A recent OIG enforcement action emphasizes the need to understand the proper use of units. A healthcare provider in Connecticut submitted multiple units for urine drug screening tests. The press release stated that "Urine drug screening tests use a single sample of a patient’s urine to test for multiple classes of drugs. Although the test screens a patient’s urine for multiple classes of drugs, Medicare considers it a single test that should be billed only once per patient encounter."
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires coverage of certain essential health benefits (EHBs), two of which are rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices. Since the ACA did not define these terms or specify coverage requirements, it is left up to individual states to create benchmark plans to determine coverage requirements. As of January 1, 2018, there are two informational modifiers which should be used when reporting these two different types of services.
On February 9, 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 was signed into law. There were some changes which will affect Medicare payments. The following is a brief summary, for a more comprehensive summary see the References.
Anthems original plan was to take a 50% reduction when providers reported claims using modifier 25, it was then lowered to a 25% reduction and has now been fully rescinded, to the relief of providers. The policy was to go into effect March 1, 2018, however, due to strong opposition from the American Medical Association and other groups Anthem decided it was not in the best interest between payers and providers.
Whenever there is a high-cost item, CMS has historically evaluated usage to determine appropriateness of billing and this is another example. A Decision Memo was released on February 15, 2018 which included the following changes:
There were 13 new modifiers released in 2018, be sure you are using them if appropriate. The five new HCPCS modifiers or the "X" modifiers are used for voluntary reporting and do not change the meaning of the procedure being reported. These are used for MACRA patient relationship categories and codes.