Food & Medication Safety Tips In The Wake Of Storm Sandy

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsThe Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is encouraging consumers to remember “safety first” in the aftermath of Storm Sandy.

“No matter the weather, New Englanders like to be well-prepared,” said Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “In addition to all the necessary measures for protecting families and property, consumers also want to take steps to assure the safety of their food and drugs.”

Residents who find themselves without power for a prolonged period of time should keep the following food safety and medication tips in mind:

Medication & Medical Supplies:  The loss of electricity could affect certain medications. Items that require refrigeration should not be relied upon for full effectiveness and potency if they were not maintained at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer. Persons who depend on medical supply deliveries and plan to temporarily stay at another address – with a neighbor, family member or at a shelter – should notify their medical supply providers to have their supplies delivered to the temporary location with no lapse in their care.

Food Safety: Consume perishable food and beverages as soon as possible after a power outage. Keep the freezer and refrigerator doors closed to conserve the chill. Refrigerated foods should hold a temperature of 45 degrees or lower. Thawed or frozen food exceeding a temperature of 41 degrees for more than 4 hours should be discarded.  Click here for FDA guidelines on food safety.

Executive Orders Extend Deadlines For Voter Registration, Tax Declarations

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsYesterday afternoon, Governor Dannel Malloy signed four executive orders designed to assist Connecticut’s recovery from Storm Sandy including an extension to voter registration deadlines and tax declarations.

  • Executive Order 21: Extends the in-person voter registration deadline in Connecticut to Thursday, November 1, at 8 p.m.
  • Executive Order 22: Allows properly credentialed out-of-state telecommunications electrical workers to perform work in the state that is normally performed only by Connecticut licensed Public Service Technicians.
  • Executive Order 23: Extends the deadline for employers to file unemployment tax filings and payments. Documents that normally would have to be filed by Thursday, November 1, may be filed by Thursday, November 15.
  • Executive Order 24: Extends the personal property tax declaration filed by businesses in Connecticut from Thursday, November 1, to Thursday, November 15.
  • Executive Order 25: Extends the deadline to file certain property tax exemption applications listed in Section 12-81 of the General Statutes. Property tax exemptions normally filed by Thursday, November 1, may be filed by Thursday, November 15.

HMS RAC Audit Series: Redetermination: The First Level Of Appeal

Contractor staff not involved in making the initial claim determination perform the first level appeal know as the redetermination.

After an initial decision is made, a provider has 120 days to file a request for redetermination.  The initial determination is the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) issued to beneficiaries and the Remittance Advice (RA) issued to providers and suppliers.  Both include information on how to file a request for redetermination.  Below are important dates related to filing a redetermination request.

  • Request for redetermination filed within 30 days will stop recoupment until a decision is made
  • If a request for redetermination is not made, recoupment begins on the 41st day after the demand letter date
  • The contractor has 60 days from the date of the redetermination request to issue a decision
  • The decision-making time period s extended for 14 days if new evidence is submitted post-redetermination request

A written request for redetermination must include:

  • Beneficiary name
  • Medicare Health Insurance Claim (HIC) number
  • Specific services and/or items for which reconsideration is requested
  • Specific dates of service
  • Name and signature of the authorized party s

Supporting documentation should also be included in the redetermination request.

Physicians Hesitant To Participate In Medicare

According to a Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) survey of physicians, 82% of practices would be likely to participate in accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes,or bundled payment and shared savings pilots if Congress passed legislation to override mandated sustainable growth rate (SGR) reductions for the next five years. The following survey results indicate what would happen if the scheduled 27% reduction in Medicare reimbursement takes place on January 1, 2013:

  • 45% of practices say they are very likely to reduce the number of appointments for new Medicare patients
  • 27% say they probably would reduce the number of appointments available for their current Medicare patients
  • 31% are very likely to stop accepting new Medicare patients completely
  • 75% say they would reduce employee salaries or benefits

In addition, 60% of practices reported reducing staff salaries, benefits, or delaying buying new clinical equipment or facilities over the past five years.

Storm Sandy’s Aftermath

Our thoughts go out to all of those here in Connecticut and on the East Coast affected by Storm Sandy.  The unprecedented impact of the storm has devastated the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut with destructive winds, heavy flooding and raging fires. Weather and power outages are still major issues in states in the storm’s path as hundreds of thousands will wake up to another day without electricity in the storm’s aftermath.

HMS Healthcare Management Solutions is fully operational and here to assist in any way we can.  Please keep an eye out for your neighbors and lend aid when possible. Hang in there, stay safe and be sure to let us know how we can help you through this difficult time.

Storm Sandy Devastates East Coast

State and utility companies across Connecticut are working to assess damage and restore service to thousands  after the destruction caused by storm Sandy.

“We took a big hit over the past few days,” said Governor Dannel Malloy at a morning news conference.

The effects of Storm Sandy were felt hundreds of miles from where the storm actually made landfall. In New York City, one hospital evacuated patients after a backup power generator failed. Sandy, responsible for 28 deaths across 17 states, left thousands without power.  In Connecticut, at least two people were killed as a result of the storm. One man was reported missing after he went swimming in Long Island Sound and another was fatally harmed by a falling tree.

Click here to read more.

Tiptastic Tuesday: Coding Multiple Vaccines

It can be confusing to determine how to code for multiple immunizations administered on the same date of service.  According to Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), codes 90460 and 90461 account for each component of a vaccine.  Below are guidelines to help decipher which code is appropriate.

  • Code 90460: Use when reporting a vaccine with one component, or the first component of a multiple component or combination vaccine.
  • Code 90461: Should be reported for every additional component of the vaccine.

If multiple vaccines are given during the same visit, 90460 should be reported for each vaccine in addition to the code for the product.

Hurricane Safety Tips

As Storm Sandy continues to pummel the Northeast, residents in the path of the storm are urged to heed warnings from state and local officials.  Earlier today, President Obama spoke from the White House Briefing Room and the White House released guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) listed below.

  • Follow Directions Of Local Officials: If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Know The Forecast: Continue to monitor your NOAA Weather Radio and your local news for severe weather updates, warnings and watches. Follow your forecast at on your computer or on your smartphone.
  • Turn Around: The potential for heavy rains can also lead to flooding, or flash flooding in some areas. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous.
  • Be Prepared: Be sure to stock up on emergency supplies of batteries, candles, water and non-perishable items. Visit for more tips
  • Check On Neighbors: Make sure your neighbors, especially the elderly and infirmed, are safe and sound.
  • Find Shelters: Check the Red Cross for shelters in your area.

Kaiser Family Foundation: Spending On Medicaid Has Slowed

According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the annual growth in spending on Medicaid slowed sharply last year as the economy began to improve. Enrollment is expected to grow as millions of people are due to become eligible in 2014 under the new national health care law.

Click here to read more.