Health Information Management

The week in Medicare updates

APCs Insider, October 31, 2014

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CMS updates interest rate for Medicare overpayments and underpayment 
On October 14, CMS released a transmittal updating the interest rate applicable for charging interest on overpayments and paying interest on underpayments to Medicare providers. The interest rate rose from 9.625% to 10.75% for payments on or after October 20, 2014. 
Effective date: October 20, 2014
Implementation date: October 20, 2014 
View Transmittal R243FM.
 
CMS halves complex review timeframe
On October 17, CMS released a change request changing the number of days MACs and Recovery Auditors have to conduct pre- and post-payment complex reviews from 60 days to 30 days. The transmittal also addressed other review contractors related to qualifications of review staff, inter-rater reliability, and quality improvement processes 
Effective date: February 24, 2015
Implementation date: February 24, 2015 
View Transmittal R547PI.
 
CMS updates Medicare coverage of ultrasound screening
On October 17, CMS released a change request regarding coverage of ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms beyond one year following the Initial Preventive Physical Exam and screening fecal-occult blood tests ordered by non-physician practitioners. 
Effective date: January 27, 2014
Implementation date: November 18, 2014 
View Transmittal R196BP
View Transmittal R176NCD
View Transmittal R3096CP.
 
CMs makes correction to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Database 
On October 20, CMS rescinded and replaced the October update to the CY 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule to correct the Type of Service indicator for HCPCS code G0471 from "9" to  "5." All other information remains the same. 
Effective date: October 1, 2014
Implementation date: October 6, 2014 
View Transmittal R3097CP
View MLN Matters article MM8888.
 
CMS posts proposed national coverage analysis for microvolt testing
On October 23, CMS posted a proposed decision memorandum regarding the NCD on microvolt T-wave alternans (MTWA) diagnostic testing to extend coverage to the modified moving average (MMA) method. CMS' interest in MTWA testing is in the risk stratification of Medicare beneficiaries who may be at risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD). CMS proposes there is insufficient evidence to conclude the MMA method of determining MTWA improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries at risk for SCD and therefore it is not reasonable and necessary. 
View the proposed decision memorandum.
 
2015 HCPCS annual update to arrive November 3
On October 24, CMS released a change request announcing the complete HCPCS file update will be available for contractors to download November 3. The file contains existing, new, revised, and discontinued HCPCS codes for 2015. CMS also posts the HCPCS Level II file on their website. 
Effective date: January 1, 2015
Implementation date: January 5, 2015 
View Transmittal R3100CP
View HCPCS Data File Website.
 
2015 fee schedule and pricing data files will be updated November 14 
On October 24, CMS released a change request announcing the annual update to the various pricing files used by MACs to adjudicate Part B fee schedule claims will be available for download November 14. 
Effective date: January 1, 2015
Implementation date: January 5, 2015 
View Transmittal R3099CP. 
 
CMS explains uses for subsets of modifier -59
CMS recently released an article related to a prior transmittal establishing four new HCPCS modifiers to define subsets of the modifier -59 (distinct procedural service). Beginning on January 1, 2015, providers can use the -X modifiers if they are currently using modifier -59 for a reason within the published definition of the -X modifiers. Providers also have the option to continue using modifier -59 until CMS issues examples of circumstances in which the -X modifiers are or are not appropriate. Additional direction on the use of the specific modifiers will be published. 
View MLN Matters article MM8863.
 
Medicare Quarterly Provider Compliance Newsletter educational tool released
The “Medicare Quarterly Provider Compliance Newsletter [Volume 5, Issue 1]” is now available in downloadable format. This educational tool is designed to provide education on how to avoid common billing errors and other erroneous activities when dealing with the Medicare Program. It includes guidance to help healthcare professionals address and avoid the top issues of the particular Quarter. 
View the newsletter.



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