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    Are your CCM codes correct?

     

    • CPT code 99490 (CCM services, 20 minutes)

    • CPT code 99487 (Complex CCM services, 60 minutes)

    • CPT code 99489 (Each additional 30 minutes)

    • HCPCS code G0506 (Comprehensive assessment of and care planning for patients requiring chronic care management services)

    Payment information: CMS began paying for CCM in 2015, and many commercial payers followed suit shortly thereafter. The 2017 national average Medicare payment for CCM is $42.71. Medicare pays a national average of $93.67 for 60 minutes of complex CCM and $47.01 for each additional 30 minutes. The national average Medicare payment for a comprehensive assessment and care plan is $63.88.

     

    Further reading: To help physicians, EHRs must adapt to value-based care

     

    Even with Medicare’s adoption of chronic care management (CCM) codes, some physicians say they aren’t getting paid for performing these services. To complicate matters, CCM is also included in the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Work Plan for 2017, an annual report that summarizes the OIG’s new and ongoing reviews and activities to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse related to various Department of Health and Human Services programs and operations.

    Experts say this means physicians will likely see greater scrutiny of these services and perhaps even additional denials.

    One reason for denial might be that a patient’s diagnosis doesn’t warrant CCM services, says Kim Huey, MJ, CHC, CPC, an independent coding and reimbursement consultant. CCM is designed for patients with two or more chronic continuous or episodic health conditions (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, or cancer) that are expected to last at least 12 months or for the rest of the patient’s life. To qualify for CCM, these conditions must put the patient at significant risk of death, acute exacerbation/decompensation or functional decline. Huey says she frequently sees internists try to bill CCM for uncomplicated diagnoses and subsequently be denied.

    CCM denials also occur when a different provider (e.g., a specialist) has already billed these services for the same patient during the same calendar month, says Huey. She adds there is no real solution for this except to try and submit claims as soon as possible, because payers pay whichever claim they receive first.

     

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    Prior to 2017, physicians might have seen CCM denials when they didn’t provide an initiating visit for established patients. As of January 1, 2017, an initiating visit is only required for new patients or patients who have not been seen in the practice within one year prior to the commencement of CCM.

    Next: Requirements for complex CCM

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