Health Information Management

Tip: Distinguish between routine, non-routine nursing supplies

APCs Insider, May 11, 2012

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Not everything kept in stock for nursing floors is a routine item.

Bulk items, such as alcohol preparations, iodine swabs, and gloves, are routine items because nurses use them with every patient. For this reason, and because these items generally are not noted on patient charts, facilities may not separately bill for them.

However, other supplies—some of which may even occupy the same shelf in the supply closet—may not be routine items. Non-routine items, such as Foley catheters and IV solutions, are on the shelf for easy access. They are not used for every patient, and they are separately identifiable to specific patients. Consequently, facilities may bill inpatients for them.

Nursing staff and other hospital personnel keep these non-routine items on hand to ensure they’re readily available when a physician writes an order. This facilitates quick retrieval and eliminates waiting for items to arrive from central supply or another department.

The tip is adapted from “Determine when to charge inpatient supplies separately” in the April Briefings on APCs

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