Coding Cues: Locum tenens billing

May 16, 2008

One of our physicians was called to active duty earlier this year. We've hired a substitute doctor and plan to bill his services as a locum tenens physician. Our concern is that we can only do this for 60 days. Do we need to find another replacement after that time has elapsed or can we ask for an extension?or discharge and rehire the same locum tenens doctor?

Key Points

One of our physicians was called to active duty earlier this year. We've hired a substitute doctor and plan to bill his services as a locum tenens physician. Our concern is that we can only do this for 60 days. Do we need to find another replacement after that time has elapsed or can we ask for an extension-or discharge and rehire the same locum tenens doctor?

The section of the Social Security Act that prohibits billing for the services of a substitute physician for longer than 60 continuous days was amended last August to allow an exception for physicians called to active duty. The exception, which was set to expire in January, has been extended through June 30, 2008, so you can continue to bill for your locum tenens' services through that date. Watch your carrier's Medicare newsletter for updates to this policy.