Health Information Management

News: CMS clarifies use of signature stamps

CDI Strategies, December 11, 2008

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 By GloryanneBryant, RHIA, CCS

The use of signature stamps has been around for many years in healthcare. A CMS transmittal from May 2008 (transmittal #248, Change Request 5971) stated that CMS would no longer accept medical record documentation with physician–stamped signatures in hospice and home health environments.
 
Then, a July 29MedLearn Matters article (MLN SE0829), stated that this guidance applied to all providers and suppliers. This new guidance was partly because CMS had compliance concerns over the use of signature stamps for some time. One reason was so that HIM professionals could read the actual signature, but CMS made it clear that they will only accept handwritten, electronic signature or facsimiles of original written or electronic signatures from now on.
 
Since the MLN Matters article states all providers, there is a wide range of healthcare settings affected by this guidance (hospitals—inpatient and outpatient, physician offices, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, psych, home health and hospice, etc.). Since CDI professionals are on the front lines of reviewing physician documentation, they can get involved by starting discussions with their compliance, finance, and operations staff, as well as communicating this new requirement to clinical and nursing staff, medical staff, and physicians.
 
Editor’s Note: Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CCS, recommends implementing documentation checks in areas that previously used signature stamps in the Journal of AHIMA November-December issue.



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Comments

1 comments on “News: CMS clarifies use of signature stamps

dbray (2/22/2011 at 1:14 PM)
I do understand that signature stamps can not be used and that the signature must be handwritten or electronic. However, can a print font on a stamp be used and the doctor signs above it? I understand for this situation it should be typed or printed but my doctors are having issues with legible signatures and they are trying to come up with ideas to improve the error.

 

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