The health law requires Medicare to cover a screening for cognitive impairment during an annual wellness visit.
Dementia screening tests are typically short questionnaires that assess health indicators such as memory, attention and language and/or visuospatial skills. One of the most common, the mini-mental state examination, consists of 30 questions (such as “What month is this?” and “What country are we in?”) and may be completed in about 10 minutes, according to an article published by Kaiser Health News.
The risk of dementia increases with age: Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for up to 80 percent of cases. Other types include vascular dementia, many cases of Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
Someone without symptoms who does poorly on a screening test may have other medical conditions, such as depression or sleep apnea, that can cause memory or other problems. That’s why it’s important that people take the tests in a medical setting with a trained professional who can evaluate them and take a good medical history from patients and their family members, as reported by Kaiser Health News.
The Alzheimer’s Association recommends seniors undergo cognitive impairment screening and evaluation to establish a baseline for comparison, and then have regular follow-up assessments in subsequent years.
Read full article by Kaiser Health News.
Datasets allow for the comparisons of health care services by specialty, location, types of medical service and procedures delivered, Medicare payment, and submitted charges.
CMS has recently released new, privacy-protected data on services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries by physicians and other health care professionals. The new data also show payment and submitted charges, or bills, for those services and procedures by provider.
The new dataset has information for over 880,000 distinct health care providers who collectively received $77 billion in Medicare payments in 2012, under the Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service program.
The information allows comparisons by physician, specialty, location, the types of medical service and procedures delivered, Medicare payment, and submitted charges. Physicians and other health care professionals determine what they will charge for services and procedures provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the physician or health care professional generally bills for the service or procedure.
Review physician dataset here.
To best prepare for the October 2014 ICD-10 conversion, think through where you use your ICD codes now and how you can make the process more efficient.
From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:
In order to be fully prepared for the October 1, 2014, ICD-10 transition, you need to know exactly how ICD-10 will affect your practice. Although many people associate coding with submitting claims, in reality, ICD codes are used in a variety of processes within clinical practices, from registration and referrals to billing and payment. The following is a list of important questions to help you think through where you use ICD codes and how ICD-10 will affect your practice. By making a plan to address these areas now, you can make sure your practice is ready for the ICD-10 transition.
- Where do you use ICD-9 codes? Keep a log of everywhere you see and use an ICD-9 code. If the code is on paper, you will need new forms (e.g., patient encounter form, superbill). If the code is entered or displayed in your computer, check with your Electronic Health Record (EHR) and/or practice management system vendor to see when your system will be ready for ICD-10 codes.
- Will you be able to submit claims? If you use an electronic system for any or all payers, you need to know if it will be able to accommodate the ICD-10 version of diagnoses and hospital inpatient procedures codes. If your billing system has not been upgraded for the current version of HIPAA claims standards—Version 5010—you will not be able to submit claims. Check with your practice management system or software vendor to make sure your claims are in the HIPAA Version 5010 format and that your system or software can include the ICD-10 version of diagnoses and hospital inpatient procedures codes.
- Will you be able to complete medical records? If you use any type of EHR system in your office, you need to know if it will capture ICD-10 codes. Look at how you enter ICD-9 codes (e.g., do you type them in or select from a drop down menu) and talk to your EHR vendor about your system’s capabilities for ICD-10. If your EHR system does not capture ICD-10 codes and you use another terminology (SNOMED), you will still need ICD-10 codes to submit claims.
- How will you code your claims under ICD-10? If you currently code by look up in ICD-9 books, purchase the ICD-10 code books in early 2014. Take a look at the codes most commonly used in your office and begin developing a list of comparable ICD-10 codes. Alternatively, check your software for an ICD-10 look up functionality.
- Are there ways to make coding more efficient? For example, develop a list of your most commonly used ICD-9 codes and become familiar with the ICD-10 codes you will use in the future; and invest in a software program that helps small practices with coding.
Want more information about ICD-10?
Visit the CMS ICD-10 website for the latest news and resources to help you prepare for the October 1, 2014, deadline. Sign up for CMS ICD-10 Industry Email Updates and follow on Twitter.
Source: The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services