New Rule Helps Medicare ACOs During COVID-19 Pandemic
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released an interim final rule to remove spending associated with COVID-19 patients from performance calculations for the Medicare Shared Savings Program.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent congressional agency established to advise the U.S. Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program, had recommended that CMS modify its incentives around the COVID-19 situation.
This is good news for value-based payment models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), that incentivizes physicians, hospitals, and all healthcare providers to work in a more coordinated manner. When an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending healthcare dollars more wisely, it may share in any savings it achieves for the Medicare program.
Excerpt from CMS.gov:
Because the impact of the pandemic varies across the country, CMS is making adjustments to the financial methodology to account for COVID-19 costs so that ACOs will be treated equitably regardless of the extent to which their patient populations are affected by the pandemic. CMS is also forgoing the annual application cycle for 2021 and giving ACOs whose participation is set to end this year the option to extend for another year. ACOs that are required to increase their financial risk over the course of their current agreement period in the program will have the option to maintain their current risk level for next year, instead of being advanced automatically to the next risk level.
One common element in many value-based programs is risk adjustment using Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCCs) to create a Risk Adjustment Factor (RAF) score. This method ranks diagnoses into categories that represent conditions with similar cost patterns. Higher categories represent higher predicted healthcare costs.
Top 10 Most Over Documented HCCs:
- Conditions that have been surgically corrected (e.g., abdominal aortic aneurism)
- Diabetes with complications
- Pathological fractures (e.g., old pathological fractures reported as current)
- Pneumococcal pneumonia (e.g., unspecified pneumonia reported as pneumococcal)
- Polyneuropathy (e.g., reported as current when no treatment, evaluation, or monitoring is documented)
- Primary site cancers (e.g., indicating historical conditions as current)
- Strokes (e.g., indicating acute stroke instead of late effect of stroke)
- Vascular disease (e.g., reported as current when no treatment, evaluation or monitoring is documented)
Top 10 Most Under Documented HCCs
- Artificial openings
- Asthma and pulmonary disease
- Chronic skin ulcer
- Congestive heart failure
- Drug dependence
- Metastatic cancers
- Morbid obesity
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Specific type of major depressive disorder
Coders should familiarize themselves with the HCC payment plan as well as other risk adjusted models. Following Medicare guidelines for documenting and coding chronic conditions can not only enhance quality of care, but will also result in optimal reimbursement.
Partnering with an experienced coding consulting company can produce measurable improvements. You can expect better documentation and increased coding compliance, thus improving financial and quality indicator performance. This is the foundation for assuring overall readiness for new value- based reimbursement models.
The information contained in this post is valid at the time of posting. Viewers are encouraged to research subsequent official guidance in the areas associated with the topic as they can change rapidly.
In Part 4 of the series, we will review the NTAP procedure codes and reimbursement add-on payments. Prepare yourself as this is rather lengthy due to continuation of NTAP that would normally expire.
Coders are instructed, at this time, to follow the AHA Frequently Asked Questions Regarding ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding for COVID-19. Lately, we have seen missing PCS codes for the new technology drugs that were introduced on August 1, 2020 and thereafter.
With the creation and implementation of ICD-10-CM, multiple codes are available to describe the type of pulmonary emboli that occur.
Hypercoagulable states are blood disorders that increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis or embolic disease. The state is either inherited or acquired. About 80% of patients with blood clots have been found to have either an inherited or acquired clotting disorder. These blood clots can be lethal and some require life-long therapy. Hypercoagulable state is also known as thrombophilia.
Encephalopathy is a general term and means brain disease, brain damage or malfunction. Physicians often use encephalopathy and altered mental status interchangeably. When coders see this documentation in the healthcare records, they typically need to query the physician for clarification of the diagnosis.
Spinal procedure coding can be daunting for coders. The spine itself can be quite complicated anatomically and the procedures done to address spinal conditions can be even more complicated!
In June CMS released the final ICD-10-PCS codes for FY2022, which begins October 1, 2021. We are giving you a sneak peek at the changes. HIA will have a full educational module on these changes available later this summer.
CMS released the IPPS proposed rule on 4/27/21 outlining the proposed changes to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System for FY2022, which begins October 1, 2021. Later this year, sometime in August, CMS will release the Final Rule. Currently CMS is reviewing responses to their proposed rule and will address them in the final rule.
A medical coding audit is a process that includes internal or external reviews of medical coding and billing accuracy, procedures or policies in place, and any other component that affects the medical record documentation. Medical coding audits…
Anticoagulants and antiplatelets are used for the prevention and treatment of blood clots that occur in blood vessels. Oftentimes, anticoagulants and antiplatelets are referred to as “blood thinners,” but they don’t actually thin the blood at all. These drugs slow down the body’s process of making clots. Their main function is to keep the patient’s blood from clotting or turning into solid clumps of cells. These drugs do this by interfering with either fibrin or platelets in the blood.
Carotid artery disease is a vague category that can incorporate many different carotid artery issues. Some physicians may feel that they are being clear the patient has plaque, stenosis, or occlusion of the artery, but in ICD-10-CM the specificity must be included in the documentation.
10 ICD-10 Codes for Superheroes. Superman: T78.2XXA Anaphylactic reaction; substance: kryptonite. Batman: F44.81 Dissociative identity disorder. Robin: F60.7 dependent personality. The Hulk: L30.4 Erythema intertrigo. Wonder Woman: T24.032A Burn of unspecified degree of left lower leg. Black Panther S93.401A Sprain…
Practices have not seen many revisions to the Evaluation and Management (E/M) office / outpatient visit guidelines in three decades – until now. As of January 1, there are new E/M coding guidelines. We’ll get to those in a bit, but first let’s look at why they changed.
Pseudoseizures are a form of non-epileptic seizure. These are difficult to diagnose and oftentimes extremely difficult for the patient to comprehend. The term “pseudoseizures” is an older term that is still used today to describe psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES).
With the implementation of ICD-10-CM came different codes and coding rules for many diagnoses. One of these is the coding of bowel obstruction when the patient presents for this condition that is caused by another condition.
This is Part 5 of a five part series on the new 2021 CPT codes. For the remaining areas we will just briefly summarize the section. Due to the intricate nature of these sections in CPT, it is recommended that the coder read the entire section notes associated with the new codes.
This is Part 4 of a five part series on the new 2021 CPT codes. In this series we will explore the CPT changes in the urinary, nervous, ocular and auditory systems. There are 2 new urinary/male reproductive system codes with no revisions or deletions; 3 new female reproductive codes with 2 deletions, 0 new with 4 deleted nervous system codes with 5 revisions; 5 new eye category III codes; and finally a 2 new auditory codes with one deletion.
This is Part 3 of a five part series on the new 2021 CPT codes. In this series we will explore the cardiovascular system CPT changes. There are 5 new cardiovascular CPT codes added with 0 deletions and 4 revisions.
This is Part 2 of a five part series on the new 2021 CPT codes. In this series we will explore the CPT changes for FY2021 and include some examples to help the coder understand the new codes. There are 0 new musculoskeletal CPT codes added with 0 deletions and 2 major revisions along with an extensive update to arthroscopic loose body removal requirements. For the respiratory system, there were 2 new codes, one code deletion and no revisions.
This is Part 1 of a five part series on the new 2021 CPT codes. In this series we will explore the CPT changes for FY2021 and include examples to help the coder understand the new codes. For 2021 in general, there were 199 new CPT codes added, 54 deleted and 69 revised.
We have seen many updates and changes to COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) since the pandemic started. On January 1, 2021 we will see even more changes as outlined in this post. Also the CMS MS-DRG grouper will be updated to version 38.1 to accommodate the changes.
In the previous three parts of this four-part series, we discussed the new ICD-10-CM diagnosis code changes, ICD-10-PCS procedure code changes and FY2021 IPPS changes. In this last Part 4 of the series, we will review the NTAP procedure codes and reimbursement add-on payments for FY2021.
In the previous two parts of this four part series, we discussed the new ICD-10-CM diagnosis code changes and ICD-10-PC procedure code changes. In this session we will review the major IPPS changes for FY2021.
This is Part 2 of a 4 part series on the FY2021 ICD-10 Code and IPPS changes. In this part, the ICD-10-PCS procedure codes are presented. For FY2021 ICD-10-PCS there are 78,115 total codes (FY2020 total was 77,571); 556 new codes (734 new last year in FY2020)…
This is Part 1 of a 4 part series on the FY2021 changes to ICD-10 and the IPPS. In this part, we discuss some of the new ICD-10-CM diagnosis changes. Here is the breakdown: 72,616 total ICD-10-CM codes for FY2021; 490 new codes (2020 had 273 new codes); 58 deleted codes (2020 had 21 deleted codes); 47 revised codes (2020 had 30 revised codes)
Acute pulmonary edema is the rapid accumulation of fluid within the tissue and space around the air sacs of the lung (lung interstitium). When this fluid collects in the air sacs in the lungs it is difficult to breathe. Acute pulmonary edema occurs suddenly and is life threatening.