Clarifying the Coding for Splint and Cast Application by Nonphysicians

Q: I would like clarification on an article I read in The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine (JUCM) online archive. The article, Splint and Cast Application Performed by Someone Other than Physician, referenced that nonphysician staff could bill for splint and cast application. Will you please expand on the references and confirm that we can bill for splint and cast application if it is done by someone on staff other than the physician?   A: …

Read More

New Medicare Cards

Q: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) started issuing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries in April of this year. What do I need to know about these changes to limit disruption to my patients and medical practice? A: CMS is required to issue new Medicare cards as a part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, which mandates that CMS remove Social Security Numbers (SSN) from all Medicare cards …

Read More
Reduction in Reimbursements for Modifier -25

Reduction in Reimbursements for Modifier -25

Q: Last fall, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield sent a notice to physicians in several states regarding their intent to reduce reimbursement rates on any evaluation and management (E/M) services billed with modifier -25, “significant, separately identifiable E/M,” by 50% effective January 1, 2018. What are the implications for urgent care? A: This announcement initially spurred action from the California Medical Association (CMA) to coordinate with the American Medical Association (AMA), as well as other …

Read More

The Incidentals of ‘Incident-to’ Billing

Q: I plan to hire physician assistants and other nonphysician providers in my urgent care clinic. I understand that I can use “incident to” billing to have their patient visits reimbursed at the physician rate. What are the rules for “incident-to” billing? A: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) defines “incident to” as “those services that are furnished incident to physician professional services in the physician’s office (whether located in a separate office …

Read More
Turning Patient Accounts Over to a Collection Agency—the Right Way

Turning Patient Accounts Over to a Collection Agency—the Right Way

Q: Should patient accounts ever get turned over to a collection agency? A: The altruistic nature of running an urgent care center—to serve the public—can make it difficult to send patient accounts to collection, but it must be done if you want your center to survive. Some urgent care centers choose to leave patient balances in their billing systems indefinitely, but this puts a serious burden on the business by creating additional statement costs, wreaking …

Read More
Get the Most Out of Providing Medicare Wellness Exams

Get the Most Out of Providing Medicare Wellness Exams

Q: Are there specific requirements for Medicare wellness exams and who can perform them? A: Medicare offers an initial preventive physical examination (IPPE), which is also known as the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit or the annual wellness visit (AWV). Either a physician (a doctor of medicine or osteopathy) or a qualified nonphysician practitioner (a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or certified clinical nurse specialist) can provide the services. The IPPE is a one-time initial examination …

Read More
2018 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Code Changes

2018 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Code Changes

There are 314 code changes in the CPT manual for 2018, with 172 new codes, 60 revised codes, and 82 deleted codes. Most of the changes affect surgery procedures, but the updates include several changes that are relevant to urgent care. For your convenience, we have listed these changes in expected relevance to urgent care: Radiology Codes for x-rays of the chest and abdomen have been deleted and replaced with codes based on the number …

Read More
Understanding Case-Rate Reimbursement

Understanding Case-Rate Reimbursement

Q: What is case-rate reimbursement, and how does it work in the urgent care sector? A: Case rate, sometimes called flat rate, describes a reimbursement structure in which providers receive a flat reimbursement rate for every patient visit, no matter what service they provide. Case-rate reimbursement means that the urgent care is contracted with the payor to receive the same reimbursement regardless of the acuity of care, whether it’s the treatment of a hangnail or …

Read More

New Flu Vaccine Codes—and an Update on Proposed Changes to the E/M Guidelines

Q: Do you have information on the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine codes? A: The American Medical Association (AMA) recently published a list of new and revised vaccine codes on their website (https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/default/files/media-browser/public/cpt/vaccine-long-desc-july-2017.pdf). These codes will be published in the 2018 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) manual. The two new influenza vaccines on the list are: 90682, “Influenza virus vaccine, quadrivalent (RIV4), derived from recombinant DNA, hemagglutinin (HA) protein only, preservative and antibiotic free, for intramuscular use” 90756, …

Read More

Maximize Revenue for Nebulizer Treatments

Q: What can we bill for when we give a patient a nebulizer treatment for an acute airway obstruction during an exacerbation of asthma, or wheezing due to an upper respiratory ailment? A: You can bill for the service and the medication. However, depending on the payer rules, the medication might be bundled into the service. Time is a factor when billing the service. If the treatment is less than 1 hour, you would bill …

Read More