Under the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS), payment amounts are based on the relative resources required to provide services and vary among payment localities as resource costs vary geographically as measured by the geographic practice cost indices (GPCIs). The payment locality is determined based on the location where a specific service code was furnished. For purposes of determining the appropriate payment locality, CMS requires that the address, including the ZIP code for each service code be included on the claim form in order to determine the appropriate payment locality. The location in which the service code was furnished is entered on the ASC X12 837 professional claim format or in Item 32 on the paper claim Form CMS 1500.
Global Service Code
If the global diagnostic service code is billed, the biller (either the entity that took the test, physician who interpreted the test, or separate billing agent) must report the address and ZIP code of where the test was furnished on the bill for the global diagnostic service code. In other words, when the global diagnostic service code is billed, for example, chest x-ray as described by HCPCS code 71010 (no modifier TC and no modifier -26), the locality is determined by the ZIP code applicable to the testing facility, i.e. where the TC of the chest x-ray was furnished. The testing facility (or its billing agent) enters the address and ZIP code of the setting/location where the test took place. This practice location is entered using the ASC X12 837 professional claim format or in Item 32 on the paper claim Form CMS 1500. As explained in D above, in order to bill for a global diagnostic service code, the same physician or supplier entity must furnish both the TC and the PC of the diagnostic service and the TC and PC must be furnished within the same MPFS payment locality.
Separate Billing of Professional Interpretation
If the same physician or other supplier entity does not furnish both the TC and PC of the diagnostic service, or if the same physician or other supplier entity furnishes both the TC and PC but the professional interpretation was furnished in a different payment locality from where the TC was furnished, the professional interpretation of a diagnostic test must be separately billed with modifier -26 by the interpreting physician.
When the physician’s interpretation of a diagnostic test is billed separately from the technical component, as identified by modifier -26, the interpreting physician (or his or her billing agent) must report the address and ZIP code of the interpreting physician’s location on the claim form. If the professional interpretation was furnished at an unusual and infrequent location for example, a hotel, the locality of the professional interpretation is determined based on the Medicare enrolled location where the interpreting physician most commonly practices. The address and ZIP code of this practice location is entered using the ASC X12 837 professional claim format or in Item 32 on the paper claim Form CMS 1500.