December 2020 updates
STARK LAW REVISION: The law prohibiting Medicare self-referral was passed in 1989. As CMS has begun to realize the role of value-based payments, they became keenly aware certain arrangements that were previously prohibited could lead to improved quality outcomes, improved health system efficiencies, and lower costs. Details of this new role will become increasingly clear over the next few weeks but it is hopeful that demonstrating quality, cost-effective care will finally be rewarded as opposed to punished.
As many of you are aware, First Coast Service Options, which is the Medicare carrier for Florida, has joined with Novitas under a single parent company. It is expected that they will have similar if not identical coverage policies in the near future. New LCDs for FFR-CT and for non-invasive testing for stable ischemic heart disease are being developed. Although they’re developed by regional Medicare carriers, it is assumed that the chosen LCD will eventually serve as an NCD applicable to our patients with standard fee for service Medicare. A final coverage policy for FFR CT is being developed. The American College of Cardiology has recently submitted suggestions for expanding coverage.
Novitas is proposing an LCD on testing for stable ischemic heart disease. Cardiac PET is covered for perfusion but there is no specific mention of myocardial blood flow. FDG imaging for cardiac sarcoidosis is covered only if the patients are unable to carry out cardiac MRI. Serial testing in a stable asymptomatic patient is not considered appropriate for coverage. All stress modalities are considered equal. Therefore, it should clear the way for a clinician to choose the best test is for his/her patient. My concern is this may lead to test substitution. Again, our national ACC is very much involved in this.
First Coast is now requiring dual diagnosis for cardiac stress test time. This is leading to significant denials. Although most claims are paid on first or second appeal, it can take up to 120 days or more for payment. Obviously, this is unacceptable. National and state chapters and subspecialty organizations are all working on this together. For more information please review: https://medicare.fcso.com/Cardiology/0469513.asp.
United Health Care appears to be encouraging the use of coronary CTA and FFR-CT preferentially functional imaging (MPI, stress echo, stress CMR) in patients who are loaded intermediate risk they apply that most functional imaging will no longer be required in the future. There is significant industry support behind this initiative including an industry supported white paper that was published in JACC. The FCACC is working with national ACC to ensure the patient receives the right test at the right time when the physician completes the appropriate use criterion.
Humana has declared cardiac PET-CT an experimental procedure and is refusing coverage. All dedicated standalone PET cameras require CT attenuation and thus must carry out a CT scan for attenuation correction. This is clearly different from a hybrid diagnostic CT. Florida ACC is working with ASNC, SNMMI and national ACC in an attempt to resolve this critical reimbursement issue.
On the good news front BCBS of Florida is covering coronary CTA for intermediate preclinical risk ages 40-75. For details consult the following: http://mcgs.bcbsfl.com/MCG?activity=openSearchedDocMcg&imgId=75S7UABPY9FVM4CMREP
Local Coverage Determinations - HOW THE FL CHAPTER ACC GETS INVOLVED TO GET PATIENTS THE RIGHT CARE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Medicare uses a variety of mechanisms to set policies for coverage of services. At the national level, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may issue a National Coverage Determination (NCD). Medicare administrative contractors (MAC) may issue Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs) or may choose to cover services or therapies on a case-by-case basis. If an NCD or LCD does not exist, it does not simply mean that Medicare will not pay for the service.
When national coverage has not been specified in NCD, MACs may choose to provide coverage for a service through an LCD. An LCD may be written in a manner that provides broad coverage, coverage with certain restrictions, or non-coverage. MACs develop LCDs through a process that is less formal than that used to develop an NCD. That process includes expert feedback from designated physician representatives. In Florida these include our CAC Representatives listed about who attend three formal meetings per year and consult with our carrier, First Coast Service Options.
Additional Tools for Practices
Heart House has developed a network of CAC representatives from across the nation that meet as a group to review trends and analyze issues. The chair of the Third Party Reimbursement Committee is active at the national level through meetings and constant communication with colleagues.
National ACC has a web portal dedicated to practice issues. See this link for in-depth issues."Do Your PART" to Improve the Prior Authorization Process
The FDA has announced a global, voluntary recall of all unused inventory of the Boston Scientific LOTUS Edge™ Aortic Valve System due to “complexities associated with the product delivery system.” No safety issues are of concern for patients who currently have an implanted LOTUS Edge valve. Read more.
Why is proper documentation important to you and your patients? Find out how it affects items and services, claim payment and medical review in a new Provider Minute: The Importance of Proper Documentation video from CMS. Watch and learn about the top five documentation errors, how to submit documentation for a comprehensive error rate testing review, and how Medicare administrative contractors can help.here, and join the conversation on social media with #IRaiseTheRates, #NIVW and #FightFlu. Looking for patient-centered resources about the flu shot, such as downloadable infographics and how the flu affects the heart? Check out ACC’s CardioSmart patient education tools here.
Join your ACC for the Cardiovascular Summit Virtual from Feb. 12 – 13, 2021. Master cardiovascular management and leadership strategies through focused sessions and workshops on hot topics ranging from physician reimbursement to navigating new coding changes included in the final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Also don’t miss the COVID-19 plenary session led by Anthony S. Fauci, MD. Early Bird registration ends Dec. 18. Don’t forget to take advantage of group discounts for practices and institutions.
Several new coding changes, including Evaluation and Management (E/M) updates, will affect practices as soon as next month. Join MedAxiom next week for its December Coding Bootcamp, with sessions taking place daily from Dec. 14 – 17. Get details about the series and register individually for each session.
Immerse yourself in an educational experience featuring the latest cardiovascular management and leadership strategies at Cardiovascular Summit Virtual – taking place Feb. 12 – 13, 2021. Gain access to engaging plenary sessions, including a session on “COVID-19: Public Health and Scientific Challenges” featuring Anthony S. Fauci, MD, as well as focused educational intensives on topics like physician compensation and telehealth. Also don’t miss small group workshops on topics ranging from site neutrality to finding the right practice. Access the agenda and register today.
Join MedAxiom for its December Coding Bootcamp and prepare for 2021! Next year will introduce several coding changes, including Evaluation and Management updates, that will impact practices. The focused web series, with sessions taking place daily from Dec. 14 – 17, provides a unique opportunity to hear from experts about the latest in coding and set yourself up for success in 2021. Be sure to register individually for each session you wish to attend. Get details about the series.
Your ACC has developed several tools to help clinicians and patients understand and use the new ACC/American Heart Association guideline for managing patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Learn more about the Guideline and access the clinician and patient tools, including a clinician-focused HCM Guidelines Made Simple Tool, a CardioSmart patient infographic and a JACC Genetic Testing Interactive Tool, on ACC’s HCM Guideline Hub.
In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the decision to update their 2008 Guidance to Industry for diabetes drug development and released a draft for public comment based on numerous, rigorous cardiovascular outcome trials conducted since 2008. A new paper by Enrico G. Ferro, MD, et al., published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, explores the key events in this 12-year journey of drug development and compares the 2008 guidance with the proposed 2020 guidance. Read it here.
This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that physicians will have the option to opt-out completely or partially from the 2020 Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program by completing a hardship exemption application and indicating it is due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Individual clinicians and group practices have until Dec. 31, 2020 to complete the hardship application. Learn more.