Get Ready for 2021 Coding Changes (Part 2)

Earlier in the year, I summarized the upcoming changes for 2021: Link Get Ready for 2021 Coding Changes (with links to AMA resources and tables). Subsequently, I went to a coding seminar led by Jan Rasmusen and wanted to share some additional observations.

  1. One of the most important changes is the need for “medically appropriate history and/or examination” rather than focusing on specific elements. This helps eliminate scoring the history and physical exam and should allow more time to document critical thinking. Besides billing, H&P is still key for helping with continuity of care and for liability.

2. When using time codes and not using medical decision-making, the total time –face-to-face and non face-to-face –is what is used. Total time does not include clinical staff time.

3. A lot of the terms have more specific definitions

4. Medical Decision-Making is Similar to Current Guidelines

5. Creation of a new code for additional time

My take: The intent of these changes is logical.  The goal of coding is to align the reimbursement with the degree of effort and not simply allow pre-formatted templates to justify upcoding.  These changes could lead to simplification of documentation and allow more documentation time for medical decision-making part of the visit.

Resources:

Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition

Kansas’ Mask Mandates for COVID-19

Link to full report:  Van Dyke ME, Rogers TM, Pevzner E, et al. Trends in County-Level COVID-19 Incidence in Counties With and Without a Mask Mandate — Kansas, June 1–August 23, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 20 November 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6947e2.

“Kansas counties that had mask mandates in place appear to have mitigated the transmission of COVID-19, whereas counties that did not have mask mandates continued to experience increases in cases.”

“Leave Overweight Kids Alone”

Aubrey Gordon provides personal insight into the issue of weight stigma in her opinion piece: NY Times Leave Overweight Kids Alone

Here a few excepts:

The war on childhood obesity reached its zenith with the 2010 introduction of the national “Let’s Move!” campaign, “dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation.” It was a campaign against “childhood obesity” — not specific health conditions or the behaviors that may contribute to those health conditions. It wasn’t a campaign against foods with little nutritional value, or against the unchecked poverty that called for such low-cost, shelf-stable foods. It was a campaign against a body type — specifically, children’s body types.

In 2012, Georgia began its Strong4Life campaign aimed at reducing children’s weight and lowering the state’s national ranking: second in childhood obesity. Run by the pediatric hospital Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, it was inspired in part by a previous anti-meth campaign. Now, instead of targeting addiction in adults, the billboards targeted fatness in children…The billboards purported to warn parents of the danger of childhood fatness, but to many they appeared to be public ridicule of fat kids…

Despite ample federal and state funding, multiple national public health campaigns and a slew of television shows, the war on obesity does not appear to be lowering Americans’ B.M.I.s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999 there has been a 39 percent increase in adult obesity and a 33.1 percent increase in obesity among children.

Weight stigma kick-starts what for many will become lifelong cycles of shame..Yet, despite its demonstrated ineffectiveness, the so-called war on childhood obesity rages on. This holiday season, for the sake of children who are told You’re not beautiful. You’re indulging too much. Your body is wrong. You must have done it, I hope some parents will declare a cease-fire.

Related blog posts:

Isle of Palms, SC

Operation Warp Speed Strategy

M Slaoui, M Hepburn. NEJM 2020; 383: 1701-1703. Full text: Developing Safe and Effective Covid Vaccines — Operation Warp Speed’s Strategy and Approach

As an aside, I have always thought that the name, “Operation Warp Speed,” sounded like a line from the movie Spaceballs.

This article provides insight into the strategy for “Operation Warp Speed” (OWS). An excerpt:

OWS’s strategy relies on a few key principles. First, we sought to build a diverse project portfolio that includes two vaccine candidates based on each of the four platform technologies…In addition, advancing eight vaccines in parallel will increase the chances of delivering 300 million doses in the first half of 2021…

Of the eight vaccines in OWS’s portfolio, six have been announced and partnerships executed with the companies: Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech (both mRNA), AstraZeneca and Janssen (both replication-defective live-vector), and Novavax and Sanofi/GSK (both recombinant-subunit-adjuvanted protein). These candidates cover three of the four platform technologies and are currently in clinical trials. The remaining two candidates will enter trials soon...

No scientific enterprise could guarantee success by January 2021, but the strategic decisions and choices we’ve made, the support the government has provided, and the accomplishments to date make us optimistic that we will succeed in this unprecedented endeavor.

Related article:

NY Times (11/9/20): Pfizer’s Early Data Shows Vaccine Is More Than 90% Effective

Complications More Common If Language Barrier

Abstract: Association Between Parent Comfort With English and Adverse Events Among Hospitalized Children

Key finding:  Children of parents expressing LCE (limited comfort with English) had 2.1 higher odds of adverse events than children of parents who expressed comfort with English, after controlling for other factors.

Related blog post: No Habla Appendicitis

Trick or Tweets?

Rock art
This tweet was posted on 10/21/20
Ful Text Link: COVID-19 Mortality Risk in Down Syndrome: Results From a Cohort Study Of 8 Million Adults
15 min video Link: How America Helped Defeat the Coronavirus* (not in U.S.). an excerpt: We’ve all heard how U.S. leadership failed its citizens with its pandemic response. We had the playbooks, we had the money, we had the experts. We just … didn’t use them. But it turns out, other countries did. Because U.S. public health leaders and scientists have been planning for a catastrophe just like Covid-19 for decades, and, in typical American fashion, we didn’t just write the pandemic playbook — we exported it around the world.

AAP Behind the Scenes (Fall 2020)

This Georgia AAP (virtual) board meeting started with a brief review from Dr. Kathleen Tomey (Department of Health)

Some slides:

This data should be interpreted based on limited testing in this age group

AAP Update from Dr. Scornik:

Toolkit available at Georgia AAP Website
Full link: Race, Postoperative Complications, and Death in Apparently Healthy Children
Link to register: Fall AAP Meeting

Safe sleep initiatives briefly discussed by Dr. Sarah Lazarus which aligns with Strong4Life campaign:

From Dr. Evan Anderson’s presentation to AAP Board Meeting
Dr. Anderson notes that COVID-19 mortality and morbidity IN CHILDREN exceeding other conditions with vaccines like Varicella and Influenza.
Letter from AAP President to FDA (Dr. Hahn) and HHS (Alex Azar)

Other information:

Update on E-Cigarettes Webinar*+: Wednesday, October 28 at 12:30 pm
Please note new date! Here’s a chance to still register.
First in a series of three webinars offered to Georgia Pediatricians on the growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette use
Faculty: Alice Little Caldwell, MD, FAAP
https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8457518617359610381

Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition