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Coding and Billing Errors Can Decrease Revenue

Mistakes are unavoidable in most professions, but when it comes to mistakes in medical billing and coding, errors can end up costing a lot of money. Medical billing mistakes need to be addressed immediately in order to avoid a lot of lost revenue. Overlooking these mistakes can be a revenue disaster for any medical office in the long run. The following are some examples of medical billing and coding mistakes.

  • A physician performed an arthrocentesis on a 74 year old female. The biller billed the CPT code 20605 without the modifier-50. The insurer processed the claim and paid for unilateral service (100%) instead of bilateral service (150%). Medicare allowable for the procedure is $52.41 for unilateral service and $78.61 for bilateral services. In this case, the potential loss of this mistake if repeated over time can add up.
  • An ophthalmologist performed an excision of an eye growth with a graft but failed to document this on the chart. The staff didn’t know and used the CPT code 65420 (excision or transposition of a petrygium without a graft) in place of CPT code 65426 (excision or transposition of a petrygium with graft). The difference between these codes with Medicare is over one hundred dollars. This loss could have been avoided if the physician had documented in the chart that petrygium was done with a graft or if the staff had questioned the physician about the procedure.
  • A Chiropractor provided spinal manipulation on a Medicare patient and coded CPT 98940 (1-2 body area) but forgot to put in modifier-AT on the bill. The billing staff missed the fact that the modifier was absent. Medicare denied the claim saying that the procedure was maintenance therapy. The chiropractor missed out on about $25, which can easily add up over time if the mistakes persist.

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