Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

ICD-9-CM Updates Are Now In Effect… Become Familiar With & Use Them To Ensure Efficient Billing And Timely Reimbursement

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

It’s that time of year again…  time to implement the ICD-9 coding updates. 

It is critical to your practice’s continuous income-flow that you review the following documents which detail the 2012 ICD-9 coding changes: 

  1. The ICD-9 “conventions” – essentially guidance on the symbols, abbreviatioins, etc…  found in the ICD-9
  2. The Complete 2012 ICD-9-CM Coding Updates & Rationales, which will comprise of documentation tips, an abbreviation/acronym guide, and the complete listing of all changes and rationales
  3. The summary listing of all of the code changes (this is more of a helpful tool – it should not necessarily include any information not otherwsie included in #2, above).

In order to ensure accurate and proper coding and billing, you should review these documents in order to identify any changes/updates made to diagnosis codes used by your practice.  Be sure to note any such changes so that claims can be submitted with minimal errors, or subsequent requests for notes (as is often the case when unspecified codes are utilized).

Please do not hesitate to contact M.E.D.I.C., Inc. should you have specific questions regarding this matter.

Coding & Billing Medicare Influenza Vaccines – Q Code Selection

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm

As 2011 is drawing to a close, and new coding guidelines are being published and disseminated, M.E.D.I.C., Inc. wanted to take this opportunity to alert you to updates regarding seasonal influenza vaccine pricing.  As of September 1, 2011, payment allowances for flu vaccines have changed. 

In 2011, CMS stopped accepting CPT code range 90654-90662 for the influenza vaccine (note that commercial carriers still accept them, but Medicare will not).  Rather, those codes have been replaced by a series of Q codes which relate to the brand name of the vaccine:  Q2035 relates to Afluria; Q2036 relates to Flulavel; Q2037 relates to Fluvirin; Q2038 relates to Fluzine; and Q2039 relates to those not otherwise specified… all are defined as “Influenza virus vaccine, split virus, when administered to individuals 3 years of age and older, for intramuscular use.”

Per CMS (, the pricing allowance from September 1st, 2011 through August 31st, 2012 will be as follows:  95% of the Average Wholesale Price, as listed below: 

  • Q2035 (Afluria): $11.543
  • Q2036 (Flulaval): $8.784
  • Q2037 (Fluvirin): $13.652
  • Q2038 (Fluzone): $13.306
  • Q2039 (N.O.S.): locally priced

Because the compensation differs for each product, providers must be sure to alert their billing staff/billing company to the specific brand of flu vaccine that is being administered to patients, so that they can ensure that claims are submitted to Medicare with the appropriate corresponding code.  In the event that the Q2039 “not otherwise specified” code is used, the claim will likely be denied, and additional information in the form of visit notes will be sought.  So, please – be sure to provide the brand specificity at the outset to ensure efficient processing and payment of your claims.

Furthermore, in addition to the Q codes, the HCPCS code G0008 for the Administration of the Influenza Vaccine must still be used for the administration of the flu vaccine for all Medicare patients.

Annual Part B deductible and coinsurance amounts do not apply for the influenza virus and the pneumococcal vaccinations. 

All physicians, non-physician practitioners, and suppliers who administer these vaccinations must take assignment on the claim for the vaccine.

When billing flu shots to commercial carriers (i.e., non-Medicare), the Q codes are not applicable.  Practices will generally  code the following (but remember, the code used will depend on the route of administration (intramuscular vs. intranasal), the age of patient, the formulation, and whether the vaccine is preservative free, and split or live virus — each of which relate to influenza vaccine codes 90654-90668):

  • CPT 90471 – Immunization administration (includes percutaneous, intradermal, subcutaneous, or intramuscular injections); 1 vaccine (single or combination vaccine/toxoid), and
  • CPT 90658 Influenza virus vaccine, split virus, when administered to individuals 3 years of age and older, for intramuscular use