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BlueAlert | May 2018

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc.

This information applies to all lines of business unless stated otherwise. 

Medical Policy Updates/Changes

We’re updating the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual with revised policies. To read the complete information, click Upcoming Medical Policies.

Effective May 30, 2018

  • Transcatheter Hepatic Arterial Chemoembolization (Revision)

Effective June 1, 2018

  • Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (Revision)
  • Expanded Molecular Panel Testing of Cancers to Identify Targeted Therapies (Revision)

Helpful Tips for Availity® Users

Now that we’ve transitioned from BlueAccessSM to Availity, we understand you may have questions about using the new portal. Here are some helpful tips when using Availity.

  • Pop-up blockers
    • Pop-up blockers need to be enabled for all domains, i.e., Availity.com, bcbst.com and vendor sites.
    • Additional details are available in the Help section at Availity.com.
  • Authorizations
    • Clinical notes must be in plain text only.
      • This includes lowercase and uppercase letters. Letters with accents, such as è, are not allowed.
      • This includes all numbers.
      • These are the only special characters that can be used: ! @ # : $ & ( ) \ - ` . + , / " * ? = % ' ; < > -
    • When documents are copied and pasted, some characters may be misinterpreted by the browser. Some of these uncommon characters could be: ¥, ÿ, ã, ¾, ©, etc.
  • Regions Not Available, Registration or Navigation Issues
    • o Availity is a multi-payer portal. If you aren’t seeing all of the regions you should have access to, please contact Availity Client Services at the number listed below. They can also help with registration or navigation problems.


  • Every user must have a unique User ID, and there should be no sharing of Accounts/User IDs.
    • Sharing accounts between multiple people will terminate sessions for the person already logged on. Availity security will not allow multiple users to use shared accounts.
  • When registering users with Availity, please do not share email addresses. Each user should enter the email address where they can receive emails specific to their User ID.

Availity offers all the same capabilities as BlueAccess, and more. Recently released feature:

  • Remit PDF Link: Providers can now access their BlueCross remit for Paid or Denied claims in Claim Status (NEW) at Availity.

If you need help or have questions about your Availity account, please:

  • Call Availity Client Services at 1-800-AVAILITY (282-4548). Assistance is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET (excluding holidays).
  • Call BlueCross eBusiness Technical support at (423) 535-5717, option 2. Representatives are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. You can also email ebusiness_techsupport@bcbst.com.
  • Contact your eBusiness Regional Marketing Consultant. Your consultant will be happy to answer your questions about the Availity portal.

Updating Communication Materials from BlueAccess to Availity

Now that we’ve transitioned to Availity, we’re in the process of updating all references to BlueAccess in our communication materials. These include our provider administration manuals and documents on our websites. Our goal is to have these documents updated by the end of second quarter, so we appreciate your patience. If you have questions about using Availity, please contact your eBusiness Regional Marketing Consultant.

Member ID Number Prefix Update

We want you to know about a recent change we made to our Member ID card prefixes. Effective April 15, 2018, we modified them to allow numeric characters in addition to the traditional alpha-only ones.

We made this decision to expand the pool of prefixes needed to support the various BlueCross plans. In addition to the three-character, alpha-only prefixes, you’ll begin seeing alpha-numeric prefixes, e.g., A2A, 2AA, 22A, AA2, 2A2, A22. The Federal Employee Program will continue to use Member ID numbers that begin with an R followed by eight numeric characters.

Remember, claims should be submitted with the Member ID number exactly as it appears on the Member ID card including the prefix. We use prefixes to identify the member’s type of coverage, obtain health plan contract information and route claims to the correct Home Plan through the BlueCard and Inter-Plan Programs.

To allow you time to transition to the new prefixes, we’ll verify the Member ID prefix through May 31 and make corrections if needed. Starting June 1, however, we’ll begin to reject claims with an invalid prefix.

If you have any questions, please call BlueCross Provider Service.

BlueCross to Soon Remove Step in the Contracting and Credentialing Process for Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners*

In the near future, BlueCross will remove the requirement for physician assistants (PA) and nurse practitioners (NP) to complete supervising or admitting forms as part of the contracting and credentialing process. Instead, we’ll obtain admitting information from the CAQH application and the supervising physician information from the medical boards indicated by the PA or NP. Please review your information to confirm that it’s up-to-date. These changes will appear in the third quarter editions of the BlueCross and BlueCare Tennessee Provider Administration Manuals.

Changes to NICU Utilization Management and Care Management Services

Starting Sept. 1, 2018, BlueCross will handle all utilization management and care management services for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) babies covered by Commercial plans. Previously, Progeny helped us with these services.

To request authorizations or care management services, please call our Provider Service line for authorizations at 1-800-924-7141. For case management, call 1-800-818-8581, ext. 6900.

Federal Employee Program (FEP) Adds Healthy Maternity Program

Healthy Maternity, a program for expectant mothers, is now available to FEP members in Tennessee. This program links mothers-to-be with personalized support from maternity nurses and access to online resources. The program offers:

  • Confidential maternity health advice
  • Personalized one-on-one support from a dedicated maternity nurse
  • Prenatal information and online pregnancy resources
  • Help with benefits and how to get the most out of them during and after pregnancy
  • Details about treatment, care and immunization schedules for the baby

If you have patients who are expecting a baby, please share this information with them. They can enroll in this no-cost program by calling 1-800-818-8581.

Prior Authorization Requirements for New Specialty Medications Recently Added to Market

We’ve added the following specialty drugs, recently added to market, to the list of provider-administered specialty medications that require prior authorization for all lines of business:

Trogarzo (J3590) – effective April 20, 2018

Ilumya (J3590) – effective April 30, 2018

You can find information on all provider-administered specialty medications that require prior authorization on our website.

Prior Authorization Requirement for Genetic Testing

Beginning June 1, 2018, you’ll need to request prior authorization from eviCore for molecular and genomic testing for our Commercial fully-insured and individual members. You may log in or call 1-888-693-3211 to obtain authorization.

You can also learn more about this important change by registering for online orientation designed to help you and your staff with the new molecular and genomic testing program. During these sessions, you’ll learn more about prior authorization requirements and how to navigate eviCore’s website, where you’ll find clinical guidelines and request forms.

Click here for the orientation schedule and other program resources, including step-by-step instructions on how to register for training. Please call eviCore’s Client Provider Operations at 1-800-646-0184 if you have any questions or need more information.

Note: You may submit requests to eviCore through BlueCross’ payer spaces within the Availity provider portal or by calling 1-888-693-3211 to obtain authorization

New Outpatient Drug Testing Policy

Beginning June 1, 2018, urine/serum drug testing will be limited to 20 episodes per annual individual benefit period. An episode is defined as either a presumptive or confirmatory test (or both for the same date of service for each provider billed on the same claim).

A presumptive test is also known as a qualitative point-of-care test (POCT) or a drug screen. A confirmatory test identifies the drugs in a patient’s system as well as the exact amount present at the time the sample was taken.

This policy does not apply to BlueCare Tennessee, CoverKids, FEP or our Medicare Advantage members.

BlueCare Tennessee

This information applies to BlueCareSM, TennCareSelect, and CoverKidsSM plans excluding dual-eligible BlueCare Plus (HMO SNP)SM unless stated otherwise.

Lab Services Provider Change in BlueCare Tennessee Network

While Quest Diagnostics continues as a BlueCare Tennessee and CoverKids network provider for laboratory services, Quest’s subcontract with American Esoteric Laboratories (AEL) has ended. As a result, your office should no longer send lab work for BlueCare members to AEL. Please send all lab tests for BlueCare Tennessee and CoverKids members directly to Quest, with the exception of hospital in-patient lab work or testing allowed under the Lab Exclusion List.

If you need help transitioning to Quest, please contact their representative in your area.

Region Name Phone Number
Chattanooga Eric Penney (423) 443-6571
Johnson City Chris Maupin (423) 444-2729
Kingsport Dea Bevins (423) 242-8937
Knoxville North Denise Doster (865) 306-4539
Knoxville South Kay Cunningham (423) 408-4905
Memphis Judy Guthrie (901) 483-6850
Nashville North Lynn Bates (615) 517-9457
Nashville Roxanne Carreon (615) 512-9667
Nashville South Heather Lund (615) 210-7034
West Tennessee Paula Hill (901) 337-4292

Children with Special Needs Require TennCare Kids Services Too

Children with special needs often receive extra care and visits to specialists or primary care practitioners for specific reasons. While the reasons for the visits may not be for a checkup, children with special needs should also have TennCare Kids well-child checkups every year. You can find Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care at the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

If you have questions about coding or billing, please see the BlueCare Tennessee Provider Administration Manual.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Guideline Changes

Please note the following guideline changes to ABA:

  • Although we strongly encourage a parent or guardian to be engaged and participate in ABA, we may make exceptions depending on extenuating circumstances.
  • We believe evidence that supports ABA continues to be limited because of wide variations in methodology, findings and philosophical bias, which makes well-defined conclusions difficult.

Updated ABA medical necessity guidelines will be available June 1.

Prior Authorization for Knee Braces to Start June 1

Starting June 1, 2018, providers in the BlueCare Tennessee and CoverKids networks who supply or service a knee brace that exceeds $200 will need prior authorization. The No Prior Authorization Required list on bluecare.bcst.com will be updated June 1, 2018 to reflect this change. Providers who are out of network will be required to request prior authorization for any service or supply related to knee braces. Please look for more information in the June BlueAlert.

Reimbursement for Revenue Code 0761 Ends June 1

Beginning June 1, 2018, facilities in the BlueCare Tennessee and CoverKids networks will not receive reimbursement for Revenue Code 0761 (Treatment Room Services). This code is often billed incorrectly when observation codes 0729, 0762, 0769 or surgical code 0360 would be appropriate.

Medicare Advantage

This information applies to BlueAdvantage (PPO)SM. BlueCare Plus (HMO SNP)SM is excluded unless stated otherwise.

Provider Stars Ratings Are Available in Availity

BlueCross’ Medicare Advantage Quality+ Partnerships Program offers enhanced reimbursement for 4-Star and above quality scores and coding accuracy completed during the 2017 calendar year. You can visit Availity to view your 2017 Stars rating.

After logging in to Availity through Availity.com and accessing the Quality Rewards tool, click on your Medicare Advantage scorecard and view your Stars rating at the top of the scorecard.

As of April 1, 2018, Stars ratings, which are calculated by the previous year’s performance, impact your reimbursement rates. Please refer to the rate attachment in your rebasing rate notification letter mailed at the end of March.

You can reference your contract amendments for information about the Medicare Advantage base rate, quality adjustment and total earning potential. Please refer to our website for a complete listing of providers with ratings of 4 Stars and above.

New Medicare Advantage ID Cards

In an effort to protect Medicare enrollees from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers (SSN), combat identity theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars, CMS is launching an initiative to remove SSNs from member ID cards. Some members may have already received new cards, depending on the schedule outlined by CMS. You can find more information about how the new Medicare number will impact you in the Providers section on the CMS website.

Scam Alert for Medicare Enrollees

Medicare will never call Medicare enrollees uninvited and ask them to give personal or private information to get their new Medicare number and card. Scam artists may try to get personal information from enrollees, like current Medicare numbers, by contacting them about their new card. If someone asks your patients for information or money, or threatens to cancel health benefits if they don’t share personal information, your patient should hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Medicare Advantage Home Health Billing Guidelines

Medicare Advantage requires HCPCS codes to be submitted for all outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. Skilled nursing, medical social services and home health aide services must also be submitted with the appropriate HCPCS code that correspond with the Revenue Code being billed.

Starting July 1, 2018, home health services not billed with the appropriate Revenue Code/HCPCS Code combination will be rejected.

Please refer to the current Medicare Advantage section of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Provider Administration Manual for additional home health billing information.

Type of Service Description Revenue Code Procedure Code
Home Health Agency Visits Home Health Agency Physical Therapy 421 G0151
Home Health Occupational Therapy 431 G0152
Home Health Speech Therapy 441 G0153

BlueCross Partners with CIOX Health to Collect Medical Records

As a Medicare Advantage organization, we’re required to submit risk adjustment data to CMS. We’ve started our annual Medicare risk adjustment medical records data review to make sure we submit complete risk adjustment data to CMS.

We’ve partnered with CIOX Health to obtain medical records beginning in late April and early May. You may soon receive a letter with a list of requested member records, instructions and options on how to send the medical records to CIOX. Please follow the return instructions provided with your letter.

Administrative Approval Updates for Home Health Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy *

Effective May 1, 2018, we’ll approve initial home health requests for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy for Medicare Advantage members for up to seven visits in a 14-day timeframe. The number of visits and timeframe is sufficient to cover an initial evaluation, and three visits per week for two weeks. We won’t need clinical information for administrative approvals other than a diagnosis. We’ll consider additional requests beyond the initial visit approval and timeframe as extension requests, which will require supporting clinical documentation for a medical necessity review.

If you need more than seven visits within or beyond the 14-day timeframe on your initial request, please submit all supporting documentation for medical necessity review with your request. This is in addition to the current process in place for Home Health Skilled Nursing visits.

Limits for Positive Airway Pressure Devices (PAP) & Urologic Supplies

Effective July 1, 2018, BlueAdvantage will begin enforcing the maximum number of units allowed for certain respiratory assistance device accessories and urologic supplies based on CMS Local Coverage Determinations for:

  • Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Devices for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Urological Supplies

You’ll be reimbursed for eligible accessories and supplies according to the applicable fee schedule. We won’t cover any units billed that exceed the maximum number allowed.

Quality Care Partnerships

This information applies to all lines of business unless stated otherwise 

THCII Episodes of Care: Interim Performance and Preview Reports

Episodes of Care Interim Performance and Preview Reports for Commercial and Medicaid lines of business will be available later this month.

Please login to Availity to view your reports. Reports are aggregated to the Contract ID + Tax ID level. For more information related to Episodes of Care, please visit our BlueCare Tennessee and Commercial websites.

If you believe you should have reports, but cannot access them, please call eBusiness at (423)-535-5717.

Health Scorecards Sent to Members with Gaps in Care

This month, we’ll start sending health scorecards to our Commercial, Medicare Advantage, BlueCare PlusSM, BlueCare Tennessee and CoverKids members. These scorecards alert them to screenings and care they need to get, and include customized health tips. Members are encouraged to share their scorecards with their physicians during office visits, so they can discuss important health recommendations. If you need additional information about our quality measures and gaps in care, please refer to the Quality Care Rewards page at bcbst.com/providers.

Preventing and Reporting Member Falls

Every year, one of every three adults over the age of 64 suffers a fall. In addition, once they’ve experienced a fall, they’re at a greater risk for more. While every fall doesn’t lead to an injury or require a Critical Incident Report, it’s important to notify the member’s Support Coordinator, Care Coordinator and/or Case Manager. This helps them provide better care for your patient.

Falls are the main reason older adults visit the emergency room. And since more than half of these falls happen at home, it’s important to help reduce their risks. Here are some steps you can suggest to your patients to help reduce the risk of falls in their home:

  • Remove clutter and items that could cause a trip like: small furniture, rugs and electrical cords.
  • Ensure railings are installed on both sides of stairs.
  • Use non-skid adhesive strips on stairs.
  • Install grab bars in showers, bathtubs and near toilets.
  • Place non-skid mats in the bath and shower.
  • Ensure any dark areas are well lit and add nightlights in areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms and hallways.
  • Encourage use of walkers or canes.
  • Make sure proper shoes are worn.

Working together, we can help to prevent falls.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee complies with the applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations and does not discriminate against members or participants in the provision of services on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. If a member or participant needs language, communication or disability assistance, or to report a discrimination complaint, please, call 1-800-468-9698 for BlueCare, 1-888-325-8386 for CoverKids or 1-800-263-5479 for TennCareSelect. For TTY help call 771 and ask for 888-418-0008.

This information is educational in nature and is not a coverage or payment determination, reconsideration or redetermination, medical advice, plan pre-authorization or a contract of any kind made by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Inclusion of a specific code or procedure is not a guarantee of claim payment and is not instructive as to billing and coding requirements. Coverage of a service or procedure is determined based upon the applicable member plan or benefit policy. For information about BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee member benefits or claims, please call the number on the back of the member’s ID card.

* Changes will be included in the next provider administration manual update as applicable. Until then, please use this communication to update your provider administration manual.

Archived editions of BlueAlert are available online at http://www.bcbst.com/providers/newsletters/index.page

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. BlueCare Tennessee and BlueCare are Independent Licensees of the BlueCross BlueShield Association
CPT® is a registered trademark of the American Medical Association

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