CMS has posted online answers to frequently asked questions from physicians about billing for new CPT codes for transitional care management services. The AAFP also has a frequently-asked-questions document and has created a 30-day TCM worksheet to help physicians track information in patient care summaries.
The AAFP objected to a CMS plan to change the handling of two CPT codes for newborn care so family physicians could not bill both services in the same day. The CMS reversed its position following a letter from AAFP CPT advisor Robert Carr, M.D., who said it is not uncommon for physicians to provide initial newborn care for a seemingly healthy newborn, to which one code applies, and then have the infant's condition deteriorate and require neonatal intensive care services, which is a separate code.
Family physicians practicing in rural health centers or federally qualified health centers can get prompt Medicare payments for transitional care management services but they need to follow special CMS instructions issued as a result of a computer glitch. A claims processing error occurred with the new CPT codes 99495 and 99496, so alternate billing instructions are in effect until the problems are fixed.
Three new medical residency programs are to begin this July in California's San Joaquin Valley, including two for family physicians, as a way to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in the central part of the state. The San Joaquin Valley has one of the lowest ratios of primary care physicians to residents in the state.
An FDA letter to physicians asks them to take advantage of training, funded by drug manufacturers, on the appropriate use of extended-release/long-acting opioids. AAFP's manager of CME standards and outcomes Kathy Marian said the Academy is using grant money to develop CME programs that comply with goals set by the FDA and should have those programs available this summer.