Posts Tagged RHC


Do You Understand the New Medicare Transitional Care Management Service Codes?

Effective January 1, 2013, Medicare and other payers will pay for two new CPT codes (99495 and 99496) that are used to report physician or qualifying non-physician practitioner transitional care management (TCM) service for patients, following a discharge from a:

  • Hospital
  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
  • Community Mental Health Center (CMHC)
  • Outpatient observation
  • Partial hospitalization

Using Transitional Health Codes in Your Practice

and including a transition to:

  • Home
  • Domiciliary
  • Rest Home
  • Assisted Living

These two codes require the medical decision-making to be of moderate to high complexity. Each code encompasses one face-to-face visit and non face-to-face services, for instance, arranging home health agencies for patient care.

Codes are selected based on medical decision-making associated with the patient’s condition, the time when the communication is initiated with the patient, and the time when the face-to-face encounter occurs following discharge. The first face-to-face encounter is included. The codes may be reported only once per 30 calendar days. See the full code description at the end of this article.


Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Medical Coding Education, Medicare & Reimbursement, Medicare This Week

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Collections Basics – Part 1: Know Your Payers

In a traditional healthcare setting, the revenue cycle begins with the insurance companies who pay the majority of the bill. There are multitudes of payers and each payer can have many plans.  How can a healthcare organization catalog this information, keep this information updated and make this information easily accessible to staff so they can discuss payments with patients in an informed and confident way?

Start by breaking your payers into five main categories as a logical way to organize the data.

  1. Payers with whom you have a contract
  2. Payers with whom you do not have a contract
  3. State and Federal government payers (Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare)
  4. Medicare Advantage payers
  5. Patients

Payers with whom you have a contract

Your organization has signed a contract with a payer and you have agreed to accept a discounted fee called an allowable, and to abide by their rules.  What is the information you need to collect?

  • A copy of the contract
  • A detailed fee schedule, or a basis for the fees, such as “150% of the 2008 Medicare fee schedule.”
  • Any information about the fees being increased periodically based on economic indicators, or rules (notification, timeline, appeals) on how the payer can change the fee schedule.
  • The process and a contact name for appealing incorrect payments.
  • Information on what can be collected at time of service.  Hopefully your contract does not have any language that prohibits collections at time of service, but you must know what the contract states.
  • Process for checking on patients’ eligibility and benefits: representative by phone, interactive voice response (IVR), website or third-party access.


Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Finance, Innovation

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Robert Anthony from CMS Takes Questions on Stage One Meaningful Use in PhysiciansPractice Webinar

Today, PhysiciansPractice sponsored a webinar with CMS’s Robert Anthony on the topic of “Meaningful Use Stage 1.” Robert Anthony is a Health Insurance Specialist in the Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), where he focuses on the EHR Incentive Programs. Robert had a very pleasant voice to listen to, and he gets my vote for the best CMS Employee Speaker that I’ve heard!

I was not familiar with the OESS before, so I looked it up and found out what they do: Provide the overall leadership for and coordinate the implementation of Title IV of the HITECH Act. (Title IV = Medicare and Medicaid Health Information Technology)

Robert briefly reviewed what has happened to date with the EHR Incentive Program and the terms of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The three main differences in the two programs are:

  1. The types of providers that are eligible for each program – information here.
  2. The volume of each type of patient needed to participate: no volume needed to participate in the Medicare program and 30% Medicaid patients for all eligible practitioners except pediatricians who only need 20% Medicaid patients.
  3. The tasks in year one in which the certified EHR is adopted. For Medicaid the practice only needs to attest that they have adopted, implemented or upgraded an EHR. In year one for Medicare the practice needs to attest to meaningful use for 90 days, which means data is collected and input into the attestation system.

The majority of the webinar was devoted to FAQs (my favorite part of any CMS-related education session!)


Q: Can entities participate in the Medicare EHR Demonstration Project, and the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive programs too?

A: Yes. The demonstration projects are about to be sunsetted (completed.)

Q: What information must be provided to patients to meet the requirement for a clinical summary at the end of each visit?

A: If system is certified, it will automatically provide the appropriate information for the clinical summary, which includes the patient’s problem list, medication list, medication allergy list, and diagnostic test results.

Robert suggested looking at the answer online at the CMS FAQ which I posted below:

In our final rule, we defined “clinical summary” as: an after-visit summary that provides a patient with relevant and actionable information and instructions containing, but not limited to, the patient name, provider’s office contact information, date and location of visit, an updated medication list, updated vitals, reason(s) for visit, procedures and other instructions based on clinical discussions that took place during the office visit, any updates to a problem list, immunizations or medications administered during visit, summary of topics covered/considered during visit, time and location of next appointment/testing if scheduled, or a recommended appointment time if not scheduled, list of other appointments and tests that the patient needs to schedule with contact information, recommended patient decision aids, laboratory and other diagnostic test orders, test/laboratory results (if received before 24 hours after visit), and symptoms.

The EP must include all of the above that can be populated into the clinical summary by certified EHR technology. If the EP’s certified EHR technology cannot populate all of the above fields, then at a minimum the EP must provide in a clinical summary the data elements for which all EHR technology is certified for the purposes of this program (according to §170.304(h)):

  • Problem List
  • Diagnostic Test Results
  • Medication List
  • Medication Allergy List

Q: How and when are incentive payments made?

A: After the online attestation is made (attestation thresholds must be attained), provider information is verified, then in 6 to 8 weeks a payment is generated. Payments are made in whatever way the entity typically gets CMS payments.

Q: What if patients do not routinely receive prescriptions during an office visit? How can the threshold be met? (Referring to computerized provider order entry (CPOE) for medication orders.)

A: For attestation, practices need to do this for 30% or more of all unique patients with at least one medication in their medication list. Note that patients with no medications in their medication list are excluded, so CMS believes this core initiative is realistic.

Q: For the Medicaid program, do you count the patient visit or the number of services (e.g. patient visit plus two tests equals three patient ticks) during the visit?

A: This question needs follow-up and if you send an email to, they will be sent to CMS for the answer. Here is additional information from the CMS FAQ:

When calculating Medicaid patient volume or needy patient volume for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, are eligible professionals (EPs) required to use visits, or unique patients?

There are multiple definitions of encounter in terms of how it applies to the various requirements for patient volume.  Generally stated, a patient encounter is any one day where Medicaid paid for all or part of the service or Medicaid paid the co-pays, cost-sharing, or premiums for the service.  The requirements differ for EPs and hospitals.  In general, the same concept applies to needy individuals.  Please contact your State Medicaid agency for more information on which types of encounters qualify as Medicaid/needy individual patient volume.

Q: We are a new practice and plan on getting an EMR in the next 3 months. Can you walk me through the time lines?

A: If you haven’t chosen an EMR yet, your first year in either program will probably be 2012. In the first year of Medicare participation, you will need to use the EMR meaningfully for 90 days during calendar year 2012, and you have up to 60 days after the close of the calendar year to attest to your use. In the first year of Medicaid participation, you will need to adopt (acquire, install), implement (commence utilization of EHR such as train, data entry), or upgrade (expand) a certified EHR and attest to your activity at any time during the calendar year.

Q: What validation or oversight will CMS provide for the attestation process?

A: Before any payment is made, checks of provider eligibility and information will be done. Keep in mind that attestation is a legal process. Random audits will be put in place in the near future.

Q: Should a practice register if we don’t know which program we are going to use?

A: You can register at any time, and you can change from one program to the other prior to attesting, so you can register for one program and change before you begin the attestation.

Q: If your first year of attestation is in 2012, can you get the full 44K over the course of the program?

A: Yes.

Q: Can you verify if Physician Assistants are eligible for one of the programs?

A: Physician Assistants (PAs) are only eligible under the Medicaid program and must be the lead provider for a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or Rural Health Clinic (RHC) to qualify.

Q: Does a radiology practice have to provide a clinical summary for patients?

A: No practice type is excluded from clinical summary mandate. CMS has not heard of any practice type having a problem with this so far. Remember, to achieve meaningful use, you must provide clinical summaries to patients for more than 50 percent of office visits within three business days. Exclusion: Any EP who has no office visits during the period of EHR reporting.

Q: Is the problem list supposed to be related to the chief compliant of the office visit?

A: Not necessarily. Practices are required to maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses based on ICD-9-CM or SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms) codes. To comply, at least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by eligible providers must have at least one entry (or an indication of none) recorded as structured data.

Q: What if questions were not able to be answered during the webinar?

A: Please e-mail Physicians Practice and we’ll get your answers from CMS. This could take several days, so please be patient. We will post your answers and all post-webinar questions at and notify you via e-mail as well.


A great list of additional resources were provided by Robert Anthony and Physicians Practice:

Resources from CMS

Resources from


Other Posts I have written on this topic:

Step by Step Directions for Getting the EHR Incentive Money: My Notes From Last Week’s CMS Call

CMS Holds National Provider Calls for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and EHR Attestation Q & A

Digging Into the Details of “Certified EMR” & Tips For Buying an EMR

How Do You Get That Stimulus Money for Using an Electronic Medical Record? (You Register!)

How My Practice Knew We Were Ready for EMR

10 Ways to Get More Out of Your PM, EMR or Any Medical Software

Posted in: Electronic Medical Records, Medicare & Reimbursement

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My Notes on Today’s CMS Call on the Initial Preventive Physical Exam (Not a Physical Exam) and the Annual Wellness Visit

Today’s CMS call reviewed the guidelines for the IPPE (Initial Preventive Physical Exam) and the AWV (Annual Wellness Visit), what they include and how to code for them.

What is the IPPE (also called the “Welcome to Medicare Visit”)?

The IPPE is a one-time visit, covered within 12 months after the effective date of Part B coverage and including:

  • Review of medical and social history.
  • Review of risk factors for depression.
  • Review of functional ability and level of safety.
  • Measurement of height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, visual acuity, and other factors deemed appropriate.
  • Discussion of end-of-life planning, if agreed upon by the patient.
  • Education, counseling and referrals based on results of review and evaluation services performed during the visit, including a brief written plan such as a checklist, and if appropriate, education, counseling and referral for obtaining an electrocardiogram (a/k/a EKG, ECG).
  • Note that although the IPPE has the word “exam” in it, there is NO physical exam associated with it. Most practices attempt to call it the Welcome to Medicare Visit and try never to use the word “exam” in association with it.

Who can provide the IPPE?

  • Physician (doctor of medicine or osteopathy)
  • Qualified non-physician practitioner including nurse practitioner physician assistant or Clinical nurse specialist

How is the IPPE Billed?


Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Compliance, Day-to-Day Operations, Medicare & Reimbursement

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Step by Step Directions for Getting the EHR Incentive Money: My Notes From Last Week’s CMS Call

First the facts on what has taken place so far in the 2011 EHR Incentive Programs.

  • As of June 30th, the total of Medicare EHR Incentive Program payments is over $94 million.
  • As of June 30th, over $166 million has been paid in Medicaid EHR incentives since the program began in January.  In May and June, four states launched Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs – Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, bringing the total states with Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to 21.  More states will launch in July.
  • There are 68,001 active registrations of eligible professionals and eligible hospitals for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

If your group hasn’t received a check and hasn’t registered for the Medicare or Medicaid Incentive Program, then this blog post is for you! For anyone who is really just beginning their EHR journey, today’s presentation clarified previous information given by CMS, as well as giving listeners new information about the programs.


Posted in: Electronic Medical Records, Medicare & Reimbursement, PECOS

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The Dog Days of PECOS: CMS Publishes the Short Form (Paper) for PECOS, plus Consultant David Zetter Walks You Through It Online

NOTE: The date has been changed to July 5, 2011 has been delayed indefinitely.


Many managers have told me they know their providers are in PECOS but they’re not on the list OR they never enrolled their providers but they are on the list OR they’ve sent their paperwork and have not heard back for 2, 4, 6 weeks – should they be worried?  The CMS website says “It is possible that it could take 45-60 days, sometimes longer, for Medicare enrollment contractors to process enrollment applications,” so I guess we all need to chill out a little.

The massive undertaking of qualifying every single healthcare professional who refers/orders or provides medical services to Medicare patients in order to sift out those who would lie about providing goods and services is fraught with confusion, miscommunication and misunderstanding.  That’s okay, though, because CMS says no checks for services or goods will be withheld due to providers not being listed in PECOS, at this time. They know it’s a mess and it will take quite a while to get everyone straightened out, on the list and able to get checks from CMS if and only if their name is on the list.

Below is the CMS fact sheet published last week.

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)

Image via Wikipedia

Medicare Enrollment Guidance for Physicians that Infrequently Receive Reimbursement from the Medicare Program

Traditionally, most physicians have enrolled in the Medicare program to furnish covered services to Medicare beneficiaries.  However, with the implementation of Section 6405 of the Affordable Care Act, some physicians will need to enroll in the Medicare program for the sole purpose of certifying or ordering services for Medicare beneficiaries. These physicians do not send claims to a Medicare contractor for the services they furnish.

In the process of implementing the provisions contained in the Affordable Care Act, we have become aware of several unique enrollment issues for certain types of physicians or practitioners. Specifically, we have modified the process of enrollment to accommodate the special circumstances of the following individual physicians and practitioners:

  • Physicians employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Physicians employed by the Public Health Service
  • Physicians employed by the Department of Defense Tricare program
  • Physicians employed by Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) or Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
  • Physicians in a Fellowship
  • Dentists, including oral surgeons

This document provides guidance to those practitioners.

Q: How can I verify whether I am already enrolled in PECOS?

A: If a physician is concerned or uncertain about whether s/he is actually enrolled in the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS), s/he can  review the Ordering and Referring file found in the download section of the “OrderingReferringReport” tab (click here) on the Medicare Provider and Supplier Web Site.

Providers and suppliers can check with the ordering or referring physician to see if the physician is currently seeing Medicare patients and the physician’s claims are being paid. Until we advise otherwise, your orders and referrals will not be rejected due to the lack of an approved enrollment record in PECOS.

Q: I am a physician employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense Tricare program, by the Public Health Service, an FQHC, an RHC, or a CAH.  Do I need to enroll in PECOS to order and refer items or services for Medicare beneficiaries?

A: Yes, but we have abbreviated the enrollment process and documents for physicians employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Public Health Service, the Department of Defense Tricare program, an FQHC, an RHC, or a CAH. However, because this is a unique solution to enrollment for a specific set of physicians, our systems will not accommodate the abbreviated forms on-line. Therefore, any physician employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Public Health Service, the Department of Defense Tricare program, an FQHC, an RHC, or a CAH, who is not already enrolled in PECOS, must use the paper enrollment application process
and do the following:

Complete the following sections of the paper CMS-855I, “Medicare Enrollment Application for Physicians and Non-Physician Practitioners” and mail the completed form to the designated Medicare enrollment contractor:

  • Section 1  Basic Information (they would be a new enrollee)
  • Section 2  Identifying Information (section 2A, 2B, 2D and if appropriate 2H and 2K)
  • Section 3  Final Adverse Actions/Convictions
  • Section 4C/4E  Practice Location Information (same as section 2B)
  • Section 13  Contact Person
  • Section 15  Certification Statement (must be signed and dated””blue ink recommended)
  • Section 17  Supporting Documentation (cover letter stating the provider is only enrolling to order and refer services to a beneficiary)

Note: Physicians who are employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Public Health Service, the Department of Defense Tricare program, an RHC, FQHC, or CAH are not required to include the Electronic Funds Authorization Agreement (CMS-588) or the Medicare Physician and Supplier Agreement (CMS-460) with the enrollment form.

Q: I am a  physician in a fellowship program.  Do I need to enroll in PECOS?

A: If you are a physician in a fellowship, and licensed in the State, you can enroll in Medicare for the sole purpose of ordering or referring items or services for Medicare beneficiaries. To enroll as a “referring and ordering physician-only” you would need to complete the abbreviated enrollment application form in the same way as other physicians (VA, DoD, PHS, FQHC, RHC CAH) who are enrolling to order and refer only (see previous question.) If you elect to enroll to order and refer only, you would not be enrolled in Medicare for the purpose of providing Medicare services to Medicare beneficiaries. In order to provide covered services to Medicare beneficiaries, a physician would need to complete the full enrollment application either on-line or in hard copy.

Q: I am an Oral Surgeon or Dentist. How do I Enroll in PECOS?

A: Dentists, including oral surgeons, must enroll in the Medicare program to receive reimbursement for services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries or to order covered items or services for Medicare beneficiaries. Oral surgeons would complete the same paper forms, or on-line application, as any other practitioner enrolling in PECOS.
If you elect to enroll as a “referring and ordering physician-only”, you would need to complete the abbreviated enrollment application form in the same way as other physicians (VA, DoD, PHS, FQHC, RHC CAH) who are enrolling to order and refer only (see previous two questions.)  If you elect to enroll to order and refer only, you would not be enrolled in Medicare for the purpose of providing Medicare services to Medicare beneficiaries.

In order to provide covered services to Medicare beneficiaries, a dentist, including oral surgeons, would need to complete the full enrollment application either on-line or in hard copy.

Note:  In completing the enrollment application portion dealing with specialty, oral surgeons would check the “oral surgery (dentist only)” box found in section 2 of the Medicare enrollment application and any other dentist would check the box titled, “Undefined Physician Type” and specify that they are a dentist in the space provided.  In the near future, we will revise the Medicare enrollment application to add “Dentist” as a physician specialty.

Internet-based PECOS

Physicians and practitioners who are employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Defense Department, the Public Health Service, an RHC, FQHC, or CAH must complete the paper enrollment application that has been modified and shortened to accommodate the special situation of these professionals. All other physicians and practitioners who furnish services to Medicare beneficiaries must enroll in the Medicare program to receive reimbursement and order/refer in the Medicare program.  For those physicians and practitioners using the on-line process, we have developed a document that will help you through the PECOS enrollment process.   It will be easier to complete the process if you review this document before you begin the enrollment process.

  • The document titled, “Internet-based PECOS — Getting Started Guide for Physicians and Non-Physician Practitioners” can be found here.
  • Although you are permitted to complete your enrollment application in hard copy, it will be easier and quicker if you use the Internet-based Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) to complete the Medicare enrollment process.  The Internet-based PECOS application is completed via the web here.
  • After submitting an enrollment application via Internet-based PECOS, you must:
    • Print, sign and date (blue ink recommend) the Certification Statement(s), and
    • Mail the Certification Statement(s) and applicable supporting documentation to the designated Medicare contractor (no later than 7 days after you complete the online portion.)
    • NOTE: The Medicare contractor will not be able to begin to process your enrollment application until it receives a signed and dated Certification Statement.


Additional Medicare Enrollment Information

To ask a provider enrollment question, contact the Medicare contractor for your State. Medicare provider enrollment contact information for each State can be found here.

To report Internet-based PECOS navigation, access, or printing problem with Internet-based PECOS, contact the EUS Help Desk at 1-866-484-8049 or send an e-mail to the EUS Help Desk to

For additional information regarding the Medicare enrollment process, visit the website here. Of course, if you have any additional questions about the Medicare enrollment process, you can contact the designated Medicare contractor for your state.


If you haven’t started yet but plan to use the online process to enroll your providers or yourself, here’s a really excellent SlideShare presentation by David Zetter that steps you through the enrollment process by showing screen shots of each step.  You can contact David Zetter here.

PECOS Enrollment Process 

Posted in: Medicare & Reimbursement, PECOS

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ARRA Eligible Providers: Who Is Eligible to Receive Stimulus Money and How Much is Available Per Provider?

Note: read my latest post on getting the EHR Incentives here.

Medicare Definition of Eligible Provider (EP)

For Medicare, physicians and some hospitals are eligible providers. “Physicians” includes doctors of medicine (MD) or osteopathy (DO), dentists or dental surgeons (DDS or DMD), podiatric medicine (DPM), and optometry (OD) and chiropractors (DC).

For providers, their annual payment will be equal to 75 percent of Medicare allowable charges for covered services in a year, not to exceed the incentives in the table below.  Payments will be made as additions to claims payments.

Hospitals include quick-care hospitals (subsection-d) and critical access hospitals  and only includes hospitals in the 50 States or the District of Columbia.

Medicaid Definition of Eligible Provider (EP)

Medicaid takes the Medicare definition of eligible providers (physicians) and adds nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants, however, physician assistants are only eligible when they are employed at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) or rural health clinic (RHC) that is led by a Physician Assistant.  Eligible hospitals include quick care hospitals and children’s hospitals.

At minimum, 30 percent of an EP’s patient encounters must be attributable to Medicaid over any continuous 90-day period within the most recent calendar year. For pediatricians, however, this threshold is lowered to 20 percent.

The first year of payment the Medicaid provider must demonstrate that he is engaged in efforts to adopt, implement, or upgrade certified EHR technology.  For years of payment after year 1, the Medicaid provider must demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

Change 1:

The  definition of “hospital-based physician” was recently clarified to include physicians working in hospital outpatient clinics (employed physicians) as opposed to the inpatient units, surgery suites or emergency departments.  This still excludes pathologists, anesthesiologists, ER physicians, hospitalists and others who see most of their patients in the ER as outpatients or as hospital inpatients.

Possible Change 2:

The Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act of 2010 (HR 5040)  is a bill in the US Congress originating in the House of Representatives that would amend the Public Health Service Act and the Social Security Act to extend health information technology assistance eligibility to behavioral health, mental health, and substance abuse professionals and facilities, and for other purposes.  You can track the bill here.

For more information on stimulus money for meaningful use of an EMR, read my post here.

Posted in: Electronic Medical Records, Headlines, Medicare & Reimbursement

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