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July 2021 Pro Tips: Prior Authorization for Certain Hospital Outpatient Department (OPD) Services

Published on 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Welcome to the second monthly edition of MMP’s P.A.R. Pro Tips. For those new to the Wednesday@One, MMP has collaborated with RealTime Medicare Data (RTMD), to develop a proprietary Protection Assessment Report (P.A.R.). This report is a combination of current Medicare Fee-for-Service review targets with hospital specific Medicare Fee-For-Service paid claims data. As a bonus to our Wednesday@One readers, we have begun to provide useful “Did You Know” information that we come across in our ongoing review of key websites (i.e., Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), OIG, Recovery Auditors, etc.)

Did You Know?

The Prior Authorization for Certain Hospital OPD Services was implemented effective July 1, 2020. On July 1, 2021, two additional services were added to the list of services requiring prior authorization (Spinal Neurostimlators and Cervical Fusion with Disc Removal). The full list of HCPCS codes requiring prior authorization is available on the CMS webpage dedicated to this process (link).

Pro Tip: MAC Education

MACs nationwide have been providing education to providers regarding this program and more specifically the two new services that have been added to the list of services requiring prior authorization. Following is a sampling of information available for hospital outpatient departments:

CGS (Jurisdiction 15)

CGS’ OPD Prior Authorization webpage (link) walks providers through the process of submitting a prior authorization request, outlines medical record documentation requirements to meet coverage criteria, provides a detailed exemption process timeline, and information about claims submission and appeals. There are also several “NOTES” included throughout this webpage, for example:

  • “Although other providers, such as a physician/staff may submit a PAR on the hospital OPD’s behalf, departmental collaboration is crucial.”
  • “A PAR is valid for one claim/date of service.” Unlike MMP’s Protection Assessment Report (P.A.R.), the PAR related to this CMS program is an acronym for Prior Authorization Request.

    First Coast Service Options, Inc. (Jurisdiction N)

    In late June, First Coast modified their article Vein ablation and related services (link). This article includes:

    • Clinical definitions of veins, varicose veins, endovenous ablation, and chronic venous insufficiency,
    • Applicable HCPCS codes,
    • Documentation requirements,
    • Best practice/documentation feedback/tips and help,
    • Billing and coding alerts, and
    • References, including links to applicable Local Coverage Determination (LCD) and related Local Coverage Article (LCA).

    First Coast also released an updated Prior Authorization (PA) program Q&A document (link) on July 15th.

    National Government Services (NGS Jurisdiction K)

    On July 7, 2021, NGS posted an Outpatient Department Prior Authorization for Implanted Neurostimulators Alert (link). The alert begins by reminding providers that HCPCS 63650 is the only code that needs to be prior authorized for trial and permanent placement. The alert goes on to provide documentation requirements and links to related content.

    Noridian (Jurisdiction E)

    Noridian has created a Prior Authorization Lookup Tool to help providers determine which HCPSC codes require a prior authorization (link). They are also providing Prior Authorization for Certain Hospital Outpatient Department (OPD) Services webinars (link). One is scheduled for today July 21, 2021, and another one is scheduled for August 12, 2021.

    Novitas Solutions Jurisdiction (Jurisdiction H)

    On the Novitas webpage that is dedicated to this program (link), you will find the following:

    • Program background information,
    • Quick links to key documents,
    • General information,
    • Upcoming Education events,
    • Links to all applicable LCDs and LCAs,
    • Information about expedited requests, and
    • Contact Information.

    Palmetto GBA (Jurisdiction J)

    Palmetto has made available a Cervical Disc Spinal Fusion and Spinal Cord Stimulator On-Demand Webcast (link). On July 15th, Palmetto also posted an article detailing the Prior Authorization Exemption Process (link).

    WPS (Jurisdiction 5)

    On Monday, July 19th, WPS posted the following notice about spinal neurostimulators prior authorization requests:

    “Providers who perform and bill CPT code 63650 (percutaneous implantation of neurostimulator electrode array, epidural) must remember to request prior authorization (PA) for both the trial and permanent placement.

    Providers should submit a PA for the trial placement only if the plan is to perform the procedure in a hospital outpatient department (HOPD). Providers should submit one prior authorization request (PAR) when both the trial and the permanent placement will be in the same HOPD. WPS will only assign one Unique Tracking Number (UTN) that the provider should use to bill for both claims.

    If the trial and permanent placement are to occur at two separate HOPDs, then the provider will need two separate UTNs as each HOPD has their own Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN) and National Provider Identifier (NPI).”

    What Can You Do?

    For those involved in the Prior Authorization process at your hospital, be sure and check out available resources on your MAC specific webpage. CMS’s Review Contractor Directory – Interactive Map (link) among other Medicare Contractors, provides links to your state specific MAC.

  • 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.