Skip Navigation LinksHome | Editors' Blog | Post

For Mental Health Month, soothe your depression-screening, related services

Most physicians and mid-level providers aren't comfortable providing key mental health screenings to their patients, a recent study shows. But missing out on mental health can be a disservice to your patients' well-being and a missed opportunity for your bottom line.
May is Mental Health Month, so now is a great time to engender wellness among your patients. Practices that want to boost their behavioral health services can do so through several Medicare-covered preventive benefits, in addition to additional reporting avenues.
While about 57% of physicians and non-physician practitioners (NPPs) reported that they felt unprepared to dive into their patients' mental health, according to a Kognito study, the challenge may come down to a matter of awareness or perceived expertise rather than clinical or personal reservations. A separate Johns Hopkins study found that nearly half of providers had two or fewer hours of training for handling substance-abuse screening.
What can you do to enhance your mental health services? Start by upping awareness and continue with the more granular coding and billing details:
  1. Know what's covered. You'll find full reporting details of Medicare-covered depression screening (G0444) and with CMS' preventive services checklist. For a wider mental-health perspective, the "Welcome to Medicare" encounter (G0402) and annual wellness visit (G0438, G0439) also require that you assess a patient's behavioral health status. You can wrap in code-specific workflows for each by checking off the elements that Medicare requires.
  2. Up your compliance rates. Nationally, providers who dive into G0444 billing see a lot of denials, at a rate of about 25% of all submitted claims. But focusing on three areas -- timing, bundled services and medical necessity -- can help you cut back on denials and get paid for these important services.
  3. Get a tool, increase your focus. Wrapping in a standardized tool or checklist can pay dividends in your outreach efforts. One such tool, the preventive services self-administered questionnaire, can determine how many patients have received core screening services -- and how many could use them.
Blog Tags: CMS
To comment, login here.
Reader Comments (0)


User Name:
Welcome to the new Part B News Online. If you are a returning user having trouble logging in, please click here.
Back to top