We are often told that life has no instruction book. Personally, I have seen this blatantly come true in the form of my daily dealings with my 3-year-old son. I also longed for a better set of rules back in 1990, when I found myself briefly dating a woman who thought she was telekinetic, but was actually a hypochondriac. No worries, though. I came out unscathed and not once was she able to throw me across the room using only the power of her mind.
In the realm of Medicare denials, currently, under Version 4010 of the X12 electronic billing standards, Medicare offers very little in the way of pointing the EOMB recipient to a solution for a denial. With time, an experienced follow-up specialist can train themselves to understand in what direction each claim adjustment reason code (CARC) and remittance advice remark code (RARC) is pointing, leading to faster resolution.
Version 5010, set to be implemented by CMS beginning on January 1st, 2012, is slated to make this process much easier. As part of Version 5010, if a claim is denied due to a conflict with a Local Coverage Determination (LCD) or a National Coverage Determination (NCD), the Explanation of Medicare Benefits will indicate what LCD or NCD is being applied in the denial of this claim.
Given that local carriers now have their LCD’s categorized on the CMS website, first by carrier, then in alphabetical order (which is helpful roughly 30 % of the time), referring the follow-up specialist to the exact coverage determination will cut down on the amount of time needed to research these denial issues. As someone with daily involvement in Fi-Med’s denial management process, I cannot begin to tell you how I welcome this change.
While there are many other benefits to Version 5010, such as compatibility with ICD-10 and the removal of some redundancies found in the current version, finding a clearer path to a denial solution may turn out to be its most substantive change.
I look forward to the day when my lack of psychic powers ceases to be an impediment to the timely correction of Medicare denials. This whittles down my list of ”50-10″ challenges in my life down to what happens in 7 years when I’m 50 and my son is 10. I really need to get in shape….