The radiology community is abuzz with talk of artificial intelligence (AI) systems that can assist physicians with image interpretation and perform other tasks. Like any new technology, it will take time before AI gains widespread acceptance due to the cost of implementation. This is analogous to the early-day PACS, where the benefits of efficiency had to be proven in order to justify the expenditure for such a costly system. Today almost all imaging is interpreted on computer systems … when was the last time anyone looked at a piece of film?
Federal Programs to Assist Radiology Practices During the Pandemic on March 30, 2021
At around this time last year we were beginning to learn about the various ways medical practices could make use of federal programs to help keep them afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic. No one knew how long it would last. As time went on, we followed the changes to those programs, the new programs that became available, and the deadlines for action. Let’s review the latest federal legislation and also where each of last year’s relief programs stands today, especially the Medicare Payment Sequester that is a developing story.
Update on The Quality Payment Program on March 17, 2021
The Quality Payment Program (QPP) continues to be modified due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced some leeway for clinicians affected by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
A radiology practice that includes interventional procedures has to be up to date on the use of documentation and coding techniques for Evaluation and Management (E&M) services. Since these CPT®[i] codes in the 99xxx range are less commonly utilized in many radiology practices, identifying circumstances where E&M services are billable, and then properly documenting and coding for them, will require a collaborative effort between interventional radiologists (IR) and their coding team.
The issue of patients receiving large, unexpected medical bills from hospitals and physicians has been widely publicized. This situation, known as surprise billing, arises when a hospital or physician provides medical care to a patient but is not participating in a patient’s insurance network. We have reported on the many states that have put legislation in place to try and mitigate the problem for their own residents, but now there will be a nationwide policy thanks to recent federal legislation.
From Wednesday, February 24 to Wednesday, March 10, practices with fewer than 20 employees will have a preferential opportunity to obtain a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), “This will give lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the program expires on March 31, 2021.”
New Diagnosis Codes Related to COVID-19 Take Effect in 2021 on February 22, 2021
Most of the annual changes to diagnosis coding under ICD-10[i] system take effect on October 1, but other changes occur during the year. There are quite a few codes that became effective on January 1, 2021, all related to COVID-19 conditions.
When the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Final Rule was published in December, it looked like radiology was facing a significant cut in Medicare reimbursement for 2021. Our article reported that professional component fees would drop 10-11% while global reimbursement would see a lesser impact. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) rolled back those cuts at least for 2021, although the Medicare fee schedule for radiology will likely continue to be adjusted downward in the future as implementation of the revalued Evaluation and Management (E&M) services is fully phased in.
How the Consolidated Appropriations Act Will Impact Radiology Practices on January 18, 2021
The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (CAA) is a sweeping piece of legislation that provides relief to individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Some of the relief provisions apply to all businesses, including medical practices, but it also contains several measures that specifically apply to medical practices.
Coding Changes That Will Impact Radiology Practices In 2021 on January 6, 2021
The big news in Current Procedural Terminology[i] (CPT)® revisions for 2021 is the overhaul of the Evaluation and Management (E&M) section, reducing documentation requirements, and introducing new rules for determining the level of coding. These changes will affect interventional radiologists and radiation oncologists more than they will the day-to-day work of diagnostic radiologists. First, we will review the other non-E&M code changes affecting diagnostic and interventional radiology for 2021.