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Issue #118 - February 4, 2009  
AAPC EdgeBlast

Daschle Steps Down from HHS Bid
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota withdrew his name as nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the new Obama administration Tuesday morning.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are a part of HHS. Read more »

Comment »

SCHIP Bill Off to
White House for Final Signature

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) received full Senate passage Jan. 29. The $32.8 billion legislation passed 66-32 to preserve coverage for the 7.4 million children enrolled in SCHIP in 2008 and provide health coverage for an additional 4.1 million low-income, uninsured children in the United States. Read More »

Comment »

NCCI Code Pair Edits Need Correction
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has identified nine national correct coding initiative (NCCI) code pair edits that were erroneously included in the integrated outpatient code editor (I/OCE) version 10.0 with an implementation date of Jan. 5. Read more »

Comment »

2009 OPPS Final Rule Corrected
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published Jan. 26 in the Federal Register a correction (FR Doc E9-1519) to the 2009 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS)/Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) final rule regarding HCPCS code J3300. Read more »

Comment »

Final NCDs
Establish Non-Payment Policy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued Jan. 15 final decision memos for three national coverage determinations (NCDs) that establish non-payment policies for certain types of surgical “never events.”  Read more »

Comment »

Proposed Rule
Eases Cytology PT Requirements

Approximately 12,500 pathologists and cytotechnologists in the United States who screen and interpret Papanicolaou (Pap) tests to identify cervical cancers may soon be affected by a rule that alters their current requirements for cytology proficiency testing (PT). Read more »

Comment »

Coding Tips
Donít Believe Everything You Hear About PNBs
Some argue that peripheral nerve blocks (PNBs) have too many setbacks to make them a viable option for post-operative pain management. Others disagree. Brian Williams, MD, and Steven Orebaugh, MD, take a stab at “Dispelling 8 Peripheral Nerve Block Myths,” in the January 2009 online edition of Outpatient Surgery magazine. The article refers to another informative article, “The Economics of Peripheral Nerve Blocks,” featured in the March 2008 online edition of Outpatient Surgery.

Comment »

Secondary Diabetes Codes Require Specificity
Secondary diabetes is a new ICD-9-CM code category for 2009 that allows coders greater specificity in diagnosis coding — providing the specific type of diabetes and its root cause (when known) is documented. What if it isn’t? Elizabeth S. Scholz, RN, CPC, CPC-H, clarifies the clinical aspects of diabetes to help coders ask the right questions when querying a physician in the article “Look for Specific Documentation when Coding Diabetes Mellitus.” (JustCoding.com)

Comment »

Medical News
Outpatient Surgeries Gain Popularity
The number of outpatient surgery visits in the United States increased about 40 percent in the past 10 years — from 20.8 million in 1996 to 34.7 million in 2006. Free-standing centers saw the most activity, with the leading cause for visits being endoscopies of the large and small intestines, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Comment »

Plan Improves Cancer Survivor Follow-up Care
Only 28 percent of 300 breast cancer survivors who participated in a recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center felt their primary care physicians and oncologists communicated well together; and most were dissatisfied with their physicians’ knowledge of late effects of cancer therapies and ways to treat related symptoms. A survivorship plan may be the key to improving follow-up care. Read more »

Comment »

Study Supports Colonoscopy Without Sedation
Colonoscopy codes in CPT® 2009 all include moderate sedation, but a recent trend in the United States may be an indicator of things to come. Will the drive to lower health care spending be the impetus providers need to perform colonoscopies on patients without sedation? Read more »

Comment »

Teaching Aspects of TV Medical Dramas Debatable
The familiar statement “turn off the TV and do your homework” may be outdated. A recent study found all medical students watch TV medical dramas. Educators, however, debate whether shows like “House” and “Grey’s Anatomy” are viable sources for medical learning. Read more »

Comment »

Test Yourself Online
The Test Yourself questions can be accessed online at www.aapc.com/testyourself/. Once you go there and take the test, you can automatically grade your answers, correct any mistakes, and have your CEUs automatically added to your CEU Tracker for submission.

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Featured Items
Daschle Steps Down
SCHIP Bill
NCCI Code Pair
2009 OPPS Final Rule
Final NCDs
PT Requirements
Coding Tips
Medical News
Coding Job Links
Test Yourself Online


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