Chiropractors Must Bill Medicare

April 28, 2018

Chiropractic is one of the specialties that are required to have a contract in order to treat Medicare patients. If a chiropractor does not have a Medicare contract, they are required to refer Medicare patients to another chiropractor who does have a Medicare Contract. This is true even for chiropractic services that are non-covered by Medicare, such as maintenance care.

This rule can be found in Chapter 15 of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual in Section 40.4. It states; "the opt out law does not define "physician" to include chiropractors; therefore, they may not opt out of Medicare and provide services under private contract."
There has been a confusing notion in the chiropractic profession that chiropractors can have the patient sign an Advance Beneficiary Notice and bill the patient without being a Medicare provider. This isn't true.

The No Opt Out Rule for chiropractors in the Medicare program means a chiropractor can treat a Medicare patient either as a participating provider or a non-participating provider, but either way, the chiropractor has one of the two contracts with Medicare; a participating contract or a non-participating contract.

A Medicare participating contract means the chiropractor has physically signed a contract with Medicare, agrees to abide by all the rules of the program, bills Medicare and accepts assignment from Medicare. A Medicare non-participating contract means the chiropractor has physically signed a contract with Medicare, agrees to abide by all the rules of the program, but has a choice whether or not to accept assignment.

There is one more catch, a non-participating Medicare provider is still limited by how much the patient may be charged. There is a limiting fee schedule whereby the chiropractor may only bill the Medicare patient up to 115% of the allowed Medicare fee even if the chiropractor does not accept assignment and the patient receives payment directly from Medicare.

There is a good handout published by CMS called "Misinformation on Chiropractic Services" that covers this rule and many others. For a copy of this handout, search for it at www.cms.gov and it will be readily available. If you are unable to find it, please email bonnie@billingbuddies.com with the subject line stating; "Misinformation on Chiropractic Services" and you will receive a return copy.

Billing Buddies ® Bullet Points is brought to you by Billing Buddies. Visit us on the web at www.billingbuddies.com. I'm your host, Bonnie J. Flom. I have 34 years of medical billing experience and am a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist through the American Medical Billing Association. If you have any questions or comments, please email bonnie@billingbuddies.com or call or text 612.432.2366. Our goal at Billing Buddies is to help optimize and expedite our providers' reimbursement so they are better able to serve their clients. If you should need medical billing or training services, please contact us. Have a great day and happy billing.

 

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Replacing Modifier 59 with X-Codes

April 28, 2018

Are you still using Modifier 59? CMS replaced modifier 59 on January 1, 2015.

First, what is Modifier 59? Modifier 59 is used in medical billing to override the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits which CMS created in the first place. Some services are included or bundled into other services and should not be billed separately. However, there are circumstances where it is appropriate to bill the services separately and the 59 modifier has been used historically to tell insurance companies this is one of those circumstances.

You can find the complete details on the creation of the new codes at www.cms.gov by searching for the MLN Matters article MM8863. Please review this article in detail to gain a complete understanding of the changes.

The new modifiers used to replace the 59 modifier all begin with a letter X.

XE = Separate Encounter, A Service That Is Distinct Because It Occurred During A Separate Encounter,
XS = Separate Structure, A Service That Is Distinct Because It Was Performed On A Separate Organ/Structure,
XP = Separate Practitioner, A Service That Is Distinct Because It Was Performed By A Different Practitioner, and
XU = Unusual Non-Overlapping Service, The Use Of A Service That Is Distinct Because It Does Not Overlap Usual Components Of The Main Service.

CMS will continue to recognize the 59 modifier, but notes that Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) instructions state that the 59 modifier should not be used when a more descriptive modifier is available. While CMS will continue to recognize the 59 modifier in many circumstances, they may selectively require a more specific X modifier for billing certain codes at high risk for incorrect billing. If you haven't done so already, it would be a good time to review and adopt the X modifiers.

Billing Buddies ® Bullet Points is brought to you by Billing Buddies. Visit us on the web at www.billingbuddies.com. I'm your host, Bonnie J. Flom. I have 34 years of medical billing experience and am a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist through the American Medical Billing Association. If you have any questions or comments, please email bonnie@billingbuddies.com or call or text us at 612.432.2366. Our goal at Billing Buddies is to help optimize and expedite our providers reimbursement so they are better able to serve their clients. If you should need medical billing or training services, please contact us. Have a great day and happy billing.

 

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Effective Follow-up Processes for Medical Billing

April 25, 2018

Following-up on unpaid claims can be one of the most frustrating parts of medical billing. Follow-up really trails the old 80/20 principle. 80% of the claims get paid the first time, but the 20% that don’t get paid the first time takes 80% of your time. The trick to making follow-up more streamlined and efficient is to categorize your outstanding claims within three buckets; contract payers, non-contract payers, and self-pay balances.

Let’s start by reviewing the difference between your contract payer and non-contract payer claims. Contract payers’ claims are claims that you physically have a signed contract with the insurance carrier. Most clinics have between 6-12 signed insurance contracts. For example, a typical clinic would have a Medicare, Medicaid, BCBS and perhaps a couple HMO contracts. Whereas, if you look at any insurance payer list from a clearinghouse, you will see there are thousands of insurance companies; which tells you there are potentially dozens of non-contract insurance companies to which you may bill.

Why does this make a difference? Well, if your clinic has a signed contract with an insurance company, both the clinic and the insurance have mutual obligations to one another. The clinic has agreed to bill a claim, write-off contract adjustments and follow-up on unpaid claims. The insurance has agreed to adjudicate the claim, pay the clinic directly and respond to claim inquiries.

Now, contrast that with a non-contract insurance company. Non-contract insurance companies are not contractually obligated to pay the clinic directly or even to respond to inquiries about claim status. For example, two larger insurers that will not respond to non-contracted clinics are Medica and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Understanding the difference between contract and non-contract insurance companies is the secret to saving time in the follow-up process. Given the fact that non-contract insurance companies do not have an obligation to respond to the clinic's request for payment, the clinic is really doing courtesy billing on the patients’ behalf. So, after 30 days, if a non-contract insurance has not paid, you would be wise to bill the patient directly and save your time to follow-up on contract payers where you are contractually obligated to resolve outstanding balances.

Finally, to wrap this up, make a follow-up flow chart for each of the three buckets of outstanding claims; contract, non-contract and self-pay.

If it is a contract payer, at 30 days, call the payer or investigate the claim online. You are looking to resolve this claim as quickly as possible by determining if the balance is due from the insurance, the patient or if the clinic needs to return information. If the balance is due from the insurance, call the insurance and document the Person, Place, Phone number you called, along with the Action Needed and Action Taken. Get a commitment from the insurance to pay and add a note to your system if the balance is due from the insurance. If the balance is due from the patient, send the patient a statement and follow your self-pay flowchart. If the clinic needs to return an item, do that as fast as possible and document it.

If the balance is due from a non-contract insurance, at 30 days, send a statement to the patient and follow your self-pay flowchart.

Finally, your self-pay flow chart should have you sending no more than two regular statements to a patient and then sending a pre-collection letter and turning the claim to a collection agency. Statistics show that if a claim isn’t paid by a patient within 90 days, the likelihood of it getting collected is slim without the help of a collection agency.

Billing Buddies ® Bullet Points is brought to you by Billing Buddies. Visit our website at www.billingbuddies.com. I’m your host, Bonnie J. Flom. I have 34 years of medical billing experience and am a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist through the American Medical Billing Association. I can be reached by email at bonnie@billingbuddies.com or you can call and text me at 612.432.2366. Thank you for listening and happy billing.

 

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How to Bill Railroad Medicare

March 20, 2018

Railroad Medicare has a different carrier to submit Part B claims.  This podcast will walk you through the steps of getting your Railroad Medicare PTAN and signing up to submit your claims via EDI through your clearinghouse.

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Medical Billing - Getting the Proper Signatures on File

March 19, 2018

Many clinics understand how to complete the CMS 1500 form or submit their claims electronically.  But, many don't understand that Boxes 12 and 13 of the claim form states you indeed have the proper signatures on file to submit the claims and can produce the signatures for the insurance companies if you are asked for them.  This podcast walks you through identifying the correct verbiage needed and comparing it to your registration form to be sure you are compliant.

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Medicare Policy Numbers Changing

July 14, 2017

Are you ready for the Medicare number change?  This podcast will help you to prepare your staff and your patients.  Billing Buddies strives to help healthcare providers in billing and compliancy issues.  Our hope is the healthcare providers will pass their knowledge to coworkers and patients.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call or text the author, Bonnie at 612.432.2366.  Thank you.

Podcast Details:

Authority:  https://www.cms.gov/medicare/ssnri/

 Details:   The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires Medicare to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) The initiative will begin in April 2018 and will be complete April 2019.  New number called Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. (MBI)

Approach:  Keep your patients informed of the change to come with their Medicare policy numbers and cards.  Be prepared to start collecting new cards and identification from your patients.

 

 

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How healthy are your Accounts Receivables?

June 13, 2017

Do you know how healthy your accounts receivables are?   There is a formula to figure your "Days in A/R" or the number of days it takes you to turn your money.  Listen to our podcast and learn how to figure your Days in A/R.

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59 Modifier Replaced by X-Modifiers

May 22, 2017

This podcast reviews the MedLearn Matter MM9963 article stating the 59 modifier has been replaced with four X-codes.  The 59 modifier can still be used but only if a more specific X modifier cannot.

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Charge for your Medical Records

May 15, 2017

Why are you sending medical records for free?  There is a Federal Rule allowing you to charge.  Find out the details in our video.

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New Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN) Released March 2017

April 20, 2017

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a New Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN) in March 2017.  It's to be effective June 21, 2017.  Listen and learn more about the purpose of the form and how to complete it.

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