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Hearing impared

Tammy Posted Wed 18th of June, 2014 12:32:39 PM

We have a patient coming in today who as Medicaid and is hearing impared, therefre we have to hire and pay for the interpreter. Is there a code I can use to bill Medicaid, along with the E&M visit, to recoup some of the fee?

SuperCoder Answered Wed 18th of June, 2014 13:14:26 PM

You must provide an interpreter for your hearing-impaired patient, but you'll need to offer that service free of charge. You may not bill the cost of interpreters to Medicare or to a patient, says Vicki L. Moody, CPC, CPMA, assistant compliance officer and privacy officer with State of Franklin Healthcare Associates in Johnson City, Tenn.

The Americans with Disabilities Act states, no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.

Under the Act, all health care providers (i.e., physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, etc.) must provide a qualified sign language interpreter at no cost to the patient, Moody says. Some states have definitions and/or requirements for what they consider a qualified interpreter.

They may require the interpreter to be certified with a national organization or to have attended a special quality assurance screening program. Someone who only has a general knowledge of finger spelling or basic sign language should not be considered a qualified interpreter.

Some practices report T1013 (Sign language or oral interpretive services, per 15 minutes) for these services. The ability to bill for sign language interpreter services varies from state to state and payer to payer.

There are some Medicaid programs that will reimburse for these services. Verify in writing how you should bill for an interpreter's services with your state's Medicaid program before coding. Also, Medicare and other payers may pay for extra time associated with using a translator, so check with your payer about this option as well.

See the following link for more information:

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