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vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

  • 1.  vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 10-30-2016 22:18

    This came up in our recent regional meeting. thanks and thanks Amy.

    Giving vaccines, per Amy, should help us make money.  We've always just done them to hopefully break even. And mostly because we feel we should.

    I've never never coded correctly. Amy reminded us that  vaccine admin fee is charged for each component in a vaccine - and first component fee is used for ALL single vaccines.

    Additional component fee is only for combination vaccines.  So a Tdap gets billed for 3 administration fees- the higher price for the first component and lower price for the second and third components.

    This is a fairly large cost difference for us. 

    I copied this from AAFP

    "codes are reported per vaccine/toxoid component. CPT defines a component for these purposes as each antigen in a vaccine that prevents disease(s) caused by one organism. Combination vaccines are those vaccines that contain multiple vaccine components.

    You may report multiple units of code 90460 for each first vaccine/toxoid component administered. No modifier should be required when reporting multiple first components. Note also that code 90460 does not apply only to combination vaccines, but also to single component vaccines (such as influenza, human papilloma virus, or pneumococcal conjugate vaccines). This base code is reported for each vaccine administration to patients 18 years of age and under who receive counseling about the vaccine from a physician or qualified health care professional at the time of administration. Code 90461 is an add-on code reported for each additional vaccine component administered.

    Administration Coding Example

    An 11-year old girl presents for a preventive visit (99393). In addition, the child and her mother are counseled by the physician on risks and benefits of HPV (90649), Tdap (90715) and seasonal influenza (90660) vaccines. The mother signs consent to administration of these vaccines. A nurse prepares and administers each vaccine, completes chart documentation and vaccine registry entries, and verifies there is no immediate adverse reaction.

    CPT Codes reported are:
    99393 - Preventive service
    90649 - HPV vaccine
    90460 - Administration first component (1 unit)
    90715 - Tdap vaccine
    90460 - Administration first component (1 unit)
    90461 - 2 additional components (2 units)
    90660 - Influenza vaccine, live, for intranasal use
    90460 - Administration first component (1 unit)

    Melissa Weakland MD
    Ballard Neighborhood Doctors
    Seattle WA
    IMP since 2007

  • 2.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 10-31-2016 03:51

    wow   I find this to be a scam  PCPs use to survive   egads how broken this system is   I do not  even use the code with counselling- I rarely need to counsel   Do we actually counsel on the  D and the T and the P? I do not find this to be a solution to the  problem  IT raises the cost of care  Addtionally I doubt if the VFC program many of us use would allow Hmm we are told to use 90471 and get 28.56( whichis fine  ) The private spay 30+ for that code which is also fine  God things are broken 

    Jean Antonucci

  • 3.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 10-31-2016 06:31

    yes but... my main payer, Colorado Medicaid, pays $0 for 90461.  So the additional component thing is moot, its all about how many jabs, not how  many components.  Not sure about other payers....

    PJ Parmar

  • 4.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 11-01-2016 07:07

    Yes- this is only for private insurers. Medicaid has different rules because of VFC. 

    Indeed- it's all a game that we have to play. The care IMPS provide is mostly outside of the game. We each have chosen to provide the highest quality care most cost effectively within systems we each create thay allow patients to access this care when they need it and its available to all patients regardless of insurance, regardless of ability for them to pay.  And the game mostly isn't about this.  but we have to play it if we want to do the above. And we keep working to try to align more of the greater game to these true goals of healthcare. But yep for now pretty darn broken. 

    To me this forum is about helping to understand what the ever changing rules of the game are. And helping each of us to think about how much we want to play.  And how can we influence the rules of the game.  

    PCMH- did you play this part of the game or 

    ACO- part of the game some chose

    Quality metric collection- another piece of the game 

    MU- yep

    Melissa Weakland MD
    Ballard Neighborhood Doctors
    Seattle WA
    IMP since 2007

  • 5.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 11-01-2016 08:23


    I don't disagree that the system is broken, but Melissa is correct in indicating that we need to 'play the game".    If we don't--we wither and get consumed by the local hospital.

    Did you know that proceduralist can add a -22 modifier to a procedure indicating it was more challenging than expected, and recoup more in fees for said effort.  Do we as primary care docs have such a luxury?

    Until the system is based on primary care and we are reimbursed for what we are worth we must 'play the game'.

    Keep up the good work!


    Christopher Wenner

  • 6.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 11-01-2016 20:08

    The vaccine billing at least in our neck of the woods seems to definately take up quite a bit of time.  Between the people that do not want to vaccinate, try to do something that isn't even possible such as get rubeola by itself.  It is time consuming.  

    The caveat is that it is only for children, for adults with the 90460 and the 90461.  It really does help us pay overhead with the reimbursement.  

    Medicaid is totally different, we get reimbursed somewhere from 5.60 to 23.44 for the vaccine, but not for the administration.

    I know adults have a seperate code for vaccine administration, which looks quite high.  I just reviewed my own eob from a practice where I got my flu vaccine.  Insurance paid 19.11 for the vaccine and 54.00 for the administration.  That in my books is huge.  that is way more than we get paid in my clinic for a vaccine for the 90460, even with extra components.

    Amy Adkins-Dwivedi
    Stepping Stone Pediatrics

  • 7.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 11-02-2016 07:51


    I'll have to check EOB.  That sounds like an error to me.  Never heard so much for administration.

    Also, that bill per component thing is only pediatric vaccines, not adults.  The counseling code is only pediatrics.  I guess adults don't need counseling.  

    Kathy Saradarian

  • 8.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 11-03-2016 14:07

    For years I did not charge the 90471 and 90472 for vaccines if I was charging for a visit. 

    Then I took my child to the pediatrician and realized they coded a visit, the admin and vaccine (and got paid double because it's a hospital based practice!) 

    I must code the visit/physical with the modifier -25 in order to get the admin fee plus visit plus vaccine. 

    G0008 for Medicare flu admin

    G0009 for Medicare pneumovax admin. 

    Other unrelated thing --- Medicare is do a visit with modifier -25 + the G0439 Medicare annual wellness together. It's the rare Medicare patient who only comes in for the bare bones annual wellness questions. 

    Mamatha Agrawal, MD
    Family Doctor CaryNC
    Cary, NC
    Live in Raleigh, NC
    Solo since 2012
    Practice Fusion and NueMD

  • 9.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 07-31-2017 15:34
    10 years ago, most of my patients received Adacell.  I have now started to give Td booster to them.
    I have questions about billing for 10 year booster:   I am answering some of my own questions but not sure I am correct.
    Please comment or correct as indicated.

    For Medicare:
    Is it covered for routine vaccination or only for acute laceration, etc  ?
    Is   90714 the correct code?
    What admin code?  90471  ?
    Bill 2nd Admin code for second component?  90472  ?

    For HMO or private Insurance:
    CPT code?  90714?
    Admin - 90471  ?
    2nd Admin code for 2 components?  90472 ?

    Has anyone been paid for 2 admin codes?

    Is Medicare covering Td at the pharmacy as part of patients Part D pharmacy plan?

    Thank you.

    Mike Safran

  • 10.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 08-07-2017 19:52
    Medicare Part B does not cover the tetanus shot for preventive and Medicare part D does.

    90714 for Td private insurance
    I use just the one admin code 90471 unless giving to vaccines but the modifer -25 has to be on the visit.

    Another discovery I potentially made today is that while Medicare requires Q codes for some brands of flu shots, Fluzone seems to be 90686 with the G0008
    I was wondering why I did not get paid for Fluzone many times last year while the Afluria Q code was getting paid. Previously Fluzone was Q2038. I don't feel totally confident about this.

    Mamatha Agrawal, MD
    Family Doctor CaryNC
    Cary, NC
    Live in Raleigh, NC
    Solo since 2012
    Practice Fusion and NueMD

  • 11.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 08-11-2017 22:31
    Does anyone else think the Byzantine rules for getting reimbursed for vaccines, MCR well visits, etc., are just more evidence of insurers (most definitely including Medicare!) abusing us?

    (From a screed I wrote a few years ago:)

    Medicare and other insurers ('They') have the following relationship with physicians ('Us'):

    • They have much greater economic power
    • They use their economic power to control us
    • They create the rules for the relationship
    • We can't know all the rules (130,000 pages)
    • If we misinterpret or break the rules, they punish us by withholding payment
    • If they misinterpret or break the rules, they punish us by withholding payment
    • If they break the rules we have no recourse
    • We can't change the rules
    • They can change the rules without our consent
    • They can change the rules without our knowledge
    • They imply that not going along with their rules means we don't care about patients (quality)
    • We can't leave because they control the money, and people (patients) who depend on us would be hurt
    • They tell us we can't do anything right (frequent and routine denials of claims)
    • Their payment system (FFS) encourages overuse- exactly the behavior Medicare says they want to discourage
    • They hurt us (impose EMRs and other excessive bureaucratic tasks) then tell us it's our fault we can't comply with them
    • We learn we need to distort our behavior to survive.
    • We're burned out. That's not their problem. All we have to do is follow the rules (all 130,000 pages of them.)
    • What they pay for controls what we can do for the patient
    • They won't pay us for the services the patient needs
    • They don't trust us to do what's right for the patient
    • They don't trust us to provide the services the patient needs
    • They blame us for not providing the services the patient needs
    • They blame us when something goes wrong
    • They don't take our complaints seriously
    • They can decide after the fact that what we did was unnecessary (and thus deny payment,) when necessity couldn't be determined in advance
    • They threaten us with witch hunts (RAC attacks) where they can decide ex-post-facto that we didn't describe something well enough, and take back payment for it
    • We're guilty until proven innocent- at our expense
    • They minimize the difficulties we have conforming to their rules
    • They blame us for the problems in the system
    • They say they care about patient welfare and reducing costs, but they devalue primary care, which delivers better care at lower cost
    • Their policies have caused the shortage of primary care, but they take no responsibility for it
    • They keep saying things will get better, but they keep getting worse (more bureaucracy, decrease in primary care reimbursement after inflation, more data collection, more threats)

    Now, that may not be what administrators at CMS intended, but that's what insurance companies (and Medicare) do.

    What I've just described, of course, is an abusive relationship.  Many physicians understand intuitively they're abused by insurance companies & Medicare, but haven't recognized it explicitly.  Don't take my word for it.  Ask a dozen family therapists or psychiatrists whether this is an abusive relationship.  Most realize this, which is why few of them accept insurance.

    Healthy relationships involve mutual respect, trust, honesty, support, fairness/equality, good communication and consideration for the other party.  Unfortunately that doesn't describe the relationship between insurances or CMS and primary care.  Abusers notoriously change their behavior after beating up their partners, buying flowers and making nice. They promise they'll never do it again. Insurers constantly trot out new programs to improve patient care and reduce cost without reducing quality. "Trust us. This time will be different."  After enough repetitions, the abused party no longer believes the abuser.

    Abusers want all of the power and control in the relationship and work to maintain that situation, continuing unhealthy and harmful behavior patterns. "Couples counseling" requires both partners to take responsibility for their actions and make adjustments to their behavior.  But "couples counseling" implies both partners contribute to the abusive behavior, but the choice to create an abusive relationship lies solely with the abuser. Only if the abuser acknowledges that they have a problem with abuse and are prepared to openly deal with it can abuse therapy even have a chance to be successful. Most abusers are not prepared to admit their behavior.


    Insurance companies and CMS say, "Who, me?  Just follow our rules and you'll be fine."

    Peter Liepmann MD FAAFP MBA
    My mission is to fix US health care
    Bakersfield CA

  • 12.  RE: vaccine billing- maybe everyone else already knows..

    Posted 08-13-2017 08:20
    Peter- Insurance is a business plus rules and regulations are enacted
    It  is miserbale but isn't personal  we need  to  get over it
    Everyone  reads this stuff and starts to rant Preaching to the choir    I know you are trying to do something  but as a rule PCps are so quiet and politically inactive we are  part of the problem  Could you tell us about your practice or current work Peter?


         Jean Antonucci MD
         115 Mt Blue Circle
         Farmington ME 04938
    ph 207 778 3313   fax 207 778 3544