I don’t know how many of my California anesthesiologist readers are contracted with Medi-Cal, but I am sure there are a few of you.
I am also sure that you know how little they pay you. But, I have recently figured out a way to get them to pay you a small amount more.
Usually, Medi-Cal will only pay for anesthesia for one service per day. It had never mattered that the anesthesia was for a different surgery at a different time on a different body part.
But in 2015 CMS started using the X (EPSU) modifiers. Applying them to the appropriate line item has allowed me to increase my provider’s reimbursement from Medi-Cal to all line items submitted on the claim. The modifiers are as follows:
- XE – “Separate encounter, A service that is distinct because it occurred during a separate encounter” This modifier should only be used to describe separate encounters on the same date of service.
- XS – “Separate Structure, A service that is distinct because it was performed on a separate organ/structure”
- XP – “Separate Practitioner, A service that is distinct because it was performed by a different practitioner”
- XU – “Unusual Non-Overlapping Service, The use of a service that is distinct because it does not overlap usual components of the main service”
Use the modifier on the line that pays less, just in case the automatic processing system decides it hates your particular claim. Also, since Medi-Cal does not accept more than one modifier per line, remember to use your 99 and indicate the modifiers in box 19.
Call or email with any questions.
It is flu shot season. And do-the-physicals-on-your-Medicare patients-before-they-go-somewhere-else-and-another-office-bills-the-physical season. And I am seeing a lot of the same question from both my billing service providers, and from you, my gentle readers.
Specifically, you billed/coded the flu shots and physicals the way I taught you and they are still getting denied! What gives?
And here is your unfortunate answer.
Medicare will pay a flu shot once every 365 days. They will pay a physical once every 365 days. They will pay a pap once every 730 days for a woman at normal risk and once every 365 days for a woman at high risk. They will pay the pneumo vaccine once every 365 days.
That means that if a patient came in on Feb 17th 2016 to get their flu shot last year and then came in this year on Jan 25th and got another flu shot, you will not get paid. Even if you bill with ICD10 Z23. Even if you bill with the Q-code for the vaccine. Medicare does not care that it is a different flu season. They do not care that your patient will be visiting their newborn grandson in a couple weeks and they need to be up to date on their immunizations. They do not care that your patient is going for a month long cruise in the caribbean and this is the last date they have available until they get back and they would prefer to get it done before they are rubbing elbows with a bunch of strangers who may have the flu.
Medicare does not care.
And they really mean 365 days. Not 364. So, when a patient needs a preventive service, please try and train your doctors and your office staff to check the date the patient received their last preventive service. The Medicare site also has a tab under the eligibility lookup section to check and see when the patient is next eligible for a preventive service. Here is a screenshot of the page and what it looks like:
As you can see, the date the patient is going to be eligible for any specific service is indicated on the right. Flu and Prevnar are not included in this list, so you will need to rely on your records to track those.
Below is the link to a good website for more information on the Medicare policies for preventive services.
Keep emailing your questions and I’ll keep giving you answers.