January 2019 OPPS Update

on Wednesday, 23 January 2019. All News Items | Outpatient Services

Again, Again, and Again

Medicare publishes updates to most of their payment systems on a quarterly basis. In this newsletter, we review the updates related to hospitals, such as the quarterly updates to the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS). The January OPPS Update always has a long and wordy transmittal since it is the update that incorporates the changes from the annual OPPS Final Rule and CPT/HCPCS coding changes for the calendar year. Many of the issues from the final rule have already been written about and discussed again, again, and again – the January update is just one more repetition of the changes. The good part of all these repeats is that it gives numerous opportunities for providers to see the news, and less chance that they would miss an important update.

So, here again is a summary of the high points of the January 2019 OPPS Update. Since there are so many code updates, please refer to this link to the January 2019 OPPS Update MLN Matters article to see the new and revised codes.

  • CMS is establishing one new device pass-through category for January 2019 for Generator, neurostimulator (implantable), non-rechargeable, with transvenous sensing and stimulation leads (HCPCS code C1823). This device will be paid a pass-through payment based on cost-to-charge ratio. The applicable APC 5464 billed with CPT 0424T (Insertion or replacement of neurostimulator system for treatment of central sleep apnea; complete system (transvenous placement of right or left stimulation lead, sensing lead, implantable pulse generator) will have a device off-set amount applied to the payment rate.
  • CMS changed the definition of device-intensive procedures this year, lowering the device offset percentage threshold from greater than 40 percent to greater than 30 percent and allowing procedures that involve single-use devices, regardless of whether or not they remain in the body after the conclusion of the procedure, to qualify as device-intensive procedures. See the prior Wednesday@One article for more information on this change.
  • CMS created new HCPCS code C1890 for ASC use only, to report with device-intensive procedures when an implantable or inserted medical device is not used.
  • There are three new comprehensive APCs (C-APCs) for 2019 - C-APC 5163 (Level 3 Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Procedures), C-APC 5183 (Level 3 Vascular Procedures), and C-APC 5184 (Level 4 Vascular Procedures). C-APC claims are paid one comprehensive payment for the primary procedure with packaging of payment for adjunctive services into the primary procedure payment.
  • CMS removed four procedures from the inpatient-only list for 2019 and added one procedure to it. Wednesday@One Article for 2019 IPO List discusses the changes in greater detail.
  • New modifier “ER” is to be reported by hospitals (except CAHs) on all line items for services provided in a provider-based off-campus emergency department beginning January 1, 2018. See the MLN Matters article for the criteria for “dedicated emergency department.”
  • CMS is reducing the payment rate for clinic visits (G0463) provided in excepted off-campus provider-based departments. Excepted off-campus PBDs are those PBDs that were furnishing and billing for services as of November 2, 2015, report services with a PO modifier, and are still paid OPPS payment rates. Under the new reduction, clinic visits in excepted off-campus PBDs will be paid 70% of the OPPS rate for 2019 and 40% for 2020 and beyond.
  • There is a new Revenue-Code-to-Cost‑Center crosswalk for Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) and several deleted and new PHP CPT codes.
  • There are a lot of new and changed HCPCS codes for drugs, biologicals, and radiopharmaceuticals. See the MLN Matters article for tables of these codes. Notice particularly new codes that have a different dose description than the old code, such as Rituximab (old code J9310, 100 mg and new code J9312, 10 mg).
  • Separately payable drugs will be paid at ASP+6%, except for drugs purchased through the 340B program, which are paid at ASP-22.5%. The reduced payment rate for drugs purchased through the 340B program now applies to such drugs billed by nonexcepted off-campus PBDs of a hospital paid under the PFS. This means nonexcepted off-campus PBDs must report the JG modifier on line items for separately payable (Status Indicator = K) drugs purchased through the 340B program.
  • The payment for skin substitute products that do not qualify for pass-through status will continue to be packaged into the payment for the associated skin substitute application procedure. The procedure code is selected based on the designation of the skin substitute as high or low cost. The MLN Matters article includes a table with the 2018 and 2019 high/low skin substitute designations.

These are some of the highlights from the January 2019 OPPS updates. Please refer to MLN Matters Article MM11099 for all the updates and additional details.

Article by Debbie Rubio

Debbie Rubio, BS, MT (ASCP), is the Manager of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance at Medical Management Plus, Inc.  Debbie has over twenty-seven years of experience in healthcare including nine years as the Clinical Compliance Coordinator at a large multi-facility health system.  In her current position, Debbie monitors, interprets and communicates current and upcoming regulatory and compliance issues as they relate to specific entities concerning Medicare and other payers.  You may contact Debbie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice.  Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.

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