CMS has released a clarification via a Joint DME MAC publication regarding the usage of date stamp protocols for compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Many suppliers have been struggling with denials stemming from improper date stamps. According to the Face-to-Face rule, implemented by the Affordable Care Act, “A date stamp or equivalent must be used to document receipt date.” This allows the auditor to verify that the DWO was in fact received prior to delivery per the requirements of the rule.
In this publication, CMS speaks to several “commonly accepted methods” of date stamping. Those are: hard copy date stamps, hand-written dates, facsimile headers and electronic receipt dates. The date stamp should include the word “received” and the month, day and year.
CMS goes on in the notice to caution providers utilizing facsimile headers to document receipt date. Oftentimes, the headers can become distorted from multiple transmissions or can come across illegibly due to a poor connection. This makes it difficult for the auditor to determine the proper receipt date. Another concern with facsimile dates is power outage or date reset – if the date resets and it is not caught timely it can invalidate orders down the road. When in doubt, utilize a physical date stamp to reduce risk.
Proper date stamping can make the difference between a payable claim and a denial. Be sure that you have a date stamping protocol in place for all incoming documentation. See the update here: http://cgsmedicare.com/jc/pubs/news/2014/1014/cope27091.html