FQHCs are community health centers that provide primary care services to vulnerable communities regardless of their financial ability to pay. These facilities employ a set of FQHC billing codes to submit invoices for the services they offer to their patients.
The purpose of FQHC billing codes is to reimburse FQHCs for the cost of providing comprehensive primary and preventive care services to medically and financially unstable populations.
FQHCs use the Health Centre Program visit codes, often known as the FQHC billing codes, to submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid.
These codes tell FQHCs how much they will get paid for each visit and how to consistently describe the services they offer.
FQHC Billing Code Sets
FQHCs use codes from the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) to make diagnoses.
FQHCs use these codes to describe their patients’ services, such as preventive care, primary care, and mental health services.
Understanding and accurately applying these codes is crucial for FQHCs because they affect funding from payers like Medicare and Medicaid. Incorrect use of codes might result in rejected claims, which can lower the center’s income.
HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) Codes
HCPCS is a standard set of codes that doctors and other medical professionals in the US use to describe medical procedures and services. Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance companies use the codes to process claims and pay healthcare providers for their services.
Level I and Level II are the two classification levels for HCPCS codes. The American Medical Association (AMA), which maintains Level I codes, also known as CPT codes, is responsible for describing medical operations, services, and supplies.
CMS maintains Level II codes, often known as HCPCS codes, to define products, supplies, and services not covered by CPT codes.
It’s essential to remember that HCPCS codes can change, so it’s important to keep up with the latest coding information for correct billing and payment.
HCPCS codes come in a variety of categories, including:
- Level I codes:
Physicians and other healthcare providers use Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to define medical operations.
- Level II codes:
These codes represent several medical procedures and services, including DME, ambulance, and laboratory services.
- Level III codes:
State and local governments use local codes to describe procedures and services that aren’t covered by Level I or II codes.
- Level IV codes
These codes indicate innovative medical technologies and treatments yet to be covered by other HCPCS codes.
These codes represent novel techniques or technologies until they are awarded a permanent HCPCS code.
CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) Codes
Federally Qualified Health Centres (FQHCs) usually bill for their services using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. These codes list the medical procedures and assistance given to a patient. They are necessary to fund government health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Some commonly used FQHC CPT codes include:
- 99201-99205: Office or other outpatient visit codes for new patients
- 99211-99215: Office or other outpatient visit codes for established patients
- 99304-99307: Office or other outpatient visit codes for prolonged services
- 99385-99387: Preventive medicine evaluation and management services for new patients
- 99394-99397: Preventive medicine evaluation and management services for established patients
It’s important to note that these codes are updated annually. Thus, it’s crucial to verify changes to ensure accurate billing.
CPT codes represent services delivered to patients in Federally Qualified Health Centres (FQHCs), including E/M services, lab tests, and procedures. Evaluation and management (E/M) service codes assess and manage a patient’s medical condition.
Various elements determine these codes, such as the complexity of the patient’s condition, the length of time spent with the patient, and the nature of the medical decisions made.
FQHC Billing and Reimbursement Regulations
Medicare pays FQHCs a rate set by the Medicare fee schedule for the covered services they give to Medicare recipients. Furthermore, FQHCs can receive enhanced reimbursement rates for specific services.
For services covered by Medicare that FQHCs provide to Medicare recipients, they are paid a rate based on the Medicare fee schedule. Furthermore, FQHCs are eligible for higher reimbursement rates for some services.
HRSA gives grants to FQHCs to help pay for the cost of helping people who aren’t getting enough care. There are rules and requirements for these grants, such as the need to report and be held accountable.
FQHCs must also comply with private insurance and state-funded program invoicing and reimbursement standards. FQHCs must keep up with billing and reimbursement laws because they can affect their financial stability.
FQHC Billing Challenges and Solutions
FQHCs generally receive lower reimbursement rates than other healthcare providers, making it harder to fund operating costs and offer adequate care to patients.
FQHCs struggle to meet shifting billing and reimbursement standards since payers’ processes differ.
Many FQHCs need more employees and technology, making billing and coding difficult.
To solve these obstacles, FQHCs may consider the following strategies:
Making use of technology:
FQHCs can streamline and eliminate errors with automated billing and coding systems.
Enhancing the documentation
For successful invoicing and reimbursement, precise and comprehensive documentation is essential. FQHCs might engage in staff training to ensure that patient records contain all pertinent information.
To create transparent and standardized billing and reimbursement procedures, FQHCs can collaborate with payers.
To support their billing and coding procedures, FQHCs might look into extra funding options, including grants and loans.
FQHCs can collaborate with hospitals and specialty clinics to exchange resources and knowledge.
FQHCs must be fully knowledgeable about their billing codes to receive the proper compensation for their patients’ services. FQHCs can continue offering high-quality healthcare services to their communities using accurate coding and billing procedures.