about Blue Shield of California's Care1st integration

On January 1, 2019, Blue Shield of California will complete the integration of Care1st Health Plan into its operations, and Care1st’s name will change to Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. The newly renamed health plan will remain a separate company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Shield of California. Care1st physicians serving Medicare Advantage HMO, Medi-Cal or Cal MediConnect members will not need to contract with Blue Shield of California to continue providing services, and participating physicians will receive a mailed contract amendment later this year that ...

CMA proposes site-neutral payments for some physician services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed eliminating the Medicare site of service payment differential for physician services. Under the proposed policy, Medicare would pay the same amount for office visit services provided by physicians in “off-campus” hospital outpatient departments as it would for the same office visit service provided in a physician’s office. Currently, Medicare pays a “facility fee” that results in a much higher rate for the same service when performed in outpatient clinics owned by hospitals, rather than in a physician’s office. For example, ...

CMA pushes back on CMS' proposed Medicare payment changes

The California Medical Association (CMA) recently submitted comprehensive comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and MACRA Quality Payment Program rule. CMA is supporting CMS’s proposal to substantially reduce the Evaluation and Management (E/M) documentation requirements because it would reduce note bloat, improve workflow, and allow physicians to devote more time to their patients. However, CMA is strongly opposed to the proposal to restructure payment and coding for (E/M) office visits by collapsing the codes from five to two for ...

Coding Corner: CPT reporting for preventive medicine services

CPR’s “Coding Corner” focuses on coding, compliance, and documentation issues relating specifically to physician billing. This month’s tip comes from John Verhovshek, the managing editor for AAPC, a training and credentialing association for the business side of health care. Preventive medicine services, or “well visits,” are evaluation and management (E/M) services provided to a patient without a chief complaint. The reason for the visit is not an illness or injury (or signs or symptoms of an illness or injury), but rather to evaluate the patient’s overall health, and to identify ...