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Cataract Awareness Month Focus: Coverage Policies & MAC Reviews

Published on 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

 | Billing 
 | Coding 
 | Quality 

MMP and RealTime Medicare Data (RTMD) have collaborated to highlight Health Awareness Month topics throughout the year with an infographic spotlight on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) paid claims data comparatives and a related article. June is Cataract Awareness Month. The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that “cataract is one of blindness in the United States. If not treated, cataracts can lead to blindness. In addition, the longer cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully remove the cataract and restore vision. During Cataract Awareness Month in June, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds the public that early detection and treatment of cataracts is critical to preserving sight.”

Did You Know?

According to (link) the average amount that a patient pays for extracapsular lens removal with insertion of intraocular lens prosthesis (CPT 66984) is $316 in the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) setting and $524 in a Hospital Outpatient Department.

Several Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) have Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs) and Local Coverage Articles (LCAs) related to cataract removal.

Why Does this Matter?

The CERT, Recovery Auditors and a two of the MACs are reviewing cataract procedure records. Reviews include the ASC and Hospital Outpatient Department Settings.

Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT)

In the 2020 Medicare Fee-for-Service Supplemental Improper Payment Data (link), the CERT review contractor indicates they reviewed 209 Part B claims and identified a 6% improper payment rate that equates to a projected improper payment amount of $111,696,441.

Recovery Auditors

There are currently three approved RAC issues related to cataracts:

  • Issue 0002: Cataract Removal: Medical Necessity & Documentation Requirements,
  • Issue 0083: Cataract Removal: Excessive Units (partial), and
  • Issue 0084: Cataract Removal: Partial Payment.

Provider Types they have been approved to review includes ASC, Outpatient Hospitals and specific to Issue 0083 and 0084 Professional Services.

CGS MAC for Jurisdiction 15 (J15)

Prior to CMS temporarily pausing the Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE) Program, reviewing Medicare Part A claims for cataract removal was part of CGS’, the MAC for Kentucky and Ohio, list of review topics. A Cataract Extraction with IOL ADR Checklist (link) is available on the CGS website.

Palmetto GBA JJ and JM

Palmetto GBA, the MAC for Jurisdictions J (Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee) and M (North and South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia) recently published service-specific post payment probe review results of CPT 66984, Extracapsular Cataract Removal with insertion for both Jurisdictions. Both articles include state specific findings, reasons for claims denials and recommendations to prevent future denials.

  • April 14, 2021, Palmetto GBA JJ Part B results (link): 680 claims were reviewed, with 110 (16.17%) claims being completely or partially denied. The charge denial rate of 15.65% equated to $59,466.77 in denials.
  • May 11, 2021, Palmetto GBA, JM Part B results (link): 2,508 claims were reviewed, with 128 (5.1%) claims being completely or partially denied. The charge denial rate of 5.13% equated to $76,598.10 in denials.

Based on their findings, Palmetto plans to continue post-payment reviews of CPT 66984 in both Jurisdictions.

What You Can Do About It?
  • Identify whether there is an applicable LCD and LCA for your MAC jurisdiction.
  • Read Palmetto GBA’s Cataract Removal article (link) which provides conditions or circumstances when lens extraction is considered medically necessary and therefore covered by Medicare.
  • Share this information with Providers performing these procedures at your facility.
  • Review a sample of your cataract claims for documentation supporting the medical necessity of the service.
  • CMS MLN Matters SE1319: Cataract Removal, Part B: (link)
Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

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.