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Transitional Care Management (TCM) Codes for 2024

How Does Transitional Care Management Benefit Patients?

 

When patients leave the hospital, ensuring they stay healthy and avoid returning becomes a top priority for caregivers. To address this challenge, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a care model called Transitional Care Management (TCM).

 

TCM plays a crucial role in the transitional healthcare model, focusing on medical management during the critical aftercare period following a patient's hospital discharge. It's an essential caregiving model for both caregivers and healthcare providers, demonstrating a commitment to patient well-being during a vulnerable period fraught with prolonged health risks and uncertainty.

 

Healthcare providers have effectively utilized TCM CPT Codes 99495 and 99496 to seek reimbursement for treating patients with complex medical conditions during the immediate post-discharge phase.

 

Understanding TCM Codes & Their Role in Post-discharge Care

 

CPT® codes, as per the American Medical Association (AMA), provide a standardized language for coding medical services and procedures. They facilitate real-time patient data reporting and enhance billing efficiency and accuracy.

 

Per CMS guidelines, reimbursement for Transitional Care Management is limited to patients requiring medium or high-level decision-making for their disease management post-discharge. This includes time spent coordinating with caregivers to address the patient's specific medical or psychosocial needs.

 

Eligible communication methods for patient or caregiver interaction encompass direct contact, telephone calls, and digital channels. Healthcare providers leveraging clinical software and digital health platforms can utilize TCM codes to adopt virtual care technologies more comprehensively.

 

A Closer Look at TCM Codes and Payment Rates

 

Guide to TCM CPT Code 99495:

 

CPT Code 99495 reimburses transitional care management services for patients necessitating "medical decision-making of at least moderate complexity." Providers must communicate with patients or caregivers within two business days of discharge, employing direct contact, telephone, or electronic means. Additionally, an in-person visit within 14 days of discharge is mandated.

 

Eligible billing practitioners for CPT Code 99495 include physicians, Qualified Health Professionals (QHPs), Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Certified Nurse-midwives (CNMs), and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs). The average reimbursement rate for this code is around $209.02.

 

Guide to TCM CPT Code 99496:

 

TCM services eligible for reimbursement under CPT Code 99496 cater to patients requiring "medical decision-making of high complexity." Similar communication requirements apply, with practitioners initiating contact within two business days post-discharge. An in-person visit within seven days of discharge is compulsory.

 

Physicians, QHPs, PAs, NPs, CNMs, and CNSs are qualified billing practitioners for CPT Code 99496. The average reimbursement rate for this code is approximately $281.69.

 

When Do TCM Codes 99495 and 99496 Apply?

 

TCM services commence on the day of discharge, aiming to facilitate a patient's return to the community post-hospital stay. These services apply to various community settings and facility types covered by Medicare, including in-patient acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and hospital out-patient appointments, among others.

 

Billing Guidelines for Transitional Care Management Codes

 

TCM differs from other care management codes like Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and Chronic Care Management (CCM). It can be billed concurrently with these models and used alongside Principal Care Management (PCM).

 

Only one healthcare provider can bill for TCM services during the 30-day period following hospital discharge. TCM services are associated with primary care after discharge, but specialist involvement may be necessary in certain cases.

 

Additional billing considerations include limitations on billing within the post-operative global surgical period, requirements for face-to-face visits, and the necessity of providing separate E/M services to address clinical difficulties.


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