A cheat sheet on the 2006 HCPCS codes
Q. What impact will the 2006 HCPCS coding changes have on rehab providers?
A. For 2006, rehab providers will need to learn 22 new codes, 27 deleted codes and two code description changes. Previously, there was a 90-day grace period to allow suppliers time to become familiar with any new or discontinued codes. However, in order to comply with HIPAA regulations, CMS eliminated the grace period for discontinued HCPCS codes effective Jan. 1, 2005. This means newly added HCPCS codes are effective and deleted codes are invalid for services rendered on or after Jan. 1, 2006. Since there is no room for error, it is crucial that your billing staff be aware of the changes before filing claims in 2006. One of the biggest reasons for denial in the first quarter each year is invalid coding.
Of the 22 new rehab codes, 17 are directly related to manual wheelchair tires (E2210--E2226). Two new battery codes (E2371--E2372) have been added to represent Group 27 batteries. The remaining three codes (E2207--E2209) are for crutch and cane holders, oxygen tank holders and arm troughs, respectively.
The primary target for the 27 deleted codes was, again, manual wheelchair tires. Only five deleted codes pertained to something other than manual wheelchair tires. Nineteen of the deleted codes have assigned crosswalk codes for 2006, while the remaining eight codes have been deleted without a suggested 2006 billing code.
There were only minor description changes made for E0971 and K0669, which will not greatly impact your billing or reimbursement processes.
Complete details on the 2006 HCPCS code additions, deletions and changes are available at http://new.cms.hhs.gov/CoverageGenInfo/06_wheelchair.asp.
Jim Stephenson is a rehab reimbursement specialist for Invacare. Reach him at (800) 333-6900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.