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CMS Publishes Important Reminder to Providers and Suppliers Regarding Referred or Ordered Services and Items

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published an important reminder for all providers and suppliers who provide services and items ordered or referred by other providers and suppliers. The reminder states that Medicare will only pay for items or services for Medicare beneficiaries that have been ordered by a physician or eligible profession enrolled in the Medicare program, and that the individual National Provider Identifier (NPI) of the referring provider or supplier must be included in any claim to Medicare. 

CMS also emphasizes that providers and suppliers must ensure that any items or services submitted in Medicare claims were referred by Medicare-enrolled providers of a specialty type authorized to order or refer such services. Further, Medicare will only reimburse for specific items or services ordered or referred by providers or suppliers that are authorized by statute and regulation. Specifically, CMS highlighted that:

  • Chiropractors are not eligible to order or refer supplies or services of Medicare beneficiaries. Consequently, all services ordered or referred by a chiropractor will be denied.
  • Home Health Agency (HHA) services may only be ordered or referred by a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Thus, claims for HHA services ordered by any other practitioner specialty will be denied.
  • Portable X-Ray services may only be ordered by a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy. Portable X-Ray services ordered by any other practitioners will be denied.

Through this “important reminder,” CMS emphasizes the necessary standards and documentation for healthcare providers and suppliers to successfully bill for providing referred services or items. The reminder demonstrates CMS’ continued focus on ensuring proper referral arrangements and supporting documentation.

If you need assistance implementing a compliance program to safeguard against such issues or a potential audit, please contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-521-0331.