CIGNA: Certain Claims Are Now Subject to Signature Authentication

Citing Medicare's signature and documentation policies, CIGNA Government Services, the Jurisdiction C DME MAC, says it will now check for signature authentication when reviewing Medicare claims that are being examined for additional documentation.

Included in this new policy are all post-payment and prepayment claims subjected to medical review on or after April 16, 2010, CIGNA Government Services (CGS) says. The signature policy involves "healthcare providers ordering or documenting the medical necessity for items or services received by Medicare beneficiaries." Such signatures, Medicare says, must be identifiable, though that can be accomplished by several different means.

Because of the new policy, CGS has advised Jurisdiction C suppliers who have been asked for additional documentation to "review their documentation before submission to ensure that all records for services and orders are signed appropriately. Requests for documentation from CGS Medical Review now includes language notifying suppliers of their options for authenticating signatures."

And if a medical record is missing an author's signature or contains an illegible signature, CGS warns suppliers that "a late signature - beyond the short delay that occurs during the transcription process - should not be added to the record. The supplier should instead request that the physician or other clinician submit either a signature log or a signature attestation statement."

CGS says claims reviewers "will not proceed with signature authentication if there are reasons to deny the claim that are unrelated to signature requirements. However, if the criteria in the relevant Medicare policy cannot be met but for a key piece of medical documentation which contains a missing or illegible signature, the reviewer will proceed to a signature assessment."

Additional guidelines regarding signature authentication - including examples of appropriate and inappropriate signatures and documentation - are available by clicking HERE.

In addition, an updated Medicare Learning Network (MLN) article, MM6698, has been revised and was reissued last week to include "clarifying language."

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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