Eight key guidelines for ensuring proper coding. EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a summary of a presentation by Margaret Skurka during the 2017 American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) national convention in Los Angeles. Evaluation and management (E&M) documentation principles have been around a long time – since 1995, in…
The American Hospital Association steps in; the American Medical Association steps up.On Sept. 27, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would not update its overall hospital quality star ratings in October 2017, as planned. This was primarily based on the public's feedback, but the…
Much was covered during the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee (C&M) meeting last week at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) headquarters in Baltimore.The first striking item was that there were no procedure proposals made during this meeting. There was discussion about three root operations – creation, control,…
The August heat is upon us here in the nation’s capital, and lawmakers have left town for their summer recess. The Senate was able to tie up some loose ends before leaving, including the passage of the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act (FDARA), while leaving uncertainty regarding the reauthorization…
Medicare celebrated its birthday on July 30. It was 52 years ago, on the morning of July 30, 1965, that President Lyndon Johnson signed the four-inch-thick Medicare bill into law after it had undergone more than 500 amendments during its passage through the House and Senate. The bill was signed…
I am a physician who writes and edits guidelines designed to assist in determining appropriate utilization of clinical resources. In a nutshell, the issue that pertains to today’s topic, medical necessity, is “unexplained clinical variation in care.”What I mean by that is the fact that patients with similar clinical features…
Medical necessity is the concept that healthcare services and supplies must be necessary and appropriate for the evaluation and management of a given disease, condition, illness, or injury. The care must be considered reasonable when judged against current medical standards of care. But clinicians know that guidelines are really not…
Medical necessity is an important issue. Just review the definition of medical necessity: “a legal doctrine, related to activities which may be justified as reasonable, necessary, and/or appropriate, based on evidence-based clinical standards of care.” So, what does that really mean? A few years ago, I was preparing to speak…
There has been a wide array of discussion through published articles, forums, webinars, and meetings about the topic of outpatient clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs. Outpatient CDI is receiving much attention and experiencing traction in the healthcare industry due to providers coming to terms with the fact that documentation truly…
First, I want to clarify something about a term used by Medicare for healthcare providers. Value-based purchasing, or VBP, can sound like a good idea unless you realize that it’s actually the purchaser getting the value, along with the Medicare program, and not the provider or patient. It would be…