Beaverlog Tips:  Volume 66 - May 30, 2014

New Release Available

A new release is now available for The THERAPIST Pro 3.0.

The THERAPIST Pro 3.0.007.17

We are making great headway on resolving the problems people have reported in Pro 3.0. On May 10 (last Sunday night), we released version 3.0.006.14 and soon discovered (well, one of you discovered and reported to us) that one of the things we fixed had a glaring problem. It turns out that when we were removing the debugging code we had added to find problems, we actually removed 2 lines too many. Oops. Fortunately, it wasn't hard to find and was even easier to fix so yesterday (Tuesday), we uploaded a new build, 3.0.006.15, with that fix and a couple of others.

Immediately we began work on other issues and the new release, 3.0.007.17, may be the biggest one yet. We fixed a long list of problems and added some new features along the way. This might be a good time to describe our version numbering system. Let's use the current version as an example:

3

This is the major version number. As anyone who has seen Pro 3 can attest, a major version number change generally indicates a major restructuring of the program. Major upgrades usually cost about half the cost of purchasing the full program.

0

This is the minor version number. A change in this number represents a significant change in the program. Typically, a minor version upgrade is charged at a third of the cost of purchasing the full program.

007

This is the release number and has nothing to do with James Bond. When this number changes, there will generally be a Beaverlog Tips newsletter or a smaller email announcement. There is no charge to download newer releases.

17

This is the build number. This number changes whenever we do a complete build of all of the program files from source code. A new build number does not trigger an announcment even if we upload the new build to the web site. There is no charge to download newer builds.

You can see the list of changes here. You can download the update to the latest version from our web site at http://beaverlog.com/therapist/download/pro3update.exe.

Taxonomy Codes on the CMS-1500

This article is equally applicable to all versions of Aeris Basic, The THERAPIST EZ, and The THERAPIST Pro. Though the specific screens may differ, they are described generically so we won't talk about specific screen tabs or locations on the screens.

A growing number of our customers are asking about where to enter taxonomy codes so that they are printed on the CMS-1500 (or the equivalient position on the electronic version). For The THERAPIST Pro, there is some added confusion because, in Pro, there is a specific place to enter a provider's taxonomy code but it doesn't print on the CMS-1500. It is used instead in the ANSI X12 electronic claim format.

A big source of puzzlement arises because there is no specific box on the CMS-1500 labeled Taxonomy Code on either the new or old CMS-1500. However, the "official" instructions for the form from the NUCC (nucc.org) for the form dated 02-12 do indicate several places where a taxonomy code can be entered. When referring to the official NUCC instructions for the form, we'll just call them the "instructions."

Wherever taxonomy codes (or other provider identification numbers) appear, they are paired with a qualifier code. The qualifier code tells the payer what kind of identification code or number you have entered. The qualifier code for taxonomy codes on the CMS-1500 is ZZ, though technically, ZZ is usually used to indicate a code or number that is mutually agreed upon. In this case, there is nothing mutual about it.

The following describe each of the places where taxonomy can be entered on the CMS-1500.

Box 17a

The three boxes 17, 17a, and 17b are for a referring, ordering, or supervising provider. Box 17a is a secondary ID, traditionally used before implentation of the NPI. The instructions specify that this box is filled only with a state license number, provider UPIN, commercial number, or location number with qualifier codes 0B, 1G, G2, and LU respectively. However, these instructions mention a provider taxonomy code but without specifying a qualifier code. Assume that you should use ZZ unless otherwise instructed by your payer.

In all of our software programs, this box is filled from information entered for the referring provider.

Box 19

The box title "Additional Claim Information" is nebulous and open to interpretation. Nonetheless, the taxonomy code with a ZZ qualifier code is one of the acceptible entries for this box accodring to the instructions. The instrutions were later amended to say "Taxonomy codes reported in this field must not be reportable in other fields, i.e., Item Numbers 17, 24J, 32, and/or 33." If used, the taxonomy code must follow the qualifier code with no space between the qualifier and the taxonomy code.

All of our programs support two lines in Box 19 though the instructions refer only to the lower line. The upper would be placed after the box number and title and can contain up to 41 characters while the lower is below it and is the full width of the box with up to 57 characters. The full character counts only work when using the smallest 10pt font size.

Values for box 19 are entered in the patient insurance record in all programs.

Boxes 24i and 24j

The most common location payers want to see a taxonomy code is in box 24j which is for the rendering provider secondary identification. Along with the qualifier code, it is placed in the upper, shaded portion of boxes 24i and 24j. The qualifier code goes in box 24i and the identifier (i.e. taxonomy code) is in box 24j.

In all of our programs, the rendering provider secondary identification is entered in the provider settings and may be overridden for specific insurance carriers. Box 24 information is for the rendering provider. Billing provider information is entered for box 33.

Box 33b

The billing provider secondary identification goes in the shaded box 33b. The qualifier code immediately precedes the identification code with no separating space. Again, the qualifier code is ZZ.

In all of our programs, the billing provider secondary identification is entered in the provider settings and may be overridden for specific insurance carriers.

Tip: Periods in Diagnosis Codes

A new issue with the CMS-1500 form came with the recent change in the official instructions. This change says that diagnosis codes printed in box 21 should not have the period or decimal point. This change has been included in The THERAPIST Pro 3.0 and will be in the next releases of Aeris Basic and The THERAPIST EZ. It is likely to be made to The THERAPIST Pro 2.5 as well. In all cases, it will be a Carrier option for the CMS-1500 because some payers require it and others do not. In Pro 3.0, it is also an option for electronic claims receivers using the CMS-1500 print image format. The setting affects only the new 02-12 version of the form, not the older 08-05 version.

Tip: Reporting Error Messages

When you get an error or other message from The THERAPIST or Aeris Basic and you want to report that to technical support or customer service, here are two things that can save you time and effort. First, there is a number in a light gray color in the lower left part of the message. That number tells us how to find the place in the program that caused the message. If there is no number, then the message was probably generated by Windows, not one of our programs. Reporting this message number goes a long way toward helping us resolve your issue.

The second part of this tip is really cool. Whenever you get one of our messages (the ones with the number in the lower left corner), you can press Ctrl+C while the message screen is open to save the message and some other information to the Windows Clipbpard. You can then use Ctrl+V to paste this information into an email message, or word processor document so you can send it to us. Like I said, pretty cool, huh?

The THERAPIST EZ 2.6 Diagnosis Issue

A few customers have contacted us with a problem where diagnosis codes were not being printed on the new CMS-1500. The problem appears related to the services where the diagnosis codes are not selected on the Diagnosis tab. We are unable to duplicate the problem and are eager to find someone who is having this problem so we can test some possible solutions. So if you are experiencing this problem in The THERAPIST EZ 2.6 and are willing to send us a backup of your practice data (a signed Business Associate Agreement is required), please contact technical support (no charge, of course).

Technical Support Issues

We were completely unprepared for the deluge of calls and emails that came in to technical support in March and April. The good news is that things have slowed down a bit and we are close to being caught up. Here are a couple of tips for contacting technical support.

If you send an email or leave a voice mail message, please include your customer number and your name. For voice mail messages, also leave one or more phone numbers where you can be reached and when. Please speak slowly and clearly when giving phone numbers. The more time we have to spend trying to figure out who you are and how to reach you, the less time we have to work on the issues you call about.

Email message are a bit easier because they always come with your email address attached. However, if we get an email that doesn't include a customer number and if we don't immediately recognize the sender, we often set it aside while we attend to emails from customers we can identify. If you are using a local person or company to help you, please give them your customer number so they can use it when they call or email.

The THERAPIST Pro 3.0 Support

This should come as not surprise to anyone but there have been some pretty significant problems with The THERAPIST Pro 3.0. To paraphrase a character in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "We chose poorly" in releasing the program as early as we did. The product was long past when we projected its completion and we gave in to the pressure to release it before it was ready. Some would argue that it's still not ready and they may be right; the program, while not perfect, is working pretty well now but work on the documentation has barely begun. What this means to those of you who purchased 3.0 is that we are not charging for support on Pro 3.0 even though the 60 day period since you received it may have elapsed. We will continue support for Pro 3.0 at no charge until we feel that the program is complete and stable.

Support for version 2.5 is not covered by this extension so if you are still using Pro 2.5 while waiting for your Pro 3.0 to be ready, support for Pro 2.5 is covered by our normal support policies and prices.

New Support Email Addresses

For some reason, the amount of spam we get from the support@beaverlog.com email address is becoming overwhelming. What's weird is that a lot of it is in foreign languages, mostly spanish and russian. So we are asking people to switch to using the alternate address 911@beaverlog.com for issues related to The THERAPIST and 911@AerisMed.com for issues related to Aeris Basic. Both of these "new" addresses have been available for some time but were little used.