AFO DENIALS BASED ON “SAME OR SIMILAR”

The DME MACs have recently begun strictly enforcing a long-existing policy, “Same or Similar.” This situation has resulted in suppliers more frequently receiving denials for DME, indicated on EOBs with reason code “M3.”

Medicare dictates that AFOs can be dispensed only once, per side, every five years. The “Same or Similar” policy states that a beneficiary cannot get another AFO device for the same limb within this period unless the AFO is lost, stolen, or irreparably damaged or the patient has a new diagnosis, resulting in the need for a new type of device.

AFOs considered to be within the same or similar category include both custom fabricated and off-the-shelf including:

L1900, L 1902, L1904, L1906, L1907, L1910, L1920, L1930, L1932, L1940, L1945, L1950, L1951, L1960, L1970, L1971, L1980, L1990, L2000, L2005, L2010, L2020, L2030, L2034, L2035, L2036, L2037, L2038, L2106, L2108, L2112, L2114, L2116, L 2126, L2128, L2132, L2134, L2136, L4350, L4360, L4361, L4370, L4386, L4387, L4396, L4397, L4398, L4631.

For example, a patient receiving a CAM Boot (L4386) in 2017 for a stress fracture on the left foot would likely be rejected for a Custom Fabricated Hinged AFO (L1970) should he or she require one for Posterior Tibial Tendinosis of the left foot in 2019.

Details of the policy can be found at https://med.noridianmedicare.com/web/jadme/policies/lcd/active.

The rule is not provider-specific, meaning that if a patient received an AFO from another provider or supplier within the past five years that was billed to Medicare, the claim for a “same or similar” device may be denied.

What to do about it

Providers can easily discover whether their patient has received a device within the past five years by enrolling in their respective DME MAC Jurisdiction’s Provider Portal. Information on enrolling in the provider portals is available on each DME MAC Homepage.

APMA urges its members not to use the NMBI (National Medicare Beneficiary Identifier) and to continue to use the patient’s Social Security-linked number as there are cases in which the provider portal either will not recognize the NMBI or cannot properly perform a “Same or Similar” inquiry. This issue has been brought to the attention of CMS contractors. Once this issue is resolved, APMA will notify our members.

Once enrolled in a DME MAC carrier’s portal, it will take a minute or less to determine what, if any, devices your patient has received in the last five years. The provider portal will provide you with information regarding the date, HCPCS codes, and name of the supplier who provided the previous device.

The Noridian Provider Portal will only provide “Same or Similar” information regarding services provided in Regions A and D, while MyCGS will only provide “Same or Similar” Information for services provided in Regions B and C.

APMA suggests that providers confirm their patient’s legal address history. This information will minimize any possibility that services were provided previously in a different DME MAC Jurisdiction.

APMA urges members to save any information received on the provider portal. Be sure your chart documentation includes the above information and, if dispensing another AFO for the same side within five years, the fact that a new device is required for one of the several reasons stipulated in the LCD. These reasons include, but are not limited to: The device was lost, stolen, irreparably damaged (due to a one-time event); a different diagnosis; change in anatomy (e.g., amputation, significant weight loss or gain) resulting in the previous device being unusable by the patient; or a different physiologic need (e.g., previous device was for a non-weight-bearing situation and the new device is for a weight-bearing situation).

Suppliers may still initially receive a “Same or Similar” rejection. However, a properly documented progress note including the above information may be used to successfully appeal (Redetermination) a “Same or Similar” rejection.

Providers may obtain the redetermination form from their DME MAC Website and/or provider portal. Once this form is downloaded and completed, you may scan the form (or complete and save it online) and then upload the form and other pertinent information, including response letter and your chart documentation, directly onto the DME MAC provider portal.

By using the provider portal, you may avoid fax transmission errors and be instantly assured that the information submitted has been received by the DME MAC. You may also follow the appeals process via the provider portal and read any comments made by the nurse reviewer. While a redetermination must be completed within a 90-day period (once received by the carrier), it will typically take only 30 days using the provider portal.

Providers may wish to obtain a properly executed ABN, should your search of the provider portal result in a potential “Same or Similar” scenario. A properly executed ABN should be specific as to why your services (new device) may not be covered. Information to include in the ABN should include the name of the device dispensed, date of service, name of supplier, and that any new device may result in a “Same or Similar” rejection.

Recent communication between APMA and the DME MAC Medical Directors seems to indicate that the DME MACs are interested in developing new edits to substantially reduce the number of “Same or Similar” rejections.

This situation is fluid, and APMA urges members to monitor APMA.org for future developments.

Reference: APMA.org

SafeStep representatives can help you:

  • Register for Medicare portal
  • Easily check patient eligibility prior to prescribing AFOs
  • Submit claims for redetermination (appeal) either via Medicare carrier website or via fax.

Contact us at info@safestep.net or 866.712.STEP

Effect of Sequestration on DME

Questions and AnswersQuestion: Does the 2% payment reduction under sequestration apply to the payment rates reflected in Medicare fee-for-service fee schedules or does it only apply to the final payment amounts?

Answer: Payment adjustments required under sequestration are applied to all claims after determining the Medicare payment including application of the current fee schedule, coinsurance, any applicable deductible, and any applicable Medicare Secondary Payment adjustments. All fee schedules, Pricers, etc., are unchanged by sequestration; it’s only the final payment amount that is reduced.

Question: How is the 2% payment reduction under sequestration identified on the electronic remittance advice (ERA) and the standard paper remittance (SPR)?

Answer: Claim adjustment reason code (CARC) 223 is used to report the sequestration reduction on the ERA and SPR.

Continue Reading…

Mandatory Payment Reductions in the Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Program – “Sequestration” (201303-02)

Spending-Cuts-ShutterstockThe Budget Control Act of 2011 requires, among other things, mandatory across-the-board reductions in Federal spending, also known as sequestration.  The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 postponed sequestration for 2 months.  As required by law, President Obama issued a sequestration order on March 1, 2013.  The Administration continues to urge Congress to take prompt action to address the current budget uncertainty and the economic hardships imposed by sequestration.

This listserv message is directed at the Medicare FFS program (i.e., Part A and Part B).  In general, Medicare FFS claims with dates-of-service or dates-of-discharge on or after April 1, 2013, will incur a 2 percent reduction in Medicare payment.  Claims for durable medical equipment (DME), prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies, including claims under the DME Competitive Bidding Program, will be reduced by 2 percent based upon whether the date-of-service, or the start date for rental equipment or multi-day supplies, is on or after April 1, 2013.

The claims payment adjustment shall be applied to all claims after determining coinsurance, any applicable deductible, and any applicable Medicare Secondary Payment adjustments.

Though beneficiary payments for deductibles and coinsurance are not subject to the 2 percent payment reduction, Medicare’s payment to beneficiaries for unassigned claims is subject to the 2 percent reduction.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encourages Medicare physicians, practitioners, and suppliers who bill claims on an unassigned basis to discuss with beneficiaries the impact of sequestration on Medicare’s reimbursement.

Questions about reimbursement should be directed to your Medicare claims administration contractor.  As indicated above, we are hopeful that Congress will take action to eliminate the mandatory payment reductions.

Therapeutic Shoes – Documentation Requirements

The National Government Services, Jurisdiction B Medical Review department recently conducted a widespread post pay probe for HCPCS codes A5500, A5501, A5512, and A5513.  A widespread post pay probe is a selection of paid claims reviewed for medical necessity based on a particular service from multiple suppliers.  The suppliers who had claims selected and reviewed for this probe have been sent final probe determination letters.  The letter indicates the probe review findings and any overpayment(s) identified. The claims that were found to have been paid in error have been adjusted and a demand letter has been generated.

The following are the most common errors found during the recent medical review audit of therapeutic shoes and inserts and clarification of documentation requirements.

 

Continue Reading…

 

Results of Widespread Prepayment Probe Review of Ankle-Foot/Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (HCPCS L4360, L1970 and L1960)

Review Results

Jurisdiction D DME MAC Medical Review Department completed a widespread prepayment probe review of HCPCS codes L4360, L1970 and L1960. This review was initiated based on CERT analysis.

The L4360 review involved 101 claims of which 97 were denied. This resulted in an overall error rate of 97%.

The L1970 review involved 100 claims of which 80 were denied. This resulted in an overall error rate of 79%.

The L1960 review involved 100 claims of which 69 were denied. This resulted in an overall error rate of 68%.

Primary documentation errors that resulted in denial of claims

• 21% of L4360 claims received a denial as basic coverage criteria not met.

• 21% of L1970 claims received a denial as basic coverage criteria not met.

• 30% of L1960 claims received a denial as basic coverage criteria not met.

Medical records are insufficient to support basic coverage criteria.

BASIC COVERAGE CRITERIA: Ankle-foot orthoses are covered for ambulatory beneficiaries with weakness or deformity of the foot and ankle, who require stabilization for medical reasons, and have the potential to benefit functionally.

•  21% of L1970 claims received a denial as criteria 1,2,3,4 or 5 not met.

•  32% of L1960 claims received a denial as criteria 1,2,3,4 or 5 not met.

1 of the 5 following criteria were not met:

•  The beneficiary could not be fit with a prefabricated AFO; or

•  The condition necessitating the orthosis is expected to be permanent or of longstanding duration (more than 6 months); or,

•  There is a need to control the knee, ankle or foot in more than one plane; or

•  The beneficiary has a documented neurological, circulatory or orthopedic status that requires custom fabricating over a model to prevent tissue injury; or,

• The beneficiary has a healing fracture which lacks normal anatomic integrity or anthropometric proportions.

20% of L4360 claims received a denial as no proof of delivery submitted.

7% of L1960 claims received a denial as no proof of delivery submitted.

No proof of delivery submitted.

Proof of delivery (POD) is a Supplier Standard and DMEPOS suppliers are required to maintain POD documentation in their files. For medical review purposes, POD serves to assist in determining correct coding and billing information for claims submitted for Medicare reimbursement. Regardless of the method of delivery, the contractor must be able to determine from delivery documentation that the supplier properly coded the item(s) submitted for Medicare reimbursement and that the item(s) are intended for, and received by, a specific Medicare beneficiary.

• 42% of L4360 claims received a denial as no written or verbal order received.

• 7% of L1970 claims received a denial as no written or verbal order received.

• 5% of L1960 claims received a denial as no written or verbal order received.

No written or verbal order received.

All items billed to Medicare require a prescription. An order for each new or full replacement item billed must be signed and dated by the treating physician, kept on file by the supplier, and made available upon request.

Equipment and supplies may be delivered upon receipt of a dispensing order except for those items that require a written order prior to delivery. A dispensing order may be verbal or written. The supplier must keep a record of the dispensing order on file. It must contain:

• Description of the item

• Beneficiary’s name

• Prescribing Physician’s name

• Date of the order and the start date, if the start date is different from the date of the order

• Physician signature (if a written order) or supplier signature (if verbal order)

 

For items that are provided based on a dispensing order, the supplier must obtain a detailed written order before submitting a claim. Detailed written order (DWO) is required before billing. Someone other than the ordering physician may produce the DWO. However, the ordering physician must review the content and sign and date the document. It must contain:

• Beneficiary’s name

• Physician’s name

• Date of the order and start date, if start date different than date of order

• Detailed description of the item(s)

• Physician signature and signature date

Going Forward

Based on high error rate, Noridian Administration Services will close this probe review and begin a widespread targeted review on HCPCS codes L4360, L1970 and L1960.

To review entire article please click here

What to Do if a Patient Doesn’t Pick Up Their DME Product?

Question:

If a DME product was fabricated and paid by the carrier, but the patient does not come to pick it up despite proper scheduling, what is the responsibility of the podiatrist?

Answer:

Medicare Benefit Policy Manual
Chapter 15 – Covered Medical and Other Health Services

Publication 100-02, Chapter 15, Section 20.3

20.3 – Artificial Limbs, Braces, and Other Custom Made Items Ordered But Not Furnished
(Rev. 1, 10-01-03)
B3-2005.3

A. Date of Incurred Expense
If a custom-made item was ordered but not furnished to a beneficiary because the individual died or because the order was canceled by the beneficiary or because the beneficiary’s condition changed and the item was no longer reasonable and necessary or appropriate, payment can be made based on the supplier’s expenses. (See subsection B for determination of the allowed amount.) In such cases, the expense is considered incurred on the date the beneficiary died or the date the supplier learned of the cancellation or that the item was no longer reasonable and necessary or appropriate for the beneficiary’s condition. If the beneficiary died or the beneficiary’s condition changed and the item was no longer reasonable and necessary or appropriate, payment can be made on either an assigned or unassigned claim. If the beneficiary, for any other reason, canceled the order, payment can be made to the supplier only.

B. Determination of Allowed Amount
The allowed amount is based on the services furnished and materials used, up to the date the supplier learned of the beneficiary’s death or of the cancellation of the order or that the item was no longer reasonable and necessary or appropriate. The Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carrier (DMERC), carrier or intermediary, as appropriate, determines the services performed and the allowable amount appropriate in the particular situation. It takes into account any salvage value of the device to the supplier.

Where a supplier breaches an agreement to make a prosthesis, brace, or other custom-made device for a Medicare beneficiary, e.g., an unexcused failure to provide the article within the time specified in the contract, payment may not be made for any work or material expended on the item. Whether a particular supplier has lived up to its agreement, of course, depends on the facts in the individual case.

There are slight variations in the procedure of each DME carrier and the provider has to call and find out and follow those, but for the most part they are similar to what is outlined below.

According to National Government Services, one of four Medicare DME MACs:

1) Submit a claim with the FULL billing amount you usually bill.
a. Date of Service should be Date of Refusal or Date of Death
2) Include in the narrative section a brief explanation of the situation. Mention that the item ‘has no salvage value and is a complete loss’.
3) After receipt of claim, they may ask for more information such as a receipt of the purchase of the item, explanation of your other related costs such as staff time, your own time, etc. It is their discretion depending on many factors such as How often you have claims such as this, the total amount involved, and other DME history of patient and provider.
4) Based on all this, the carrier will pay whatever they feel is appropriate, even up to the full amount billed or….nothing at all!
5) This decision can be appealed up to the various levels following usual procedures