Pulsimeter

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 49 , No. 4 , May 2007 , Pages 202 News

New childhood immunization fee codes

As of 15 March 2007, new immunization fees for routine immunizations for patients age 18 and younger are available for billing. These fees were approved for services effective 1 January 2007 but due to technical difficulties are only now “live.” Immunizations given since the start date of this new fee can be billed with a retroactive date of service to 1 January 2007 and can be submitted immediately. The submission cutoff for claims date-of-service between 1 January 2007 and 15 February 2007 is 12 June 2007. Table 1 provides a list of fee codes and descriptions for all immunizations covered by the new $3 MSP and WCB billing fee. Table 2 links these fee codes with a new immunization schedule that also came into effect 1 January 2007. Do not use the “P” in front of the fee code, only the numeric code. Use Diagnostic code 33A (Injection-Other). The immunization fee codes are billable in addition to the office assessment fee. 

The Society of General Practitioners has developed a billing template that is available on the members’ side of its web site (www.sgp.bc.ca). SGP members can access this template and further billing information on the SGP web site by logging on using their BCMA ID number first, then entering their last name in lowercase letters in the “Password” field.

The BC Ministry of Health, Population Health and Wellness Division will be sending out an information package to all physicians that includes immunization record sheet pads for patient charts and a small laminated billing code card. 

These new immunization fees provide a mechanism to pay doctors for immunizations given, encourage accurate and timely reporting of immunizations provided by physicians, and provide a mechanism for capturing all immunization records for children in BC, regardless of the immunization provider. Until the data can be extracted from MSP, you should continue to submit your patient immunization information directly to public health through the usual channels. A notice will be sent out when this is no longer required. Note that this fee:

• Is not payable for immunizations required for travel, employment, and emigration.

• Is not payable on the same day with B00010, B00034.

• Is payable in full with an office visit to a maximum of four injections per patient per day.

While a separate billing for each immunization is required, this new fee allows family physicians to recapture $3 per injection—a service previously provided free of charge.

—Bill Rife, MD
President, SGP

Obesity tool online

Reliable literature on obesity to support quality care is now available online. Last November the Canadian Obesity Network launched Online Best Evidence Service in Tackling Obesity Plus (OBESITY+), a knowledge tool for health providers with an interest in obesity.

OBESITY+ is based on the McMaster Online Rating of Evidence (MORE) service, as well as research on information retrieval conducted at the Health Information Research Unit at McMaster University. OBESITY+ provides Canadian Obesity Network members with the best evidence for their clinical practice on the causes, course, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of obesity and its related metabolic and mechanical complications.

OBESITY+ is accessible via the Canadian Obesity Network home page at www.obesitynetwork.ca. Physicians with an interest in obesity can join the network for free and gain access to OBESITY+ as well as other resources. Currently, the Canadian Obesity Network has over 1200 member researchers, clinicians, allied health care providers, and other professionals who are involved in the effort to reduce the mental, physical, and economic burden of obesity on Canadians. 

The tool is designed to help physicians cut through the volumes of information that are published on a weekly basis and refocus it on manageable and actionable knowledge tailored to individual practice needs.

The Canadian Obesity Network is funded by the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence Program (www.nce.gc.ca), a joint initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Industry Canada. For more information, log on to www.obesitynetwork.ca or send an e-mail to info@obesitynetwork.ca.

Home insurance: know your limits

Most people purchase a home insurance policy and then file it somewhere safe until it is needed to make a claim. We all hope the policy will never be used but the reality is that, sooner or later, the policy will be called upon to respond to a loss. 

Almost all of the home insurance policies sold by insurers today are “all risk” or “comprehensive” policies. These are the broadest type of policies available in the marketplace and cover various types of losses including fire, theft, water and wind damage, and mysterious disappearance.

While the form may be the same, all of these policies have underlying “special limits.” Insurers place these special limits in the policy to limit their exposure to certain types of property that tend to suffer more frequent losses. These special limits can differ widely from insurer to insurer and can come as a nasty surprise when a claim occurs. It is very frustrating to pull out your insurance policy after a claim, only to find the payout is severely restricted by a special limit!

Some of the common special limits to watch out for include bylaw coverage, theft of property from a motor vehicle, theft of bicycles, and jewelry.

• New building code bylaws are introduced yearly. Some homeowners face the prospect of having to comply with “setback” bylaw requirements if their home is significantly damaged by fire. In these cases the foundation of the house may have to be shifted to comply with a bylaw. Most insurance policies only provide a small amount of bylaw coverage, usually in the $15 000 to $25 000 range, which may be grossly inadequate to meet the cost of new bylaw codes. 

• The amount of personal belongings carried in your vehicle varies considerably during the year. On a road trip or driving holiday you may take more personal belongings than you would normally keep in your vehicle. Many policies limit theft of property from a vehicle to $1500, which may not be enough if you happen to have a lot of personal items in the car at the time.

• Policies typically limit the amount of coverage available for bicycles to $1000. If you have an expensive bicycle or the whole family has bicycles, the only way around this limit is to purchase a costly rider. 

• In the event that your jewelry is lost or stolen, insurance policies typically limit the amount of the claim payable to $5000. If the jewelry has not been appraised for some time, this limit may be inadequate to replace the lost pieces and you may have to contribute to the cost of replacing the items.

The BCMA Home Insurance Program has been designed to offer policies with high or no special limits. For example, there is no limit on any theft of property from a motor vehicle. In addition, the policies contain no limit on bicycles, which means they provide complete protection for all bicycles, from tricycles to top-of-the-line mountain bikes. An important feature contained in the policies is unlimited bylaws coverage—homeowners do not need to worry about increased repairs or rebuilding costs caused by bylaw requirements. The BCMA policies also offer a $10 000 jewelry limit, providing greater protection should you misplace your jewelry or have any items of your jewelry stolen. When added together, a home insurance policy containing generous special limits provides the best value for your insurance dollars and can have a significant impact on the size of the payout following a loss.

The BCMA Home Insurance Program is available through Mardon Group Insurance. They can be reached at 604 877 7762 (toll free 866 846-4467).

—Sandie Braid, CEBS
BCMA Benefits Department

Agreement news update

The home page on the members’ web site has been redesigned so it’s easier for you to find information about the 2006 Agreement. Material is now grouped into three main areas: Member Information, Agreement News, and Public Information. The links under Agreement News take you to updates on topics such as information technology in physicians’ offices (PITO), general practice items (GPSC), general compensation changes, rural programs, MOCAP, emergency medicine, specialist services, and alternative payments. 

PITO

Evaluation of the vendors’ written submissions in response to the request for proposals started on 2 April 2007 and is expected to have wrapped up on 23 April 2007. The next step is to test the vendors’ software, which should be completed by the end of June 2007. The evaluation and testing of the submissions will include clinical and non-clinical representatives from the BCMA and the Ministry of Health.

GPSC

It’s not too late for GPs to register for the Practice Support Program workshops being held around the province for 6 weeks starting in May. These workshops are designed to maximize new fee billings by addressing topics such as practice management, increased patient access, improvement of chronic disease management, and more. GPs are strongly advised to bring their MOAs to these workshops. For more information and to register, go to the member web site and click on the Practice Support Program button on the right.

New complex care fees have been created to compensate GPs for the extra time required to provide planned care for complex patients who live at home or in an assisted-living facility (excluding long-term care facilities).

This means that in addition to the fees you already receive for looking after patients with complex care issues, you can now bill these new complex care fees. For more information and how to bill these fees, please go to the member web site, click on Agreement News, click on General Practice Service Committee, and then click on New Fee Code information.

—Fiona Youatt
Communications Manager, BCMA

Bill Rife, MD,, Sandie Braid, CEBS, Fiona Youatt,. Pulsimeter. BCMJ, Vol. 49, No. 4, May, 2007, Page(s) 202 - News.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

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