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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Use the new Advanced Beneficiary Notice form by Nov. 1

With all the deadlines that physicians are facing this year, this is an easy one to miss. In May, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted an updated Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) form on their web site that physicians must use for notifications on and after Nov.1 this year. Any prior version of the ABN that is used after Oct. 31 will be invalid and may make patient billing of non-covered services impossible.

CMS provided the following instructions regarding this updated form: "The latest version of the ABN (with the release date of 3/2011 printed in the lower left hand corner) is now available for immediate use and can be accessed via the link below. In order for providers and suppliers to have time to transition to using the newly posted notice, mandatory use of this version begins on November 1, 2011. All ABNs with the release date of 3/2008 that are issued on or after November 1, 2011 will be considered invalid."

CMS did not make any substantial changes to the form other than the new release date, which shows that it was reviewed and approved by the Executive Office of Management and Budget. There are also some formatting changes intended to comply with accessibility standards in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There are also no changes other than formatting to the instructions for use of the ABN.

If you and your staff are not familiar with the instructions for use of the ABN, now is a good time to download those and review your processes to ensure that your practice is compliant with Medicare requirements. However, if you are familiar with the instructions for appropriately delivering and completing the ABN now, you need only make sure that you are using the form with the 3/2011 release date in the lower left hand corner by Nov. 1. For your convenience, copies of the English and Spanish versions of the form are downloadable from the AAFP Coding Resources web page under the heading "CMS Non-covered Services."

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The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FPM or the AAFP. Some payers may not agree with the advice given. This is not a substitute for current CPT and ICD-9 manuals and payer policies. See Terms of Use.

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