More than half of the dollar amount of claims reviewed by one intermediary were denied in the last quarter of 2014. Multiple results were published this past week. Most were for smaller amounts but the denial rates were similar. The results posted below are the results for an edit of claims with a HIPPS code of 1BGP*. These are patients who were in an early episode, a clinical severity of 2 and a functional level of two, and a service level of 5. This represents a very high paying patient who is receiving therapy but otherwise isn’t all that sick.
Over half of the dollars that were billed for these claims were taken back or not paid because of a focused medical review.
For now, this is where we stand. As unfair as it may seem, there is no other option than to address these numbers until your claims make their way through the appeals process. Please do not think you are being told to grin and bear it because we are angry, too.
|Total dollars reviewed||6,074,393.71||5,588,813.76|
|Total Dollars denied||3,498,994.66||3,285,618.64|
The good news is that most of the claims were denied for Face-to-Face encounter documentation and we can obviously expect fewer denials in the future but not for several months. The claims that will be scrutinized for the next several months will all have required Face-to-Face documentation.
The bad news is that many of these claims were denied for multiple reasons. For instance, in the Southeast Region, there were a total of 1817 claims reviewed producing 1562 denials. There were 865 claims that were denied because ‘MR HIPPS Code Change – Documentation Contradicts OASIS MO Item(s)’ Look for this denial related to diagnosis coding and therapy. The functional and clinical domain (except for diagnosis) can change but the diagnosis coding should be fairly static throughout an episode unless there has been change.
What can you do?
Agencies need to fight fire with fire. If it’s details they want, give them every detail you have. Deprive them of the opportunity to take your money back.
- Admit all patients with a goal of one episode at most. Any further episode must be approved by someone who has reviewed the chart.
- Involve the entire staff in educating each other about documentation.
- Constantly remind nurses who already document well that the increased focus is not about them but getting paid.
- Documentation takes time and should be included as part of the visit rate. If nurses are running the roads all day and producing sloppy documentation at night when they are tired, visits need to be backed down until all work can get done.
The best solutions will come from within your agency. Take advantage of each individuals talents and get everyone involved. Post excellent notes where everyone can see them.
If you think you cannot afford this level of attention to detail, you might rethink that position if you are hit with an edit.
We can help prevent that with our fabulous coders who will ensure proper coding so the careplan can be written within a couple of days and followed to a T. Call us or connect by email.