Does Medicare require a written physician order for audiologic evaluations, even if the audiologist is employed by our otolaryngology practice?
Yes. Medicare requires the following in order to file under the NPI of the audiologist for diagnostic audiology procedures, as specified in the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, Chapter 15:
a. The order must be “for the purpose of obtaining information necessary for the physician’s diagnostic medical evaluation or to determine the appropriate medical or surgical treatment of a hearing deficit or related medical problem.”
b. “The reason for the test should be documented either on the order, on the audiological evaluation report, or in the patient’s medical record.”
c. “Documentation should indicate that the test was ordered, that the reason for the test results in coverage, and that the test was furnished to the patient by a qualified individual.”
d. Orders may be a “written document, signed by the physician, hand-delivered, mailed or faxed; a telephone call or e-mail placed by the treating physician” to the audiologist.
Chapter 15 adds that both the referring physician (who could be an offsite physician, e.g., a primary care physician or neurologist) and the audiologist must have telephone referrals documented in their respective charts.
Make sure your EMR makes documentation easy!