There has been some confusion around updates related to the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) codes. Changes affecting GCS, though not clearly explicit but certainly significant, were made in the recent updates to the FY2021 ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting.
With multiple accounts of a lack of clarity around these changes, there have been discussions of additional specific guidance to be offered in the future, though no specifics given. Essentially, the revised guideline is designed to prohibit GCS reporting in non-trauma.
The federally declared public health emergency (PHE), set to expire on October 23, was renewed and will remain due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The more relaxed regulatory rules regarding Medicare and Medicaid compliance associated with the PHE is no more, as healthcare provider’s ramp up preparedness with focus on internal processes.
In the early stages of the pandemic, CMS guidance indicated that a provider's documentation was sufficient to receive reimbursement from payers. The 20‐percent higher Medicare reimbursement for inpatient COVID treatment and a positive test result was not necessary. However, effective September 1, 2020, CMS has enlisted a mandate requiring hospitals to have positive COVID‐19 laboratory tests in patients' records to qualify for Medicare's 20‐percent add‐on payment. Suffice it to say, ensuring appropriate reimbursement for COVID-19 claims require careful management and attention to detail.
Find Official Guidance with COVID-19 Resource List: To Help You Stay Current on Updates while Looking Ahead to a Forward Motion Plan.
Though the response has been swift, when the virus first emerged, there were no specific codes or guidelines set and no process to document testing accurately. We now have designated diagnoses codes and guidelines for COVID-19, but bringing coding teams up to speed will require diligence. The COVID-19 billing considerations are even more complex.
Avoid Potential Impact on COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement: Following Guidelines for Consistent Coding of Inpatient Claims will Ensure Proper Reimbursement.
Recently, congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides more than $100 billion in direct aid to hospitals and other providers. This includes a 20 percent increase in reimbursement for inpatient COVID-19 claims.
Each year AAPC sponsors the healthcare conference, HEALTHCON, which was originally scheduled to take place at Disney’s Coronado Springs Hotel in Orlando, April 5-8. Every year the event provides excellent networking opportunities, with thousands of medical coders and healthcare professionals participating.
With an expansive platform to earn continuing education units (CEUs), and prominent speakers, the HEALTHCON event has excellent industry participation year after year. Unfortunately, this year, as with all organized events, the COVID-19 emergency prevented HEALTHCON 2020 from going on as normal, and left organizers in a predicament. However, after much deliberation, and exploration of alternative solutions, AAPC decided to carry on with the event with a promise to deliver the same expectations, only virtually.
April welcomes the anticipation of spring and its promise of renewal. It is also the month for us to recognize the importance of our ability to volunteer and give back to our communities. However, this year the volunteer landscape is quite different than years past. The current environment can leave one asking the question ─ What can one do at a local or global level when in isolation?
COVID-19 impact on Telehealth Services: Clearing a Path to Combat the Coronavirus, and possibly change the future of Telehealth
As of March 27, 2020, there have been more than a half a milion confirmed cases of COVID-19, including nearly 90,000 in the U.S. alone. As numbers of new cases continue to grow, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expands their recommendations of social distancing for containment measures, increasingly disrupting daily life, and ultimately the livelihood of many individuals.
The situation has now reached the point where public health officials are encouraging and in some regions requiring people to stay home. As a result, Telehealth Services have dramatically increased, becoming critical in caring for patients as the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly evolves.
Hierarchical Coding Categories (HCC) is becoming a common term as healthcare continues to move toward an “outcomes” based model. Understanding the acronym T.O.A.D is of utmost importance.