99495-99496: Two New Codes to Report Transitional Care Management (TCM…

99495-99496: Two New Codes to Report Transitional Care Management (TCM…

dominant care specialties will receive the largest increase in payment by virtue of a new payment for managing a Medicare beneficiary’s care when the beneficiary is discharged from an outpatient hospital observation, inpatient hospital, community mental health center, uncompletely hospitalization sets or from an SNF. While announcing its new policy, CMS acknowledged that the extensive non-confront-to-confront care coordination provided by physicians and nurses was not considered in the existing payment schedule for E/M (Evaluation & Management) sets. The new directive will provide payments for physicians in addition as other healthcare providers for coordinating care transitions of Medicare beneficiaries after they are discharged from hospitals/skilled nursing facilities to assisted living facilities or their own homes. The new rule is effective from January 1, 2013.

The New Codes: 99495 & 99496

CMS has a clear objective in introducing these new codes for Transitional Care Management (TCM) sets. They are intended to prevent emergency department visits and re-hospitalizations during the first 30 days after release. except dominant care physicians who would be billing for most of these sets, specialists who provide necessary sets can also bill these new CPT codes.

TCM Code Requirements

  • 99495, TCM: Communication (direct contact, telephone, electronic) with the patient and/or caregiver within two business days of release; Medical decision-making of at the minimum moderate complexity during the service period; confront-to-confront visit within 14 calendar days of release.
  • 99496, TCM: Communication (direct contact, telephone, electronic) with patient and/or caregiver within two business days of release; Medical decision-making of high complexity during the service period, confront-to-confront visit within seven calendar days of release.

It is to be noted that both these codes necessitate communication with the patient and/or care provider within two business days of release, plus a confront-to-confront visit with the patient within a fixed time period. Decision regarding medication and management must be made at the minimum by the day of the confront-to-confront visit.

Non confront-to-confront care coordination sets can be carried out by the provider and/or licensed clinical staff under his/her direction. However, the confront-to-confront visit is to be performed by the providers themselves with staff assistance.

Fee Schedule for the New TCM Codes

The values stated to the new TCM codes are 4.82 relative value units for Code 99495 and 6.79 relative value units for Code 99496. Provided the Congress prevents the impending 26.5% cut to payments for physicians and maintains the current conversion factor of $34.0066, the payments for these codes will be:

In non-facility (Physician office) settings:

  • Code 99495: $163.91
  • Code 99496: $230.90

In facility (Outpatient hospital) settings:

  • Code 99495: $134.67
  • Code 99496: $197.58

These codes can be billed only after at the minimum 30 days post release, when the service period is completed. The dominant care motive payments will not be additional to these amounts.

Points to Keep in Mind

  • Make sure that you bill only for post-release patients who require moderate or high-complexity medical decision making.
  • The initial confront-to-confront visit need not necessarily be in the office.
  • The first confront-to-confront visit with the patient after release is part of the TCM service and cannot be reported separately. E/M sets provided additionally can be reported separately.
  • Documentation guidelines for E/M are not applicable to these codes. Providers must consequently take into account how they would like to document the non confront-to-confront sets that are required by codes. Complexity of the medical decision making, timing of the first communication after release, and date of the confront-to-confront visit will have to be proven.
  • Providers can use these codes to bill for new in addition as established patients.
  • release sets and the confront-to-confront visit required under the TCM code cannot be provided on the same day. However, the same practitioner who bills for release sets can also bill for TCM sets. Importantly, the same practitioner cannot report TCM sets provided during a post-surgery period for a service with a global period since it is understood that these sets are already included in the payment for the inner procedure.
  • A very important point to remember is that only one practitioner can bill for TCM sets during the 30 days post release of a patient. The first practitioner to bill for the service alone will receive reimbursement. consequently, practitioners should necessarily communicate with the patient and/or caregiver, and the discharging physician to be clear about who will be managing the TCM sets.
  • Practitioners can bill for TCM only once in the 30 days after release already if the patient happens to be discharged 2 or more times within the 30-day period.
  • Providers cannot bill for other care coordination sets (such as care plan oversight codes 99339, 99340, 99374 – 99380) provided during the TCM period.

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