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Benchmark of the Week
While Medicare has made it easier to provide home visits, recent claims data reveal a decreasing preference to tap into the series of nine home visit services (99341-99350).
The primary chronic care management (CCM) code 99490 and the complex CCM codes (99487, 99489) requiring extended time and elevated medical decision-making have been rising in utilization in recent years. Between 2017 and 2018, use of these codes rose 23%, 78% and 285%, respectively, according to the latest available Medicare claims data.
Though the critical care codes 99291 and 99292 appear to reside in the natural province of emergency medicine providers, this groups files fewer than one-third of these E/M claims. The rest are done by various specialties, including cardiology and family and internal medicine providers.
Nearly 500 codes — including the two new U codes for COVID-19 and vaping-related disorders — are proposed to be added to the ICD-10 code set under the FY2021 Hospital Inpatient PPS (IPPS) proposed rule, released May 11.
The trends behind the initial preventive physical exam (IPPE), commonly referred to as the “Welcome to Medicare” visit, underscore a boon to medical practices in recent years, with more dollars pouring in and fewer denials striking down claims.
A major patient communication vendor’s records show a massive spike in provider-to-patient interactions during the early days of America’s COVID-19 shutdown — an indicator of the importance of appropriate patient messaging in handling the COVID crisis.
The financial fallout of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) continues to plague frontline medical practices, with nearly nine out of 10 groups reporting “large decreases” in patient volumes.
Though the rate of Medicare enrollment growth has slowed, the Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE) meant to welcome patients to the program continues to grow steadily.
A survey gathering feedback from more than 700 Americans concluded that consumer demand for telehealth services will continue following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use of prolonged service codes went up between 2017 and 2018 and — since CMS is increasingly making use of them, especially for telehealth — it promises to go up more. But watch out for some denial traps. 


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