News in Brief: Week of March 5-9

March 07, 2012 05:05 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

Cigna Resource Helps Physicians Get Paid for Preventive Care

Cigna, one of America's largest health insurance companies, has developed a new resource to help physicians understand -- and get paid for -- preventive health services they provide to patients as outlined by provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The resource is titled "A Guide to Cigna's Preventive Health Coverage for Health Care Professionals(", and the information outlined therein complies with rules and regulations set forth in the health care reform law.

Services designated as preventive care include well-visits, routine immunizations, and certain designated screenings for symptom-free or disease-free individuals at risk for a particular disease.

The guide states that "correctly coding preventive care services is key to receiving accurate payment for those services." It includes seven pages of charts detailing correct usage of ICD-9 codes, CPT codes and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System codes, as well as information about when physicians should use the "modifier 33" preventive service modifier.

The guide will be updated to include additional preventive services that will be made available later in 2012.

CMS Announces Release of Redesigned Medicare Summary Notice

Medicare beneficiaries soon will have access to a redesigned Medicare claims and benefits statement form that provides a snapshot of a beneficiary's deductible status, a list of providers from whom the patient received services and whether the beneficiary's claims for Medicare services were approved.

According to a March 7 press release( from CMS, the updated Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) form will be available online to beneficiaries later this week. Beginning in 2013, beneficiaries will receive a paper copy of the form in the mail quarterly.

The redesigned MSN features larger type, easy-to-understand language, information on available preventive services and consumer-friendly descriptions of medical procedures. In addition, CMS defines all terms used on the form.

CMS invites interested parties to check out a side-by-side comparison( of the previous and redesigned MSN forms.

IMG Credentialing Pilot Tests Electronic Verification Process

Earlier this year, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) launched a pilot project that aims to speed the process of verifying the medical education credentials of international medical graduates seeking to enter the U.S. graduate medical education system and become eligible to practice medicine in the United States.

According to a Feb. 28 news release(, the pilot will test an electronic version of ECFMG's Credentials Verification program with participation from about 20 international medical schools. Specifically, authorized officials at participating medical schools will use an electronic process to receive and verify copies of the medical diplomas and transcripts of their students and graduates who have applied to ECFMG, thereby saving transmit time and avoiding potential postal delays associated with mailing paper documents.

After completion of the pilot, ECFMG will invite other schools to participate in the Web-based program. Eventually, ECFMG plans to expand the use of this type of electronic process to other credentials verification services it provides.