Q. We use an electronic medical record. Can we show our Medicare patients an electronic version of an advance beneficiary notice (ABN), when needed, and capture their signature digitally?
A. Yes, Medicare allows the use of electronic ABNs. However, you must give your patient the option of requesting a paper ABN over electronic if that is what he or she prefers. Also, regardless of whether you use a paper or electronic version and regardless of whether the signature is captured digitally or penned manually, you must give the patient a paper copy of the signed ABN to keep for his or her records. The practice can keep an electronic version of the signed ABN for the patient’s medical record.
Use of the ABN is mandatory when Medicare is expected to deny payment (entirely or in part) for an item or service because it is not reasonable and necessary under Medicare standards or because it is considered custodial care.
Practices also may issue an ABN voluntarily as a courtesy to the patient, forewarning him or her of impending financial obligation. When an ABN is used as a voluntary notice, the patient should not be asked to choose an option box or sign the notice.
For more information about the ABN, see:
Published July 17, 2012
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