During a facility stay, a patient could be attended to by more than one hospitalist. For example, perhaps one hospitalist is the admitting physician, but the patient has a three-day stay and may be seen by three different hospitalists. Are there any guidelines as to which physician should be billed on the facility claim? Thank you for any remarks, suggestions, or references.
Dr. Hospitalist responds:
Most of us can definitely relate to the concerns you have about properly billing during the patient’s hospital stay. By facility claim, I’m assuming you mean the physician’s bill for services rendered to a hospitalized patient. After querying the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) website and discussing the question with several of our coding and billing gurus, as far as I can tell, there are no specific guidelines pertaining to which physician in a multiphysician group should bill. CMS guidelines are clear that you should only bill for the services you provide. CMS is very specific about allowing only one physician of the same specialty billing per day (reference the CMS Manual, Chapter 12, 30.6.9-Payment for Inpatient Hospital Visits).
In our very large group, we bill daily for the individual inpatient services we provide. That way, when the bill goes out, the clinician author is responsible for its validity and can support the level of care as documented.
Billing and coding is such an arduous process, I can’t imagine attempting it without an electronic interface. Most hospitalist groups have some form of electronic billing software that has integrated checks and balances to catch the common mistakes. Improper billing done by anyone in the group can expose the entire group to an audit. With ICD-10 now upon us, this becomes ever more important.
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