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Are Your Drug Units Correct?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I remember from my days in Hospital Compliance that one of the most difficult issues was billing the correct drug units. This evidently continues to be a challenge for facilities based on the ongoing reminders from CMS and the numerous OIG audits that find errors in the billing of drug units.

Some of the issues that make this such a challenging area are:

  • Drug HCPCS codes must be billed based on the amount, such as milligrams (mgs) in the HCPCS code description, not on standard usage or packaging amounts.
  • Most hospitals accomplish this by using a “multiplier” in their charge description master (CDM), which presents the challenges of making sure all drugs that need a multiplier have one, there are no errors or typos in the multiplier amounts, and the multipliers are kept updated with code description changes.
  • CMS often changes drug HCPCS codes and/or the HCPCS description. This is especiallychallenging when the amount in the description changes.
  • Medical record documentation should include the dosage amount in the physician’s order and in the administration record.
  • If the dose administered does not match the dosage amount the physician ordered, a corrected order should be obtained from the ordering physician.
  • If the drug dose is based on the patient’s weight, there should be documentation in the medical record of the patient’s weight.
  • Medicare does not allow providers to bill for wastage of multi-dose vials.
  • When billing for wastage associated with single-dose vials, there should be documentation in the medical record of the dose given and the amount wasted.
  • Medicare is applying Medically Unlikely Edits (MUEs) to a number of drug quantities. Although there are no published MUEs for drugs (HCPCS “J” codes), it is the understanding of MMP, Inc. that the quantity limitations are based on manufacturer package inserts. Providers should carefully review Medicare remittances to determine which drugs are being denied for MUEs and the likely MUE quantity.

Recent OIG audits have identified some drugs that have had repeated billing errors by multiple facilities. The first has to do with the billing of the drug Herceptin (J9355- Injection, trastuzumab, 10 mg). It is the understanding of MMP, Inc. that Herceptin is only available in a multi-dose vial of 440 mg (44 units). There have been problems with a number of facilities billing for entire vials of Herceptin instead of the dosage administered to the patient. Since Herceptin is a multi-dose vial, it is not appropriate to bill for drug wastage. MMP, Inc. recommends that providers review any claims with Herceptin units in multiples of 44 (such as 44, 88, etc.) and verify that the units billed match the dosage administered to the patient. Note that in addition to the OIG audits, this issue is also targeted by Recovery Auditors (RAs) and Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) pre-payment audits.

Another interesting drug issue has to do with the drug Lupron. There are two HCPCS codes for Lupron Depot –

  • HCPCS code J1950 injection, leuporlide acetate (for depot suspension), per 3.75 mg)
  • FDA approved specifically for uterine disorders
  • Medicare ASP payment rate July 2012 of $653.299
  • HCPCS code J9217 (Leuporlide acetate (for depot suspension), 7.5mg).
  • FDA approved solely for advanced prostatic cancer
  • Medicare ASP paymentrate July 2012 of $216.750

Since the payment amount for the smaller dosage amount is over 3 times the amount of the payment for the larger dosage, using the incorrect HCPCS code can result in significant over or under-payment. Reference OIG report A-04-11-03069 for further discussion.

Other drugs that have been noted in recent OIG reports for incorrect units include:

  • adenosine
  • alpha 1–proteinase inhibitor
  • baclofen
  • bortezomib
  • cetuximab
  • doxorubicin HCl liposome
  • epoetin alfa
  • immune globulin
  • paclitaxel
  • pemetrexed
  • rituximab

MMP, Inc. encourages providers to be diligent in your reporting of the correct drug units by staying up to date on HCPCS code descriptions and changes, verifying correct multipliers in your CDM and by reviewing OIG, RA, and MAC audits to be aware of problem-prone drugs. For MMP, Inc. clients, note that we data-mine your 835 files for possible errors with high-risk, high-dollar drug units. Please contact MMP, Inc. if you have further questions concerning the billing of drug units.

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This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.