CEO SUMMARY: When the American Clinical Laboratory Association filed its lawsuit Dec. 11 against the Secretary of Health and Human Services, one of its main claims is that HHS collected payment data on the clinical laboratory testing business in a manner that was deeply flawed. HHS then used that flawed data to set payment rates
Laboratory BillingSkip to articles
The laboratory billing process is the interaction between a clinical lab or pathology group and the insurance company (payer). The entirety of this laboratory billing interaction is known as the billing cycle, which can take anywhere from several days to several months to complete, and require several interactions before a resolution is reached. The entire process is the function of what is commonly known as the laboratory coding/billing/collections department.
Laboratory billing starts with laboratory coding. After a lab service is provided, diagnosis and procedure codes are assigned. These codes assist the insurance company in determining coverage and medical necessity of the services. The codes used for laboratory billing are the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, usually called by the short-form name International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes.
The ICD is the international “standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes.” The current version is ICD-9, with ICD 10 scheduled to become the new standard on Oct. 15, 2015. It is maintained by the World Health Organization, the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations System. The ICD is designed as a health care classification system, providing a system of diagnostic codes for classifying diseases, including nuanced classifications of a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease.
The CPT code set is a medical code set maintained by the American Medical Association through the CPT Editorial Panel. The CPT (copyright protected by the AMA) describes medical, surgical, and diagnostic services and is designed to communicate uniform information about medical services and procedures among physicians, coders, patients, accreditation organizations, and payers for administrative, financial, and analytical purposes.
Once the procedure and diagnosis codes are determined, the lab bill enters the laboratory collections/revenue cycle management phase. The payer is usually billed electronically by formatting the claim as an ANSI 837 file and using Electronic Data Interchange to submit the claim file to the payer directly or via a clearinghouse. The payer processes the claims usually by medical claims examiners or medical claims adjusters. For higher dollar amount claims, the insurance company has medical directors review the claims and evaluate their validity for payment using rubrics (procedure) for patient eligibility, provider credentials, and medical necessity.
Approved claims are reimbursed for a certain percentage of the billed services. These rates are pre-negotiated between the health care provider and the insurance company. Failed claims are denied or rejected and notice is sent to provider. Most commonly, denied or rejected claims are returned to providers in the form of Explanation of Benefits (EOB) or Electronic Remittance Advice.
Upon receiving the denial message the provider must decipher the message, reconcile it with the original claim, make required corrections and resubmit the claim. This exchange of claims and denials may be repeated multiple times until a claim is paid in full, or the provider relents and accepts an incomplete reimbursement.
CEO SUMMARY: Pass-through billing arrangements, particularly those involving clinical laboratory tests, have long been recognized by healthcare attorneys as having great potential to violate certain federal and state laws. Despite this fact, board members of a financially-struggling community hospital went forward with a pass-through billing agreement that news accounts says committed the hospital to pay
CEO SUMMARY: Anthem charged 37-bed Sonoma West Medical Center in Sebastopol, Calif., of engaging in an improper billing scheme to defraud Anthem and its affiliated Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. In effect, the charge is a notification to SWMC that Anthem intends to sue SWMC and its owner if it does not recover the $13.5 million in a timely
DEEP PRICE CUTS to the Medicare Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule was the big story of 2017. The big story of 2018 may be the widespread financial disruption to the clinical lab industry as labs see dramatic declines in their revenue from these Medicare fee cuts.
One early opportunity for lab administrators and pathologists to
CEO SUMMARY: Anticipating the negative financial impact of the Medicare 2018 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, a community lab company serving 24 nursing homes on the Jersey Shore stopped offering such services at the end of last year, a lab director told THE DARK REPORT. “The same forces driving this laboratory to close its nursing home
CEO SUMMARY: Members of Joint Venture Hospital Laboratories in Michigan anticipate that the 2018 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule rates being implemented under PAMA will lower payment from Medicare to less than the cost of running tests, especially for rural and critical access hospitals. CMS established the 2018 CLFS under the Patient Access to Medicare Act
CEO SUMMARY: In a lawsuit filed last month, the American Clinical Laboratory Association charged that HHS failed to comply with the statutory requirements of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 when setting the 2018 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule. In the lawsuit, ACLA said HHS disregarded the law’s requirement that all applicable laboratories would
CEO SUMMARY: In September, Aetna filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania accusing 14 defendants—including a hospital, a hospital management company, eight lab companies or lab management companies, two physicians, and two individuals—of defrauding Aetna, its client employers, and its members. The lawsuit is an example of a lab test arrangement in which independent lab companies and
MEDICARE OFFICIALS PUBLISHED the final Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule for 2018 last Friday. Some changes clinical labs will welcome. The rates remain deeply flawed, however, and will cause many labs to lay off staff and others to close, experts said Saturday.
How CMS set the rates remains problematic, stated Julie Khani, President of the
MIXED IN THE BAD NEWS concerning the proposed Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule for 2018, there is some good news regarding what the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposes to pay for certain advanced diagnostic tests.
After analyzing the proposed fee schedule, Quorum Consulting of San Francisco, reported, as other analysts have concluded, that CMS