This new year brings many changes to our Medicare program. Everyone needs to be looking for and educating all your residents and families that Medicare will be issuing new Medicare cards beginning April 1, 2018. These new cards will not display any social security number as they will be a random number derived from the social security system. These new numbers will take effect for billing on April 1, 2018, so all systems will need to be able to accept the new format of numbers as they will not look anything like what we are accustomed to. There will be a “grace” period for billing that the acceptance of either the old number or the new number will be allowed.
In our Medicare coverages, we all need to be aware that CMS has changed the exclusion on dialysis to include those beneficiaries that may not have the diagnosis of End Stage Renal Disease, ESRD, to include those beneficiaries who have the diagnosis of N18.6, acute kidney failure. With this change, the Dialysis Facility will be able to do all the billing for the services to include the EPO and Aranesp injections given at the Dialysis Facility.
2018 is going to be both challenging and exciting for each of our Facilities. We are going to have to be mindful of all the changes in order to meet both our residents’ needs as well as our Facility needs. Hold on to your hats, because here we go!