Costly Medical Billing Errors: How Home Health Agencies Can Avoid Them

An important distinction when it comes to medical billing errors is the difference between a rejected claim and a denied claim. A rejected claim is one caused by a billing error which may be the result of a clerical error, or a mismatched procedure and ICD codes. These claims can then be corrected and resubmitted. Of course, having to correct and resubmit claims not only slows down the revenue cycle and, ultimately, cash flow, it also costs valuable time. The ideal is to submit clean claims, avoiding errors in the first place.


Here are some of the most common—and costly—billing errors that can easily be avoided when outsourcing your billing to an experienced medical billing company:


  1. Incorrect patient information – Sex, name, DOB, insurance ID number, etc.
  2. Incorrect provider information – Address, name, contact information, etc.
  3. Incorrect insurance provider information – Wrong policy number, address, etc.
  4. Incorrect codes – Entering confusing ICD, CPT, or HPCS codes; entering confusing Place of Service codes; attaching conflicting or confusing modifiers to HCPCS or CPT codes; entering too few or too many digits to an ICD, CPT, or HCPCS codes
  5. Mismatched medical codes – Entering confusing ICD codes with CPT codes, or vice versa, etc.
  6. Leaving out codes altogether for procedures or diagnoses – Failing to add proper procedure or codes for diagnoses is a surefire way to have a claim rejected.
  7. Duplicate billing – If the provider’s office submits a claim for a procedure that has already paid for or reported, this can cause a claim rejection as well.
  8. Provider initiated billing codes – Not all errors are the result of a biller’s errors—some are the result of provider errors such as these, reports the American Medical Association:
  • Undercoding – a provider intentionally leaves out a procedure code from a superbill, or codes for a less serious or extensive procedure than the patient received. Undercoding may be done to avoid audits for certain procedures, or to try and save money for the patient. This process is illegal and counts as a type of fraud.
  • Upcoding – Another fraudulent process where a provider intentionally misrepresents the work they performed on a patient. In upcoding, a practice enters codes for services a patient did not receive, or codes for more intensive procedures then the provider actually performed.
  • Poor documentation – If a provider has provided incorrect, illegible, or incomplete documentation of a procedure or patient visit, it’s difficult to make an accurate or complete claim.

    In addition, inaccurate billing codes also put your facility at risk for denied claims. Here are some of the most common ones to avoid:

5HC01 results when the face-to-face contact required between doctor and patient is not verified.

56900 will appear when documentation for the Additional Development Request (ADR) is missing or late.

5HY01 occurs when the treatment or services are considered unnecessary or unreasonable.

5HC09 is related to the recertification order with an Additional Development Request (ADR) being denied because it is missing or incomplete.

5HC08 means that the recertification order for the estimated length of services is invalid, incomplete, or not present.


How home health providers can avoid costly medical billing errors


Unless you have experience medical billing staff (and the budget to pay for a seasoned in-house team) it is difficult to avoid making these common billing errors or to know what denied claim codes mean. Proper claim submission can help you avoid these errors in commercial insurance billing. Dominion Revenue Solutions can help your home health agency minimize rejected claims and manage any that do occur to quickly correct them so that your agency can receive the revenue it deserves. Prioritizing follow up efforts is absolutely critical for commercial insurance claims. Let Dominion Revenue Solutions be your partner in these efforts to maximize your agency’s revenue.