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May 2021 Medicare Transmittals and Other Updates

Published on 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Medicare MLN Articles & Transmittals – Recurring Updates

July 2021 Quarterly Average Sales Price (ASP) Medicare Part B Drug Pricing Files and Revisions to Prior Quarterly Pricing Files
  • Article Release Date: April 27, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: This article includes quarterly updates effective July 1, 2021 for ASP and Not Otherwise Classified (NOC) drug pricing files for Medicare Part B drugs.
  • MLN MM12244: (link)
International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) and Other Coding Revisions to National Coverage Determinations (NCDs) – July 2021
  • Article Release Date: May 18, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: You will find information about updated ICD-10 conversions and coding updates specific to NCDs as a result of newly available code, coding revisions to NCDs released separately and coding feedback received.
  • MLN MM12124: (link)
Quarterly Update to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Database (MPFSDB) – July 2021 Update
  • Article Release Date: May 21, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: July 2021 updates to the 2021 MPFS are detailed in this MLN article.
  • MLN MM12289: (link)
Remittance Advice Remark Code (RARC), Claims Adjustment Reason Code (CARC), Medicare Remit Easy Print (MREP) and PC Print Update
  • Article Release Date: May 21, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: MACs perform updates to the RARC and CARC based on the code update schedule and occur around March 1, July 1, and November 1.
  • MLN MM12220: (link)
Remittance Advice Remark Code (RARC), Claims Adjustment Reason Code (CARC), Medicare Remit Easy Print (MREP) and PC Print Update
  • Change Request Release Date: May 21, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: This recurring transmittal is a maintenance update of ICD-10 conversions and other coding updates specific to NCDs. Two NCDs specific to this update are NCD 30.3.3 Acupuncture for Chronic Low-Back Pain (cLBP), and NCD 20.33 Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair/Transcatheter Edge-to-Edge Repair (TMVR/TEER).
  • Change Request (CR) 12279: (link)

Other Medicare MLN Articles & Transmittals

New Waived Tests
  • Article Release Date: April 27, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: This article highlights newly FDA approved Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) waived tests.
  • MLN MM12204: (link)
Waiver of Coinsurance and Deductible for Hepatitis B Preventive Service Vaccine Code, Section 4104 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (the Affordable Care Act), Removal of Barriers to Preventive Services in Medicare
  • Article Release Date: May 11, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: The Hepatitis B vaccine (HCPCS 90739) has been added to the preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Consequently, coinsurance and deductibles won’t apply for this code. Medicare will make a reasonable cost reimbursement for Types of Bill (TOB) 012X, 013X, 022X, and 034X.
  • MLN MM12230: (link)
Addition of the Shared System CWF to the Business Requirements for the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Codes U0002QW and 87635QW Mentioned in Change Request 11765
  • Article Release Date: May 20, 2021
  • What You Need to Know: For labs billing MACs for COVID-19 testing services, this article informs you about a revision to CR 11765 that requires changes to Medicare Common Working File (CWF) for:
    • o HCPCS U0002QW [2019-nCoV Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19), any technique, multiple types or subtypes (includes all targets), non-CDC], and
    • o 87635 [Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNC or RNA0; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), amplified probe technique].
  • MLN MM12294: (link)

Other Medicare Updates

New CMS Hospital Star Ratings

On April 28th, CMS updated the Hospital Compare Overall Hospital Quality Ratings (link). Hospital specific scores are based on performance for 5 measure groups (Mortality, Safety of Care, Readmission, Patient Experience and Timely & Effective Care). April 2021 results:

  • 455 hospitals received the highest rating of 5 stars,
  • 1,018 hospitals received 3 stars, and
  • 204 hospitals received a 1 star rating.
Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Resources about the Private Payor Rate-Based CLFS

CMS posted the following information in the Thursday April 29, 2021 edition of MLN Connects (link): “If you’re a laboratory, including an independent laboratory, a physician office laboratory, or hospital outreach laboratory that meets the definition of an applicable laboratory under the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS), you must report information, including laboratory test HCPCS codes, associated private payor rates, and volume data.” You can find links to updated resources and the data collection and reporting timeline in the MLN Connects post.

April 29, 2021: CJR Three-Year Extension Final Rule

CMS released the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model Final Rule which extends the model through December 31, 2021 by adding an additional 3 performance years (PYs). This final rule also revises the episode of care definition, the target price calculation, the reconciliation process, the beneficiary notice requirements and the appeals process. The episode of care definition was revised to include outpatient Total Knee and Total Hip Arthroplasty (TKA/THA) procedures. You can read more about this Model on the CJR CMS webpage (link).

May 7, 2021: Advance Copy of Hospital Interpretive Guidelines for Admission, Discharge and Transfer Notification Requirements

CMS issued a memorandum (link) to State Survey Agency Directors providing an advance copy of the hospital interpretive guidelines for the admission, discharge, and transfer notification requirements outlined in the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule. This guidance is for Hospitals, Psychiatric Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals and it will also be published in an updated Appendix A of the State Operations Manual.

May 2021: United Healthcare Sepsis Claims Review Change Effective July 1, 2021

While this article focuses on Medicare updates, I believe it is important for Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialists and Utilization Review staff to be aware of this notice. United Healthcare (UHC) has announced (link) that “effective July 1, 2021, Medicare Advantage and commercial claims for sepsis-related treatment may be reviewed on a pre-payment or post payment basis.” UHC will use their Sepsis Clinical Guidelines which includes using Sepsis-3.

May 10, 2021: University of Miami to Pay $22 Million to Settle Claims Involving Medically Unnecessary Laboratory Tests and Fraudulent Billing Practices

This Department of Justice release (link) indicates that the University of Miami (UM):

  • Knowingly engaged in improper billing relating to its Hospital Facilities,
  • Billed federal health care programs for medically unnecessary laboratory tests for patients who received kidney transplants at the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI) – a transplant program operate by UM and Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) and
  • Caused JMH to submit inflated claims for reimbursement for pre-transplant laboratory testing conducted at the MTI.

This settlement resolves allegations made in three lawsuits filed under the qui tam (whistleblower) provisions of the False Claims Act.

May 18, 2021: CMS Delays Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) and Definition of “Reasonable and Necessary” Final Rule

MMP first wrote about this Proposed Rule in October 2020 (link). CMS published a notice further delaying this final rule until December 15, 2021 (link). They note this additional time provides “an opportunity to address all of the issues raised by stakeholders, especially Medicare patient protections, evidence criteria and lack of coordination between coverage, coding and payment.”

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.