Columns

From the Field: AKI Billing and Reimbursement Update

Sarah Tolson While it is exciting that dialysis clinics can now receive reimbursement for treatments provided to acute kidney injury (AKI) patients, there are still a number of unknowns where reimbursement is concerned. The final rule and related change requests indicate that Medicare will pay the base rate adjusted by the wage index. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) dialysis treatments paid ... Read More »

From the Chair: Proton Pump Inhibitors and the Risk of CKD

Ajay K. Singh, MBBS, FRCP, MBA Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are one of the commonest classes of prescribed drugs worldwide. Indications include the treatment of acid reflux and peptic ulcer disease. Concerns about over-utilization of PPIs have been raised. However, extensive use continues; in the United States, even excluding over-the-counter sales, there are estimated to be more than 170 million ... Read More »

From the Field: JW Modifier: A Big Waste?

Rick Collins Sarah Tolson A new Medicare regulation requires providers to report discarded amounts of separately billable drugs packaged in single dose vials. The waste must be noted in the patient’s medical record and recorded on claims using modifier, JW, “Drug amount discarded/not administered to any patient.” While that sounds simple enough, how many providers are carefully noting in a ... Read More »

From the Board: The Third Rail (Not To Be Confused with the Third Space)

Kenneth A. Liss, DO Hypertension and Nephrology Associates Eatontown, New Jersey Politicians are fond of talking about the third rail of politics. This generally refers to the lack of financial sustainability in Social Security and Medicare. Although many politicians, particularly those that are viewed favorably by their constituents, have talked about the need to reform these programs, even the most ... Read More »

From the Chair: Managing Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation in Dialysis Patients: What Should You Do?

Ajay K. Singh, MBBS, FRCP, MBA The Controversies in Nephrology series1-7 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) covered a topic that virtually every nephrologist has had to wrestle with, namely how to manage a dialysis patient who develops nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). The articles are outstanding and thoughtful. A stroke from NVAF could have devastating ... Read More »

From the Field: Competing Medicare and Medicaid Regs: You Lose

Sarah Tolson Providers are in a no-win situation when Medicare and Medicaid regulations conflict with one another. A perfect example of this is reflected in the sample question below we received from several billers: Question: Medicaid requires us to report the NDC (National Drug Code) for each vial size we use in dosing a patient. For example, if our physician ... Read More »

From the Field: Hard Lessons about the Business Side of Healthcare

Rick Collins One of the bitter lessons of life is that you can be the very best at what you do and still have an unsuccessful business. Prior to entering healthcare 16 years ago, I sold newspaper advertising and contacted hundreds of small businesses, including healthcare providers, about marketing their products and services. I was frequently amazed at the high ... Read More »

From the Editor: Improving the Patency of AV fistula—The Type of Anesthesia Used during Surgery Is Important

Ajay K. Singh, MBBS, FRCP (UK), MBA In hemodialysis patients, vascular access is a lifeline to survival. A primary arterio-venous (AV) fistula is preferred over an indwelling tunneled catheter or an AV graft because of lower infection, sepsis rates, and vascular access interventions, including replacements/removals, revisions, angioplasties, and declotting procedures. Since about one in three AV fistulae fail to mature, ... Read More »

From the Chair: CKD Prevalence Rises Dramatically in African Americans

Ajay Singh, MD There are approximately 20 million Americans with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and approximately 400,000 patients on dialysis. Commensurate with this is the cost of treating kidney disease—approximately one in every five Medicare dollars is spent on CKD and ESRD (nearly $50 billion). A paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine1 and data from the United States ... Read More »

From the Field: ICD-10 Update, Audits, and Patient Coinsurances

Rick Collins ICD-10 FLEXIBILITY ENDS There was a lot of hoopla and fear accompanied by the implementation of ICD-10 a year ago. Thanks to the “flexibility” of coding implemented by Medicare, most providers experienced few problems related to claims payment under ICD-10. October first was another significant date in the implementation of ICD-10 coding, but there has been little in ... Read More »