Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Patients Over Paperwork
Published in  Arkansas Medical News   (March/April)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced its “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative, focusing on reducing administrative burden while improving care coordination, health outcomes, and patients’ ability to make decisions about their own care. According to CMS, physicians say they continue to struggle with excessive regulatory requirements and unnecessary paperwork that steal time away from patient care. Sound familiar? Well, CMS says it is listening to you and is taking action!
In the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule, CMS proposed streamlined documentation requirements to focus on patient care and proposed modernizing payment policies so that Medicare beneficiaries can take advantage of the latest technologies to get the quality care they need.
For 2019 and beyond, CMS finalized the following documentation changes for Evaluation and Management (E&M) visits that do not require changes in coding or in payment:

  • The requirement to document the medical necessity of a home visit in lieu of an office visit is eliminated.

  • For the history and examination for E&M visits for established patients, if relevant information is already contained in the medical record, physicians may choose to focus their documentation on what has changed since the last visit, or on pertinent items that have not changed, and need not re-document the list of required elements if the physician documents that the previous information has been reviewed and has been updated as needed.

  • For the chief complaint and history for E&M visits for new and established patients, physicians are not required to re-document in the medical record information that has already been entered by ancillary staff or by the patient. The physician may simply document in the medical record that the information has been reviewed and verified.
Health Law Attorneys
The information was written by the attorneys in the  H ealth Law Practice Group at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP. This is not a substitute for legal advice and should be considered for general guidance only. For more information or if you have further questions, please contact one of our   Health Law Attorneys.
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Whether you are a hospital, healthcare provider or a company that serves provider organizations, you know the demands on the health sector are complex. At Friday, Eldredge & Clark, our healthcare practice encompasses a wide range of legal services to address not only issues that arise in the highly-regulated healthcare industry, but also the counsel to handle the business operation needs as well. 

Our healthcare lawyers have the insight, capability and experience to effectively address the complex issues inherent in the highly-regulated healthcare industry including regulatory and compliance matters, contract negotiations and preparations, reimbursement issues and audit reviews and appeals. 

Our firm also represents clients in mergers and acquisitions; financing and restructuring; corporate, regulatory and strategic counseling issues; litigation defense; physician compensation and labor and employment matters. 
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Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP serves business, non-profit, governmental and individual clients in Arkansas and across the United States. It is one of the oldest law firms in the state and has been the largest Arkansas-based law firm for more than 50 years. The firm has practice areas focusing on General Litigation; Class Action and Business Litigation; Railroad; Labor and Employment; Medical Malpractice; Public Finance; Healthcare; Estate Planning and Probate; Employee Benefits; Real Estate and Commercial Transactions; and Merger and Acquisitions. Friday, Eldredge & Clark has offices in Little Rock, Fayetteville and Rogers, Arkansas.

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