CMS issued CR 6698 to clarify for providers how Medicare claims review contractors review claims and medical documentation submitted by providers. CR 6698 outlines the new rules for signatures and adds language for E-Prescribing.
The following are the signature requirements that claims reviewers will apply:
- Other regulations and CMS instructions regarding signatures (such as timeliness standards for particular benefits) take precedence.
- Definition of a handwritten signature is a mark or sign by an individual on a document to signify knowledge, approval, acceptance or obligation.
- Definition of a Signature Log: Providers will sometimes include, in the documentation they submit, a signature log that identifies the author associated with initials or an illegible signature. The signature log might be included on the actual page where the initials or illegible signature are used or might be a separate document. Reviewers will consider all submitted signature logs regardless of the date they were created.
- Definition of an Attestation Statement: In order for an attestation statement to be considered valid for Medicare medical review purposes, the statement must be signed and dated by the author of the medical record entry and contain the appropriate beneficiary information.
- Claims reviewers will not consider attestation statements where there is no associated medical record entry or from someone other than the author of the medical record entry in question. Even in cases where two individuals are in the same group, one may not sign for the other in medical record entries or attestation statements.
- If a signature is missing from an order, claims reviewers will disregard the order during the review of the claim.
- Reviewers will consider all attestations that meet the guidelines regardless of the date the attestation was created, except in those cases where the regulations or policy indicate that a signature must be in place prior to a given event or a given date.