Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Specialties Approved for Risk Adjustment

Effective January 2012, the following CMS Physician Specialties are approved for risk adjustment submission:

  • 21   Electrophysiology
  • 23   Sports Medicine
  • C0  Sleep Medicine
CMS has indicated that they will publish a complete specialty listing soon. When the listing is published, we'll post it to the Tools section of HCCUniversity.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Coding BMI

We often receive questions about when certain conditions can be coded.  Most often, the questions are about whether or not anything (everything) a physician or physician extender writes down can be coded. Almost always, the answer is that the condition must be:
  • Documented
  • Supported by the history, physical examination or clinical condition of the patient
When it comes to secondary diagnoses, they must meet the definition of a reportable additional diagnosis per coding guidelines.  From the Coding Guidelines: "As with all other secondary diagnosis codes, the BMI and pressure ulcer stage codes should only be assigned when they meet the definition of a reportable additional diagnosis (see Section III, Reporting Additional Diagnoses)."

According to Coding Clinic, 2Q 2010 the associated diagnosis (such as overweight, obesity, or underweight) must be documented by the provider.  If no associated diagnosis is documented, then the recorded BMI cannot be coded.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Free CME for Physicians

Did you know that your can earn free category 1 Continuing Medical Education from Medicare?   The Medicare Learning Network (MLN) offers free CME for an online course in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General  (OIG).   You can get more information on their course, Avoiding Medicare Fraud and Abuse: A Roadmap for Physicians.  Learn more about it here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Update on Diagnosis Codes Instead of a Diagnosis

A couple of weeks ago, we published information on a Q 1 2012 Coding Clinic ruling on physicians using a diagnosis code in lieu of a written diagnosis.  This has led to some questions, so we wanted to provide additional information.

Coding Clinic was asked about physicians choosing a diagnosis code in an EMR vs. using a written diagnosis--but this advice applies to handwritten or dictated notes as well.  One important point that Coding Clinic made relates to something we see frequently--physicians just picking the diagnosis code and short descriptor of the code and using it as an assessment.  Coding Clinic said:

"...it is not appropriate for providers to list the code number or select a code number from a list of codes in place of a written diagnostic statement. ICD-9-CM is a statistical classification, per se, it is not a diagnosis. "  (emphasis added).

Here's an example that we see frequently as an assessment:

250.40--Diabetes with renal manifestations

As you can see, this is not a diagnosis, but a category of diseases, or in ICD-9 terms, a statistical classification.

The clinician is responsible for providing a diagnosis, so they may need to add to the short descriptor of a diagnosis code in the EMR.  For example:

250.40--Diabetes with renal manifestations - CKD 4 due to DM

This provides an actual assessment (diagnosis) of the patient's condition, that allows correct coding.

EMRs can be tremendous time savers, but physicians and clinicians must ensure that they meet coding and documentation requirements.