Archive | December 2011

CMS Extends Deadline for Choosing Medicare Participation Status to February 14, 2012

Physicians now have until February 14, 2012 to choose their Medicare participation status for the year. The previous deadline was December 31, 2011. The effective date for any participation status change during the extension, however, remains January 1. If you feel you have to stop taking new Medicare patients in anticipation of the payment March 1, 2012 scheduled cut, share your disappointment with your representatives. MSNJ will keep physicians updated on the situation once Congress returns from its holiday recess in early January.

NJ Medicaid Commits to Assisting Specialists in EHR Transition

NJ Medicaid will support 500 specialists transition to an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system through its partnership with the New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC).  NJ Medicaid’s commitment to train, educate, and assist 500 specialists become Meaningful Users of EHR systems through the resources of NJ-HITEC demonstrates its dedication to improving the quality of healthcare delivery in the Garden State.

Executive Director of NJ-HITEC, Bill O’Byrne states, “We want to thank NJ Medicaid for its support of our organization and in recognizing the value of NJ-HITEC services. We welcome the opportunity to work with specialists to provide the assistance they need in their transition to EHRs.”

Currently, NJ-HITEC is funded to assist the following categories of physicians: internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, gerontology, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.  NJ-HITEC welcomes the opportunity to serve specialists in the Garden State.

If you are a specialist interested in NJ-HITEC services, please call 973-642-4055 or send an e-mail for more information. To become a member, please visit NJ-HITEC’s website.

Call to Action: Repeal New Jersey’s Unfair Cosmetics Tax

Important legislation that would repeal New Jersey’s unfair tax on cosmetic medical procedures is just ONE STEP away from the Governor’s Desk!  But first, the full Assembly needs to vote on the measure before they adjourn on January 9. Now, we need your help to get the bill posted at the January 9 Assembly voting session.

Step 1: Please call the Speaker of the Assembly Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) at (973) 395-1166 and ask that she post A-3656/S-1988 at the January 9 voting session.

Step 2: Click here to find your local Assembly members and call them too! Introduce yourself as a concerned physician in their district, and ask that they encourage Speaker Oliver to post the bill.

Tell them you agree with the sponsor, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, when he said “This tax has proven ineffective and an administrative hardship to New Jersey residents and businesses,” and “This phase-out will gradually alleviate the financial and administrative burdens associated with the tax. Since it was imposed, the tax has increased overall costs for recipients of cosmetic medical procedures, and imposed an administrative burden on the medical offices billing the procedures and the state agencies charged with the administration and enforcement of the tax. It’s time to get rid of it.”
When enacted, the bill will gradually phase out this unfair tax over three years, but the time for you to act is NOW!

UHC Announces Changes to its Medicare Advantage Audits

Thanks to the efforts of the AMA, its federated members and a number of our sister state medical societies, United Healthcare (UHC) has agreed to make several changes to the way that it conducts its Medicare Advantage audit programs.

UHC will no longer use MedAssurrant, the contractor that previously conducted its payment integrity audits. UHC will also make changes in the way that it conducts its Risk Adjustment Date Validation (RADV) audits. These audit request letters will be more clear about the reason for the audit and provide consistent information on follow-up medical record review, audit requests, and post-audit claim payment determinations. UHC will also update its payment integrity and recovery practices. Currently, UHC asks physicians to refund the full amount paid on the original claim and then resubmit the claim using the recommended coding. In the first quarter of 2012 physicians will only need to resubmit the claim with the recommended coding and refund only the difference between the amount UHC originally paid and the amount that should have been paid using the new coding. Physicians who disagree with UHC’s recommended coding should appeal the claims.

Many of our members have complained of the audit practices and we have been able to help them refine the scope of the audit. We appreciate AMA and organized medicine’s efforts to achieve systemic change on this issue.