Health Information Management

Tip: Know the general definiation of 'immediately available' for physician supervision

APCs Insider, September 4, 2009

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In its 2010 OPPS proposed rule, CMS acknowledges never having specifically defined “immediately available” for direct supervision with respect to either time or distance.

However, CMS states that the general definition of “immediate” is “without interval of time.” Therefore, supervisory physicians or NPPs are not immediately available while performing other procedures or services that they can’t interrupt.

CMS includes specific discussion about the availability and responsibilities of physicians or NPPs providing direct supervision. According to the proposed rule:

The physician or nonphysician practitioner must be prepared to step in and perform the service, not just to respond to an emergency. This includes the ability to take over performance of a procedure and, as appropriate to both the supervisory physician or nonphysician practitioner and the patient, to change a procedure or the course of treatment being provided to a particular patient. (see 74 Federal Register 35367)

This tip was adapted from the article “2010 OPPS proposed rule: CMS proposes more changes to physician supervision requirements” in the September issue of  Briefings on APCs.



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