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Benchmark of the Week
The two skin biopsy codes that were replaced by six more specific codes this year experienced huge growth in the past 10 years, which may explain why the switch was made.

Radiology procedures are leading the way in a list of the largest gainers, by percentage, of updated service fees come Jan. 1, according to an analysis of the final Medicare 2020 physician fee schedule.

Ophthalmology and vascular surgery are among the specialty groups expected to take a payment hit in 2020, while clinical social workers, clinical psychologists and podiatrists are slated for a reimbursement bump.
As new coding guidelines emerge for vaping and e-cigarette use, you may find it instructive to look at how the codes for treatment for non-electronic smoking have fared over the years. In short, practices have ramped up activity but denial rates have increased, too.
The past three regulatory burden surveys from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) point to prior authorizations, Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) and audits and appeals as the biggest culprits in draining money and time from medical practices.

You may guess that 25 (Significant, separately identifiable E/M service) and 59 (Distinct procedural service) would be the most-used modifiers in Medicare Part B, but according to the latest figures they’re only #8 and #14, respectively.

When reporting a series of oft-used psychotherapy services (90832-90838), providers tend to stick to a pattern of long-duration standalone codes and shorter-duration add-on codes.
The utilization of complex chronic care management (CCM) code 99489 increased more than 285% between 2017 and 2018, as practices appeared to embrace longer-lasting care management episodes.

Medicare has published its 2018 patient claims data, which shows a pretty smooth rise in spending for total claims — and a bit of a spike for established patient office E/M code 99214.


     When delivering common injection and procedure services, providers tend to veer to the right side of the body more often than the left. That’s what an inspection of claims with RT (Right side) and LT (Left side) modifiers reveals.


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