Category Archives: Medicare

Issues related to Medicare law, advocacy needs, code changes, reimbursement.

Medicare’s Comparative Billing Reports

Psychologists around the nation are receiving faxed “Comparative Billing Reports” (CBR’s) from a company called eglobalTech, a company contracting with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The stated intent of these reports is to provide education to psychologists (and other providers such as dermatologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc.) regarding how their Medicare billing practices compare to state and national peers in the same specialty area.

The only psychologists  receiving these reports at this time are those with at least two comparison areas that are much higher than their peers. If you have not received one, here is one that was sent out recently by APAPO:

APAP

Date:   September 25, 2018
 
To:       SPTA and Division Federal Advocacy Coordinators, and APAGS Coordinators
 
From:   Doug Walter, J.D., Associate Executive Director for Government Relations,
             American Psychological Association Practice Organization
 
Cc:       Jared L. Skillings, PhD, ABPP, Chief of Professional Practice
            SPTA Directors of Professional Affairs
            SPTA Executive Directors
            CAPP
            APAPO Board of Directors
 
Re:       Medicare’s Comparative Billing Reports

 

We want to alert psychologists that they may receive a letter about their Medicare billing patterns from a company called eGlobalTech. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have contracted with eGlobalTech to produce and distribute information about Medicare billing in the form of Comparative Billing Reports (CBRs). CBRs compare the billing practices of providers within the same state and nationwide based upon the common services they furnish.
 
Furnished as part of Medicare’s Education and Outreach program, CBRs educate providers about Medicare’s coverage, coding, and billing rules and act as a self-audit tool for providers. CBRs have long been available to providers on request but in recent years CMS has been proactively distributing this information to individual providers. CBRs have been sent to a wide variety of health care professionals over at least the past 6 years, including Dermatology, Psychiatry, Optometry, Social Work, Podiatry, and others.
 
CBRs highlight billing patterns that differ from those of similar providers within the state and nationwide. As explained in the letter from eGlobalTech, the CBR looks at billing data for psychotherapy, psychological and neuropsychological testing, and health and behavior assessment and intervention services. The CBR looks at three main criteria: the average number of minutes per psychotherapy visit, the average number of visits per beneficiary per year, and the average allowed charges per beneficiary.
 
Each of these 3 criteria are reviewed at both the state and nationwide level, resulting in 6 points of comparison. Psychologists receive the CBR if their billing patterns are significantly higher on 2 or more of the 6 comparison points.
 
The CBRs are intended to be educational so that providers can see how their billing differs from others providing similar services. Just because your billing is different than average does not per se mean it is inaccurate. In response to inquiries eGlobalTech has acknowledged that billing patterns may differ for a variety of reasons that are not apparent by just looking at the data. For example, a psychologist who concentrates on treating the elderly is going to have more Medicare beneficiary visits than a psychologist who treats patients across the age span.
 
Psychologists receiving a CBR are not required to do anything in response but are advised to read the report carefully. Additional information about the CBR for psychology is available at https://www.cbrinfo.net/cbr201808.html. By going to this site psychologists can sign up for a webinar by eGlobalTech on October 17, 2018, 3 to 4 pm Eastern time, to learn more and submit questions. If you cannot participate in the webinar a transcript will be available online within 5 business days.
This is being shared here for your information. Another helpful resource comes through Propublica Treatment Tracker at https://projects.propublica.org/treatment/doctor. Once you arrive at the website, put your name and city in the provided inquiry slot and you will see data on your own practice for 2015.  I found it helpful to see how my data compared to peers. 
We don’t know what the implications of these data/reports might be in the future, however since Medicare is always working toward reducing cost it is suspected that this information will be used to bring outliers, especially those who are using higher levels of Medicare resources than their peers, in line with the average.  At this time it is recommended that providers use these reports and resources to evaluate their practices and determine if they are providing the highest quality, cost conscious care possible.  It is also recommended that you communicate with your peers to identify standards of practice in your unique clinical specialty.   Take Webinars that are being presented on these and related topics, then adjust your practice accordingly.  Remember to document any efforts you make to improve your practices.
Dori Ann Bischmann, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
Federal Advocacy Coordinator-Wisconsin
WPA and APA

 

 

 

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Moving from Fee for Service to Pay for Quality

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA or PPACA, 2010) and Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA, 2015), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services (CMS) have moved further away from fee-for-service payment and toward pay for quality. Under fee-for-service payment, a provider is paid for the volume of services that are completed. Quality, efficacy and cost efficiency are not factors of payment (CMS, 2018).

Pay for quality, at least in theory, is meant to improve the quality and outcome of services while simultaneously decreasing cost. If a smaller number of high quality, pertinent services are provided to a patient, the patient should experience a more positive result (better medical outcome, higher satisfaction, prevention of other medical illnesses, etc.) and the cost would be less. Additionally, if we address prevention, compliance, and engagement we can affect changes at the population level; we can improve the health of the population as a whole and reduce the cost of medical services in the United States.

CMS offers providers two pay for quality tracks, Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (CMS, 2018).

An APM is a payment approach that provides incentives to clinicians who provide high-quality and cost-efficient care. APMs can apply to a specific clinical condition, a care episode, or a population (CMS, 2018). You might have heard of these programs via various names such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), shared saving programs, or care models. This type of payment model is most often initiated by a larger hospital or physician system. The system is paid upfront on a monthly basis for care to a given population. Quality measures and other assessments are part of the system. If the clinicians provide high-quality and cost-efficient care, they are eligible for bonuses. If the various measures applied do not meet expected criteria, money has to be returned to CMS.  Therefore, the hospital or physician group that adopts an APM takes on a high level of risk. As a psychologist, you are most likely to be in this type of payment model if you are an employee of a large medical organization. Psychologists can play an important role via decreasing overall cost by attending to the mental health needs of the patients via improving compliance, changing behavioral factors that lead to illness, and in many other ways.

Most psychologists will participate in CMS’s second track called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). In MIPS, the clinician reports quality measures and other activities that are intended to improve the quality of services provided. It is also hoped that implementation of MIPS will improve clinical outcomes and cost efficiency. Eligible providers began reporting under MIPS in 2017. Psychologists are exempt from reporting MIPS until 2019. Successful participation in MIPS could lead to a payment bonus, but non participation will, likewise, lead to a payment penalty. The potential bonuses and penalties will increase as we approach 2020 and beyond (APA, 2016).

The MIPS system is complex and many aspects of it may not be easy for psychologists to complete, especially those in solo or small practices. CMS established a low volume threshold which many psychologists in smaller practices will fall under.  These psychologists may not have to report MIPS at all. However, keep in mind that any low volume threshold established by CMS is subject to change. The eventual goal of CMS is to have all providers participating in quality reporting.

Because these issues are complex, I will address various MIPS  topics in separate blog posts. The next blog will be about the low volume threshold.

Dori Ann Bischmann, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
APA and WPA Federal Advocacy Coordinator

References:

APA (2016). CMS proposes new Medicare incentive payment system. PracticUpdate Newsletter.
CMS (2018). Quality Payment Program. MACRA-Quality-Payment -Program-, https://www.cms.gov
The patient protection and affordable care act (PPACA), (2010, Mar 23) pub.L.No. 111-148, 124 stat. 119.
The Medicare access and CHIP Reauthorization act (MACRA), (2015)(H.R. 2, Pub. L. 114-10.

Workshop coming your way!  For psychologists and billing professionals.

 

Go to http://www.wipsychology.org for online registration

Or submit registration form below

This workshop is for mental health providers and billers who wish to be successful at capturing the complexity of mental health interventions and reporting/billing services in a way that maximizes reimbursement while complying with Medicare’s ever-changing requirements. More than ever before, Medicare policy dictates requirements and implementation of all insurances. So, even if you are not primarily a Medicare provider/biller, the workshop will prepare you for upcoming changes in reimbursement. As we move away from fee-for-service payment to a tiered payment system, providers will need to demonstrate that their services meet certain quality, value and effectiveness criteria. Billers will play a major role in coding and reporting these criteria. The workshop will first review the basic Medicare requirements for mental health assessment, intervention and documentation. We will also review basic Medicare billing strategies. We will then explore the more complex aspects of Medicare including PQRS, secondary insurances, codes for special circumstances, and a variety of helpful strategies that have been learned via trial and error. Finally, we will introduce attendees to MIPS and the upcoming requirements proposed by Medicare. Plenty of time will be available for questions and exploration of your unique experiences with coding and billing mental health services. By the end of this workshop, you will be ready for the changes coming in 2017 and 2018.

 

OUTLINE

Review of Medicare requirements for mental health services

Medical necessity, documentation, physician definition, FFS vs Advantage plans, 

H&B codes/complexity & add-on codes

Detailed examination of PQRS

Available measures, reporting options, billing codes, MAV, Quality Net help desk

MIPS & other new Medicare requirements

Quality measurement, psychologist reporting requirements for next 2 years

Exploration of billing strategies

What both psychologists & billers need to know, strategies for special populations/place of service (acute care, LTACH, Rehab, SNF, hospice), unique billing differences among various insurers, appealing denials

Panel discussion with Q&A

Ask questions, explore coding & billing challenges, learn from other attendees, network

 
 

Learning Objectives

 At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

 

Ø Recognize & define key Medicare requirements for mental health services

Ø Identify available measures and billing codes for PQRS along with appropriate reporting options, and help resources

Ø Describe MIPS and other new Medicare requirements

Ø Outline billing strategies both psychologists & billers should know for special populations/places of service and unique insurance requirements

Ø Give examples of coding and billing challenges

Presenters

 

Dori Bischmann, PhD

Dori Bischmann is a clinical psychologist with 25 years of Medicare experience both as an employee and in private practice. She has worked in a variety of settings including medical and psychiatric hospitals, long-term care and outpatient sites. Currently, she is employed half-time as a rehabilitation psychologist in a system with electronic health records (EHR) and introduced PQRS to that system. In her private practice, she has participated in the PQRS system since its inception. Dori is involved in many professional activities regarding PQRS. As the WPA liaison to Medicare, she is involved in trying to improve the Medicare system and educating Wisconsin psychologists about Medicare and PQRS. As the APA Federal Advocacy Coordinator (FAC) for Wisconsin, she advocates for Medicare issues at the national level along with FACs from every state and territory. She is the APA representative to the Physician’s Consortium of Provider Improvement, an AMA group that oversees the development of PQRS measures.

Diane Pedulla, JD

Diane Pedulla is the Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Practice Directorate of the American Psychological Association. She is responsible for monitoring federal policies that affect the independent practice of psychology, including coverage and reimbursement issues. Currently, her work focuses on performance measurement and quality reporting, including the development and marketing of the APAPO PQRSPRO registry for PQRS reporting in Medicare, the first registry designed specifically for psychologists and other mental health professionals. Diane holds a JD degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, an MS in Higher Education from Syracuse University, and a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Prior to joining APA in 1999, she served as an attorney for the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC, and San Francisco, CA.

 

Heather Hutchison, MHA

Heather Hutchison is Office Manager at Behavioral Solutions in Milwaukee. She holds a Masters degree in Health Care Administration from the University of St Francis – Joliet and a Bachelors in Health Care Administration/Business from UW Milwaukee. With 10 years of billing experience, Heather currently runs the life cycle of a claim from start to finish including insurance verification, billing, collections and appeals with mental health services in various place of services. She has extensive experience in billing Medicare for psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychologists who provide services to SNF, LTACH, assistive living, rehabilitation, home and various outpatient locations. She is knowledgeable in PQRS and coding   

Location / Reservations 

The Hilton Garden Inn is located just off I-94 near Oconomowoc. There is no room block reserved for this workshop, but rates at this facility are very reasonable. Call 262-200-2222 or go online for reservations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychology has a Hero!

Pro Photo of Amy Rosett (2)      

Our hero’s name is Dr. Amy Rosett, a California psychologist who challenged CMS and won!

This is her story:   In 2014, Amy participated in PQRS, reporting measures via claims. While CMS required providers to report 9 measures to receive a bonus, Amy was only able to report 8 measures because there were a limited number of measures pertinent to psychology and her geropsychology practice that can be reported via claims.   Her reporting rate was 100% for each of the 8 measures she reported. She went through the MAV (Measure applicability process: CMS computerized process which attempts to fairly evaluate providers who do not have 9 available measures to report) . The MAV indicated that Amy did not meet 2014 PQRS bonus requirements because she should have used measure # 46 and #317.     Measure #46 (Medication reconciliation post-discharge) requires the provider to review a recent inpatient medication list and correct any discrepancies between the inpatient and outpatient medication list  (To fully reconcile errors, the provider must have the capacity to prescribe, adjust dosages or discontinue a medication).  Measure #317 (screening for high blood pressure) requires providers to measure blood pressure during a session and counsel patients about abnormal blood pressure readings.  While our initial assessment and psychotherapy CPT codes are connected to these measures, most psychologists agree (informal survey, Bischmann 2016) that the quality actions (taking a blood pressure and reconciling medications) required by these measures are not within most psychologist’s scope of practice.

Amy reached out to Diane Pedulla, JD, APAPO (APA provider organization) who specializes in Medicare.  Amy wondered if other psychologists were denied by the MAV review because they hadn’t used  the blood pressure and medication reconciliation measure.  There was little information regarding the experiences psychologists were having with PQRS and the MAV. Mostly, we heard that many psychologists were frustrated with PQRS and had given up on it. Diane helped Amy write an “informal review and submit it to the quality net help desk (qnetsupport@hcqis.org).

Per CMS protocol, the “informal review”  is a formal way to appeal the MAV results.   In her review, Amy aptly pointed out that most psychologists are not trained to measure blood pressure and this is outside our scope of practice.  She also pointed out that the medication reconciliation measure states the measure is to be performed by “physician, prescribing practitioner, registered nurse, or clinical pharmacist.” Psychologists are not included in the list nor do we have the prescribing capacity to correct a medication list.

Unfortunately, Amy’s informal review supported the original MAV results: CMS expected Amy to have performed the blood pressure and medication reconciliation measure.   Amy wasn’t willing to accept this.  With Diane Pedulla’s assistance, a request was made via APA for CMS to review the outcome of Amy’s informal review.  CMS reviewed the outcome and agreed that Amy’s informal review came to the wrong conclusion.  Amy won!

CMS is a large governmental organization. Various departments administer different portions of the PQRS, MAV and provider feedback process.  Amy’s initial denial via the MAV was an unintended consequence.  The issue is that providers such as nurses and others use the CPT codes psychologist’s use.  While it is appropriate for psychiatric nurse practitioners to measure blood pressure and complete a medication reconciliation, it is not typical for psychologists to perform these actions.   Through Amy’s determination, CMS recognized a flaw in the MAV system and they are working on correcting it.

CMS is asking that psychologists send examples (e.g. screen shots, copies etc) of reports they get via MAV so that CMS  can continue to correct any errors and make PQRS work as it was intended.  You might wonder why CMS cannot review information internally to identify errors. Apparently, the people who approve the measures and set up the formula’s for the MAV do not have access to the reports that providers receive.

APA asks that you send examples to pracgovt@apa.org.  You can also send things to me and I will make sure it gets to APA.

 

Written by:  Dori Ann Bischmann, PhD

WPA liaison to Medicare

Advocacy Cabinet

References:

AMA (2015).  Measure #46 (NQF 0097): Medication Reconciliation Post-Discharge-National Quality Strategy Domain:  Communication and Care Coordination.

AMA (2015). Measure #317: Preventive Care and Screening:  Screening for High Blood Pressure and Follow-Up Documented-National Quality Strategy Domain: Community/Population Health.

APAPO (winter 2016).  Participating Successfully in the Medicare PQRS Program:  What to know and do for the 2015 and 2016 reporting years.  Good Practice:  Tools and information for Professional Psychologists, 12-15.

Rosett, A. (2015/2016) personal communications regarding PQRS.  California. http://www.dramyrosett.com.

QualityNet Help Desk (1-866-288-8912, qnetsupport@hcqis.org).

 

 

Pqrs Inquiry

I need your help.   I am trying to gather information regarding psychologist’s experiences with PQRS to share with APA.  I would appreciate any info you can provide about your own experiences and/or what you have heard from peers.

 

Here are some questions to guide you to the types of information I need.

 

  1.  Do you participate in PQRS?   If not, what factors contribute to your decision not to participate?

The following questions are for those who participate in PQRS:

  1. How do you report?   Claims, registry, EHR, GPRO?
  2. For 2014 data, how many measures did you report?
  3. Did you go through the MAV?
  4. Did you pass the MAV?
  5. Did you submit an informal review to CMS?
  6. If you submitted an informal review, what were the results?

7.  Are you aware that there are measures that include 90791 and the psychotherapy codes that require: taking a blood pressure and doing a “medication reconciliation?”

8.  Do you think that it is the scope of practice of most psychologists to measure blood pressure or do medication conciliation? Are these activities that you would feel appropriate doing in your practice?

9. Any other comments you would like to make are very welcome.

 

Thank you in advance for your help.  I will not be including any names in the summary information I provide to APA.  Although I haven’t written on this blog for a long time.  I continue to work on PQRS with others around the nation who work on PQRS issues for and on behalf of psychologists.  We are working to improve the process for psychologists and other providers. As you can imagine, working with CMS is a slow process.

Written by: Dori Ann Bischmann PHD

on behalf of the Advocacy Cabinet, Wisconsin Psychological Association.

 

 

PQRS Questions

Recently, A clinic in SouthEastern Wisconsin sent a variety of questions trying to understand PQRS.  I am addressing these questions here so everyone can benefit.

Question:  In PQRS, how many measures are required for each

patient?  This is technically difficult to answer.  I suppose the best answer is:  As many as possible, up to nine”      Medicare requires that providers complete nine measures (if available) on at least 50% of their fee for service patients.  However, depending on how you report (e.g. claims or registry) you may not have 9 available measures.  For psychologists reporting via claims, there are 7 available measures.  However, not all of these measures will be appropriate for your practice or for each of your patients.  For example, measure #317:  Screening for high blood pressure and follow-up plan is a measure that few psychologists will choose to use, although it is available to us.  Measure #181:  elder maltreatment screen and follow-up plan is available, but not appropriate for patients who are younger than 64 years.  

Question:  If a patient is being screened for depression (#134),

a Geriatric Depression Scale is used and indicates depression, is G8431 the

only billing code required?  You would report G8431 if you report via claims, you screened for clinical depression using a standardized tool, found depression and documented a follow-up plan.   If you report via claims and did not find depression and thus follow-up plan not appropriate you would report code G8510.  If you did not perform the measure because the patient was not appropriate (i.e. too medically ill to test) you would report G8433.  Don’t forget to also include the procedure code (i.e. 90791) and diagnosis code.   If you are reporting via registry, you don’t report any of the G-codes or CPTII codes. 

b.      Is this the only measure required for this patient?  No, this is not the only measure required for this patient.  You should complete as many measures as are available for each patient up to 9 measures.  Available measures will vary depending on:  how you report (claims vs registry), the age of the patient, the CPT code you are using and possibly the patient’s diagnosis.   If reporting via claims, the average older adult being screened for depression at the time of initial evaluation (CPT 90791 or 96150), would also be eligible for measure #128 (BMI screening), Measure #130 (verification of meds), measure #131 (pain assessment), Measure #181 (elder maltreatment screen), measure #226 (tobacco screening), measure #317 (blood pressure screen).  If you are reporting via registry, there are additional measures available.

Note that some measures can be used with all of the CPT codes psychologists use.  Other measures are only available to be used with assessment CPT codes.  The majority of measures are reporting once per reporting period (1 year), but some are required at every session (med review) and some are required to be completed every two years.  You must read each measure to determine the qualifications for that measure.  

c.       Are there any specific instruments required to screen for

depression?  Yes and no.  CMS requires that you use a standardized tool that has been “appropriately normalized and validated for the population in which it is used.”   Then they provide some examples such as Patient Health Questionnaire (PhQ9), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI or BDI-II) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS).  They give other examples as well.  Just use a scale that you know has been normed and validated for the particular population you work with and you will be fine.

2) Can you provide an example of  “nine measures across three domains?”  CMS has determined that measures cluster into national quality strategy domains (NQS).  These are just types of measures that CMS believes are important such as “Effective clinical care,” “Patient safety,” “community/population health.” CMS wants providers to choose measures across domains and not just use measures from one domain.  Psychologist’s don’t have to worry about this too much.  In claims reporting, we only have 7 measures we can use and these measures represent at least 3 of the various domains.  Use the measures available and you will automatically report measures over three domains.

What exactly does it mean and how does an individual provider comply?

2)               3)  How often must measures be reported for each patient?

Every session?  Once per month or year?  An individual provider complies by reporting as many measures as available for that provider up to 9 measures.  Reporting via claims, a psychologist has only 7 available measures.  One of the measures pertains to blood pressure which most psychologists will not use, effectively there are 6 measures available.  However, one of the 6 available measures is screening of elder abuse for patients 65 and older, so patients who are younger than 65 will only have 5 measures available.  

The best way to do this is to prepare a cover sheet listing all available measures that you will use in your practice.  Attach appropriate screening devices to your face sheet so you have everything you need to complete the measures.  

Plan to complete the measures at each initial evaluation and you have met the requirement for most of the measures for the year for most of your patients.  Some measures on your face sheet may not be applicable to your patient due to age, dx or other factor.  Simply cross that measure off.  You can only complete as many measures for that patient as are appropriate to that patient.  

Some measures such as #130 (medication review) must be reported at every session and both assessment (90791, 90792, 96150) and psychotherapy codes (90832 etc.) are eligible.  Some measures such as #131 (pain assessment) require reporting “at every session,”  but the only CPT codes available are assessment codes and thus you never report pain assessment with a psychotherapy session.  

Most of these measures, unless otherwise specified need to be reported only once a year so doing them during initial evaluation meets criteria for most of the measures and patients.  Note that if you are seeing a patient over more than one year, you should repeat the measures sometime during the second and each subsequent year that you see that particular patient.     

3)                4)  For what length of time are measures required to be

reported for each patient? Measures are generally required to be reported once per year per patient.   Each measure is different so you must read the requirements for each measure.  As stated above, the medication review measure requires reporting at each session.    Each eligible patient (only Medicare FFS, not Medicare Advantage, Medicaid or Commercial) should have measures repeated at least once per year (or more often if specified by the particular measure). 

4)               5) For what percentage of all Medicare patients are

measures required?  Is there a minimum of patients for which reporting is

required (what if I only see one or two Medicare patients)? You must report on at least 50% of your Medicare FFS patients.  If you only have one Medicare FFS patient, you would report on only that one.  While CMS presents reporting as mandatory, it is really only mandatory if you wish to avoid the 2% penalty to your Medicare reimbursements.  Some providers may make the financial decision not to report because it is less costly to not report for a few Medicare patients, than to learn the PQRS system and do the work required.  I can vouch that It is a very long and complex learning curve to figure out PQRS and do it correctly.  There are other benefits to reporting that may have an impact later on.  For example, the goal of the Affordable Care Act is to establish a score for each provider that is public (see physician compare website) and used to determine that providers quality as a provider.  PQRS reporting is one way to positively contribute to your score.

5)               6) Are there any specific assessment instruments that are

required to be completed for any measure?   CMS recommends that the instruments be normed and validated for the specific population you are working with and CMS gives some examples of appropriate instruments.  It is up to you to select the instrument you feel is best for your population.   You will have to read the requirements for each measure.  They all vary.

6)               7) As independent practitioners, but part of a clinic, does

each psychologist have to sign up, or can we just start reporting?   It depends on how you are reporting.  Most clinicians are still reporting via claims.  With claims reporting, each clinician reports independently via the normal billing claims.  There is no requirement that all clinicians participate in a given clinic (unless you report via GPRO).  With claims reporting, each provider is independent.  You must report the pqrs measure at the time you place a claim to be paid for your service.  If you are reporting via registry, you can collect the data all year and report at the end of the year (usually through February of the subsequent year).  If you are reporting via GPRO (also through a registry), info is extracted from the medical record and the group gets credit for meeting criteria and it doesn’t matter so much what an individual provider did or didn’t complete. 

Summary:   PQRS is complex.  One can report in a variety of ways.  Requirements vary depending on reporting method, patient age, CPT code used and in some cases the patient’s diagnosis.  Each measure has unique requirements, so a provider has to be familiar with the requirements of each measure that is used.  Available measures and requirements are likely to change every year. PQRS (or some form of quality measurement) is here to stay.  I recommend that providers learn the system now while everyone is going through the learning curve.  Errors are tolerated now more than they might be in the future.  Eventually, this data (and other data) will be used for establishing a “quality score” for each provider.   This score can be used to determined your payment rate for not only Medicare, but for all insurances.  Participating in PQRS will positively impact your score.  The Affordable Care Act requires payments to be based upon quality of services and not just the service per se.  Thus, we will all be paid somewhat differently for the same CPT code based upon our unique quality score.

Written by Dori Ann Bischmann, PhD

Advocacy Cabinet

Wisconsin Psychological Association

Measure #317: Preventive care and screeing: Screening for High blood pressure and follow-up

High blood pressure screen #317

2015 reporting options:  Claims and registry

Patient age:  18 and up

Diagnosis Code:  No specific diagnosis is associated with this measure.  Measure not appropriate for patients who already have an active diagnosis of hypertension.

CPT codes:  90791, 90832, 90834, 90837, 96118

Reporting requirements:  1. Report once per reporting period (calendar year). 2. Measure blood pressure during the qualifying session.  You can not obtain the measurement from an outside source (such as the medical record).  My interpretation of this is that you must do the blood pressure reading yourself or you could have an aid/nurse do the reading in your presence.    3. If BP falls in the pre-hypertensive or hypertensive range, document a follow-up plan (see CMS for recommendations on possible follow-up plans). 

Blood pressure parameters:

Prehypertensive:  greater than 120/80 but less than 139/89

Hypertensive:  greater than 140/90 

Please see CMS.GOV, 2015 measures list for additional details about this measure.

Resources:

CMS.GOV (12/23/14).  2015 measures list, Measure #317 Preventive Care and Screening:  Screening fo High Blood Pressure and Follow-up Documented_National Quality Strategy Domain: Community/Population Health   

Blog Author:  Dori Ann Bischmann, PhD

WPA Advocacy Cabinet