Preparing for Flu Season
Flu season is always challenging and, with the current Public Health Emergency (PHE), advance planning will be even more important. Here are some tips to help you prepare:
- Order the appropriate quantity of flu shots. Review usage trends from past years, including how many were ordered versus how many were administered and/or not used.
- Contact facilities where you see patients—and communicate with home health and hospice agency partners—to determine if they will administer vaccinations.
- Review the vaccine documentation process within your Electronic Health Record to ensure records are current and that National
- Drug Code (NDC) numbers are recorded for patient safety and billing.
- Only carry the immunizations you need for the day, maintain them at the appropriate temperature throughout the day, and return remaining supplies to the appropriate refrigerator at the end of the day.
- Prior to administering the vaccination, verify the patient has not already received a flu vaccine.
Provide Vaccine Information Sheets to patients and caregivers before administering the vaccine.
From a billing perspective (Medicare), the only acceptable flu vaccine administration code is HCPCS G0008. It must be billed and provided by a physician or qualified healthcare professional subject to state regulations. While the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual (page 79) states a provider order is not required, “incident to” rules apply when vaccines are administered by auxiliary personnel which is why many HBPC practices administer flu vaccines during regularly scheduled visits.
Under PHE waiver flexibilities, some temporary changes to direct supervision permit the virtual presence of the supervising provider via interactive telecommunications technology for services paid under the Physician Fee Schedule and for hospital outpatient services. This may offer flexibility for HBPC practices who are considering a modified flu season approach. Additional information on preparing for the flu season can be found at CDC FAQ for the 2019-2020 flu season.