The 2012 OIG Work Plan has been published (http://oig.hhs.gov/reports-and-publications/archives/workplan/2012/Work-Plan-2012.pdf). Practices should review the issues under review and ensure that these risk areas are included in their Compliance Program, continuing education and audit projects in order to detect and prevent fraud and correct any potential risks. The following list is excerpted from the work plan:
Place of service
OIG will review physicians’ coding on Medicare Part B claims for services performed in ambulatory surgical centers and hospital outpatient departments to determine whether they properly coded the places of service. Federal regulations provide for different levels of payments to physicians depending on where services are performed. (42 CFR § 414.32.) Medicare pays a physician a higher amount when a service is performed in a nonfacility setting, such as a physician’s office, than it does when the service is performed in a hospital outpatient department or, with certain exceptions, in an ambulatory surgical center.
OIG will review physician billing for “incident-to” services to determine whether payment for such services had a higher error rate than that for non-incident-to services. OIG will also assess CMS’s ability to monitor services billed as “incident-to.” Medicare Part B pays for certain services billed by physicians that are performed by nonphysicians incident to a physician office visit. A 2009 OIG review found that when Medicare allowed physicians’ billings for more than 24 hours of services in a day, half of the services were not performed by a physician. OIG also found that unqualified nonphysicians performed 21 percent of the services that physicians did not perform personally.
Incident-to services represent a program vulnerability in that they do not appear in claims data and can be identified only by reviewing the medical record. They may also be vulnerable to overutilization and expose Medicare beneficiaries to care that does not meet professional standards of quality. Medicare’s Part B coverage of services and supplies that are performed incident to the professional services of a physician is in the Social Security Act, § 1861(s)(2)(A). Medicare requires providers to furnish such information as may be necessary to determine the amounts due to receive payment. (Social Security Act, § 1833(e).) (OEI; 00-00-00000; expected issue date: FY 2013; new start)
E/M trends in coding of claims
OIG will review evaluation and management (E/M) claims to identify trends in the coding of E/M services from 2000-2009. OIG will also identify providers that exhibited questionable billing for E/M services in 2009. Medicare paid $32 billion for E/M services in 2009, representing 19 percent of all Medicare Part B payments. Providers are responsible for ensuring that the codes they submit accurately reflect the services they provide. (CMS’s Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Pub. No. 100-04, ch. 12, § 30.6.1.) E/M codes represent the type, setting, and complexity of services provided and the patient status, such as new or established. (OEI; 04-10-00180; expected issue date: FY 2012; work in progress)
E/M during global period (Modifier 24)
OIG will review industry practices related to the number of E/M services provided by physicians and reimbursed as part of the global surgery fee to determine whether the practices have changed since the global surgery fee concept was developed in 1992. Under the global surgery fee concept, physicians bill a single fee for all of their services that are usually associated with a surgical procedure and related E/M services provided during the global surgery period. The criteria for global surgery policy are in CMS’s Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Pub. 100-04, ch. 12, § 40. (OAS; W-00-09-35207; various reviews; expected issue date: FY 2012; work in progress)
E/M improper documentation due to cloned notes, identical documentation
OIG will assess the extent to which CMS made potentially inappropriate payments for E/M services and the consistency of E/M medical review determinations. OIG will also review multiple E/M services for the same providers and beneficiaries to identify electronic health records (EHR) documentation practices associated with potentially improper payments. Medicare contractors have noted an increased frequency of medical records with identical documentation across services. Medicare requires providers to select the code for the service based upon the content of the service and have documentation to support the level of service reported. (CMS’s Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Pub. No. 100-04, ch. 12, § 30.6.1.) (OEI; 04-10-00181; 04-10-00182; expected issue date: FY 2013; work in progress)
Providers are responsible for auditing and monitoring their documentation and billing activity and should have an annual audit as a baseline. For more information, contact Nancy Enos Medical Coding at www.nancyenoscoding.com