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CMS Releases Comparative Billing Reports for Spinal Orthotics and Ordering Providers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a national provider Comparative Billing Report (CBR) focused on spinal orthotics and ordering providers. This CBR was conducted in response to an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on inappropriate Medicare payments for orthotics. The Medicare Durable Medical Equipment (DME) data obtained for this report span from dates of service beginning January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. The final data was retrieved on August 15, 2013 from the Integrated Data Repository (IDR).

Under contract by CMS, Safeguard Services LLC is the authorized producer of all CBRs. Safeguard sends CBRs to about 5,000 ordering providers to help providers prevent improper billings. This CBR provides comparative data to orthotic providers across the nation to compare orthotics providers in terms of coding and billing practice, as well as utilization patterns. The sample spinal orthotics CBR may be useful to review if your entity did not receive one from Safeguard.

The following Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes were analyzed in this CBR:

• L0630: Sagittal control with posterior panel
• L0631: Sagittal control with anterior and posterior panels
• L0633: Sagittal-coronal control with posterior and lateral panels
• L0637: Sagittal-coronal control with anterior, posterior, and lateral panels

According to a FAQ page on the Safeguard website, the code L0631 was chosen because data analysis shows that Medicare claims and total allowances for L0631 have more than doubled from 2008 to 2011. L0630 is a comparable device to L0631, but is less costly, as well as less complex. Although Safeguard advises that CBRs are “not intended to be punitive or sent as an indication of fraud,” based upon our experience, providers receiving CBRs may be prospective audit targets since their utilization of codes may exceed their peers. This report indicates that CMS is interested in encouraging providers to order devices that are consistent with a patient’s medical needs, rather than overly complex or costly devices.

If you are a recipient of a spinal orthotics CBR, or are among the other provider types that have been identified to receive CBRs, Wachler & Associates can help you in evaluating your CBR analysis and in developing an appropriate compliance plan. Please contact an experienced health care attorney via phone at 248-544-0888 or via email at

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