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2023 Coding Conundrums

Coding


2023 Coding Conundrums

Date Posted: Friday, March 03, 2023

 

We have our first bit of 2023 behind us, which means the first of the claims for the new year have been submitted.  Here's the $100,000 question: Are your claims paying appropriately with the 2023 Evaluation and Management (E/M) changes that have occurred?

Are your consultations being coded correctly?  Remember that the low level, 99241 and 99251, have been deleted. I spoke to somebody just this week who couldn't understand why the consultations being submitted to Medicare are denying.  A gentle reminder that Medicare has not accepted consultations for many years.  As a seasoned coder/auditor/biller, you may be aware of this, but are the newer staff members aware of this? 

Now let's discuss observation codes for 2023.  Did your initial claims pay correctly for observation services?  I would venture to say that if you have billed any Medicare claims between 1/1/23 and 1/23/23, your claims denied for a variety of reasons.  The reason the claims denied is because the claims processing system had a glitch.  The good news is that the system was corrected 1/23/23, and Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) are performing mass adjustments of the affected claims.  This included codes 99221, 99222, 99223, 99231, 99232, 99233, 99238, and 99239 in places of service 10, 22, 23, and 62.  If the MACs had this problem, have you considered how many other payors may have had a similar situation?  Denials have to be monitored to ensure incorrect processing isn't occurring.

Anybody wonder why CMS created three separate codes to report 99418 (inpatient prolonged services)?  I think CMS scored big on this one.  Their three codes allow more specific reporting for hospital inpatient and observation (G0316), prolonged nursing facility (G0317), and prolonged home or residence (G0318).  In fact, these codes allow the provider to report time spent before and after the date of visit!

+G0316 - Prolonged hospital inpatient or observation care evaluation and management service(s) beyond the total time for the primary service. 

See Table. 



Have you considered how the time before and after the date of visit will be recorded?  If the provider has to lock the note in a set amount of time, how will the after-visit time be documented and tracked in electronic systems? What date of service for the 3 days before and 7 days after the visit?  Interesting things to contemplate!

Have you run into any other conundrums this year?  If you have, that probably means somebody else has, as well.  Make sure you are networking with your colleagues to catch glitches and share discoveries that will help with the bottom line of every provider, practice, and hospital.

By Brenda Edwards, CPC, CDEO, CPB, CPC-I, CEMC, CRC, CMRS, CMCS



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