Cognitive decline — including Alzheimer's disease and other dementias — can be difficult and time consuming to discuss with patients. Although in-depth care planning is beneficial for all, this type of service has not been covered under Medicare — until now.
The new G0505 Medicare code provides reimbursement for a clinical visit that results in a comprehensive care plan, allowing you to deliver services that can contribute to a higher quality of life for your patients. Clinicians who can be reimbursed under the code include: physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives.
Care planning for individuals with dementia is an ongoing process and a formal update to a care plan should occur at least once per year or when indicated by disease progression.
All Medicare beneficiaries who are cognitively impaired are eligible to receive the services under the new code. This includes those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, other dementias, or mild cognitive impairment. It also includes those individuals without a clinical diagnosis who, in the judgment of the clinician, are cognitively impaired.
A cognition-focused exam is comprehensive, and an interview with a family member or caregiver is always desirable and often necessary to obtain an accurate history and description of current issues.
The nine assessment elements of G0505 listed below can be evaluated within the care planning visit or in one or more visits that precede it, using appropriate billing codes (most often an E/M code). Patients with complex medical, behavioral, psychosocial, and/or caregiving needs may require a series of assessment visits, while those with less complex problems may be fully assessed during the care plan visit itself.
The Alzheimer's Association, with the help of an expert task force, has compiled a comprehensive toolkit to help you conduct a visit under the code. The toolkit includes easy access to validated measures, such as the Mini-Cog™ and Dementia Severity Rating Scale, and newly designed assessment tools:
The Alzheimer's Association Expert Taskforce recommendations and tools for implementation.>
Questions to identify safety-related concerns and outline steps to keep the dementia patient safe.>
Assess a caregiver's ability and willingness to provide care.>
Screen to identify care preferences and legal needs.>
Links to helpful caregiving, safety and end-of-life resources.>