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Requisition Information and Courses from MediaLab, Inc.

These are the MediaLab courses that cover Requisition and links to relevant pages within the course.

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Dermal Puncture and Capillary Blood Collection
Hematology Specimens

In some institutions, the phlebotomist is responsible for collecting specimens that will be directly tested to yield results for hematology studies.Blood Smear FilmsIf it is the practice of the institution, the phlebotomist may make a blood film slide directly from the blood flowing at a dermal puncture site. In this case, a drop of blood is allowed to fall directly onto the glass slide. The image below illustrates the approximate size of the drop that should be used.Using a second glass slide, the phlebotomist should spread the blood by first aligning the edge of the spreader slide in front of the drop of blood, pulling back into the drop so that it is evenly distributed behind the spreader slide as shown in the image below. Then spread the blood forward, maintaining an angle of approximately 20° between the slides. The finished slide should be at least 2.5 cm in length, there should be a gradual transition in thickness from thick to thin, ending in a feather edge. The blood smear should be made at the beginning of the dermal puncture procedure to avoid formation of microclots. Remember that the glass slides used to make the blood smear are considered sharps and can cause accidental puncture injury to both the patient and the phlebotomist. Dispose of the spreader slide in a sharps container. Also, until the smear is stained or fixed, the blood film is considered potentially infectious so bloodborne pathogen precautions must be followed.Microhematocrit collectionIn some institutions, capillary blood specimens are collected directly into heparinized capillary tubes, which are then analyzed to determine packed cell volume. These results can be used to indicate the presence of anemia. At least two capillary tubes should be filled for microhematocrit testing. The capillary tubes should be filled with blood to about two- thirds the length of the tube. One end of each tube should then be sealed to prevent blood from escaping. The sealant may be sealing clay or commercially-provided covers that are made specifically for the microhematocrit system that is in use. Capillary tubes should be plastic or mylar-wrapped glass tubes. Plain glass capillary tubes should not be used to prevent the possible transmission of bloodborne pathogens if the tube broke and punctured through the glove and skin of the phlebotomist.It is imperative that the specimens are labeled appropriately with patient information. This can be accomplished by inserting the capillary tubes into a second larger blood collection tube that is labeled with the patient name and second identifier, such as hospital or medical record number and capping the large tube. Taping the capillary tubes individually to a paper requisition with the patient information is an alternate method.

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Medical Error Prevention (retired)
Near Misses

Near misses are also related to medical errors: Near misses are medical events that avert unwanted consequences.Someone or something identifies and corrects harmful influences before they cause adverse events.The medical community sometimes calls near misses “close calls.” For example, a transfusion is stopped when the nurse discovers that the identification number on a unit of blood does not match the unit number on the requisition. This is a near miss for the patient receiving a transfusion of incompatible blood. Near misses often provide important insight into new ways of preventing medical errors. In this case, a flaw in Blood Bank cross-checking systems is discovered so it can be prevented from causing a medical error.

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Medicare Compliance for Clinical Laboratories
Test Requisitions

Requisitions must be designed to ensure that ordering physicians can choose tests that are medically necessary for their patients. Requisitions should contain reminders about Medicare rules of medical necessity and list the contents of panels and profiles. Requisitions must provide a place for the physician to include diagnosis codes (ICD9-CM until October 1, 2014 or ICD-10 as of October 1, 2014)). Physicians should be encouraged to use only the requisitions supplied by the laboratory to order tests.

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Panels and Profiles

Panels and Profiles: It is not against the law for a laboratory to allow the use of panels, profiles, and custom panels. However, all applicable CPT codes must be included. The laboratory must ensure that the ordering doctor knows what tests are included in a panel or profile and what CPT codes will be billed to the Medicare program. The laboratory notifies doctors about panels and profiles through a written notice and the requisition. Employees should not permit the order of any panel or profile not authorized by the laboratory.

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Physician Notices and Acknowledgements

Notices must be sent annually by the laboratory to its customers (physicians). Notices remind physicians about Medicare rules and regulations. Notices include summaries of laboratory test ordering policies, requisition use, CPT coding and ICD coding. Physician acknowledgements must be signed by any physician who wants to create a custom panel, profile or reflex test. This is the only way a special panel or profile may be performed by the laboratory. The physician must order tests individually when there is no physician acknowledgement signed. The laboratory must renew physician acknowledgements at least annually.

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Case Study 5

The setting is a nursing home where a phlebotomist from the laboratory goes to draw blood samples each day. The phlebotomist picks up the requisitions for blood tests at the nursing station and then goes to the various rooms to draw blood from the patients. She notices that every requisition has an Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) attached to it that is signed by the patient, even when the tests that were ordered don't need them. She asks the nurse at the station but she informs the phlebotomist that she doesn't know anything about it because it is done on the night shift.She lets the phlebotomist know that she will inform the nursing supervisor about it when she arrives at 9:00 AM. The phlebotomist completes her blood draws and returns to the laboratory. What should the phlebotomist do, if anything, in addition to her letting the nurse know about the problem?Correct Answer: The phlebotomist should report the incident to her supervisor upon returning to the laboratory.Discussion: Since the laboratory is submitting the claims for Medicare patients from whom the phlebotomist collects blood specimens, the problem is the lab's problem. However, it is not going to change the fact that the ABNs were already signed by the patients, if the phlebotomist refuses to collect specimens from these patients or if the nursing personnel are required to remove the ABNs. By contacting the supervisor, an appropriate representative from the laboratory can follow up with the nursing supervisor to ensure they understand the laws and regulations that govern ABNs.

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Case Study 8

The setting is a billing office in a laboratory where clerks work in close proximity to each other, so that each can easily see what the other is doing. A billing clerk notices that one of his fellow employees is changing or adding codes to requisitions he is processing. This employee is a friend of his and he knows that he really needs the job at the laboratory because he is a single parent raising two kids. He also knows that what the employee is doing is against the company's compliance policies.He asks the employee about it and is given the explanation that because the computer requires something to be entered in the ICD code field and he only does this with non-Medicare patients, it doesn't matter. The employee explains that it gives him more time to call for codes for the Medicare patients. What should this clerk do about this situation?Correct Answer: He should talk to the supervisor about the problem even if he talks to his fellow employee about it and the employee says he will stop doing it.Discussion: Every employee who becomes aware of a violation of the law or a compliance policy has a responsibility to take action, which includes reporting the problem to a supervisor or the compliance officer. It doesn't matter that these patients are not Medicare patients, the important thing is that the employee is violating a compliance policy. If this employee does not report the problem he is himself violating a compliance policy. If it is subsequently discovered that he knew and didn't report it, he could be terminated. The employee's addition of the codes could create a big problem for the lab iif an audit or inspection occurred.

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Case Study 6

It is 11:00 PM and the specimen processing department is finishing up the night's accessioning and test order entry. A specimen processor is working on a requisition that has an order for a Hepatic Profile but there are two tubes of blood with the order, one of which is a lavender top tube. This is the fourth requisition from this same doctor's office and all of them have had a lavender top tube and serum tube with an order for a chemistry test and a CBC. No CBC is marked on the requisition or written on the tube. The specimen processor figures the office just forgot to mark the test and knows that the results will be delayed and the sample might not be any good if he doesn't order the CBC now. He is also under pressure from the technical departments to finish processing on time so they can get their work done on time for result printing in the morning. What should the processor do?Correct Answer: Look up the laboratory's policy for handling such a situation and follow the policy.Discussion: The laboratory is not permitted to change a doctor's order in any way. By ordering the CBC the processor is ordering a test that the doctor did not specifically order and therefore makes the laboratory subject to a violation of the False Claims Act. By reviewing and following the laboratory policy, the processor assures that the laboratory, the physician, and the patient's best interests are met.

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Case Study 9

A billing clerk is entering billing demographics on requisitions as a part of the normal day's work. The department is under pressure to reduce accounts receivable, which means that the more clean claims that are filed, the better. This particular requisition is for a Medicare patient and has an LMRP test but does not have a diagnosis on it. The billing clerk remembers that just a few requisitions before this one she had a requisition from the same doctor that had this same test on it that did have a diagnosis that allowed the test to be billed. She thumbs back in the pile and finds the previous requisition, notes the code that was used, and adds it to the current requisition. This will help her meet the department goal of getting claims paid and reducing accounts receivable. Can she do this?Correct Answer: She should not do this because it is against the law to change diagnosis information on a requisition.Discussion: A laboratory employee should never change, add or use previously received diagnosis information for the purpose of making a test billable for the Medicare program or for any other insurance or payer. This is a form of fraud and for each claim submitted as a result of this activity, the laboratory is liable for a false claim and would have to pay the government back up to three times the reimbursement for the test and up to $10,000 for each claim submitted. If the employee is caught doing this, even if the employee is ignorant of the law and any laboratory policy prohibiting it, the employee must be disciplined along with the employee's supervisor. Any employee who notices another employee doing this should correct the employee and report the incident to the department supervisor immediately.

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Medicare Compliance for Clinical Laboratories (retired)
Requisitions and ambiguous orders

Requisitions must be designed to ensure that ordering physicians can choose tests that are medically necessary for their patients. Requisitions should contain reminders about Medicare rules of medical necessity and list the contents of panels and profiles. Requisitions must provide a place for the physician to include diagnosis (ICD9-CM) codes. Physicians should be encouraged to use only the requisitions supplied by the laboratory to order tests. Ambiguous or unclear test orders When the orders for a test are not absolutely clear, the laboratory must contact the ordering physician to clarify the orders before performing and billing for the test. The laboratory cannot guess at the order. The laboratory cannot perform and bill for tests that are not specifically ordered. The laboratory cannot change a physician order without contacting the physician. In any case where specimen integrity or patient care will be compromised by a delay in testing follow the policies the laboratory has established for such cases.

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Panels and profiles

Panels and Profiles: It is not against the law for a laboratory to allow the use of panels, profiles and custom panels. The laboratory must ensure that the ordering doctor knows what tests are included in a panel or profile and what CPT codes will be billed to the Medicare program. The laboratory notifies doctors about panels and profiles through a written notice and the requisition. Employees should not permit the order of any panel or profile not authorized by the laboratory.

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Physician notices and acknowledgements

Notices to physicians must be sent by the laboratory to its customers once each year. Notices remind physicians about Medicare rules and regulations. Notices include summaries of laboratory test ordering policies, requisition use, CPT coding and ICD coding. Physician acknowledgements must be signed by any physician who wants to create a custom panel, profile or reflex test. This is the only way a special panel or profile may be performed by the laboratory. The physician must order tests individually when there is no physician acknowledgement signed. The laboratory must renew physician acknowledgements at least annually.

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Test orders

Anytime an order is not clear, the physician office must be contacted.Do not use information supplied by a patient to clarify an order. Patients cannot add tests on their own. If a patient insists they want tests not specifically ordered by the doctor, the doctor should be contacted.When transferring a doctor's order from a non-standard form like a prescription pad to a laboratory requisition, it is important to ensure the accuracy of the order.Attach the original order document to the requisition sent to the laboratory.Follow all laboratory policies about panels and profiles, ambiguous orders and reflex tests.

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Case Study 10

The setting is nursing home where a phlebotomist from the laboratory goes to draw blood samples each day. The phlebotomist picks up the requisitions for blood test orders at the nursing station and then goes to the various rooms to draw blood from the patients. She notices that every requisition has an Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) attached to it that is signed by the patient, even when the tests that were ordered don't need them. She asks the nurse at the station but she informs the phlebotomist that she doesn't know anything about it because it is done on the night shift.She lets the phlebotomist know that she will inform the nursing supervisor about it when she arrives at 9:00 AM. The phlebotomist completes her blood draws and returns to the laboratory. What should the phlebotomist do, if anything, in addition to her letting the nurse know about the problem?Correct Answer: The phlebotomist should report the incident to her supervisor upon returning to the laboratory.Discussion: Since the laboratory is submitting the claims for any Medicare patients that the phlebotomist might draw, the problem is the labs problem. However, it is not going to change the fact that the ABNs were already signed by the patients if the phlebotomist refuses to draw them or if the nursing personnel are required to remove them. By contacting the supervisor, an appropriate representative from the laboratory can follow up with the nursing supervisor to ensure they understand the laws and regulations that govern ABNs.

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Case Study 8

The setting is a billing office in a laboratory where two or more clerks work together in very close proximity with each other, so that each can easily see what the other is doing. A billing clerk notices that one of his fellow employees is changing or adding codes to requisitions he is processing. This employee is a friend of his and he knows that he really needs the job at the laboratory because he is a single parent raising two kids. He also knows that what the employee is doing is against the company's compliance policies.He asks the employee about it and is given the explanation that because the computer requires something to be entered in the ICD-9 code field and he only does this with non-Medicare patients, it doesn't matter. The employee explains that it saves him a lot of time he uses to call to get codes for the Medicare patients. What should this clerk do about this?Correct Answer: She should talk to the supervisor about the problem even if she talks to the employee about it and the employee says she will talk to the supervisor and stop doing it.Discussion: Every employee who becomes aware of a violation of the law or a compliance policy has a responsibility to take action, which includes reporting the problem to a supervisor or the compliance officer. It doesn't matter that these patients are not Medicare patients, the important thing is that the employee is violating a compliance policy. If this employee does not report the problem he is himself violating a compliance policy. If it is subsequently discovered that he knew and didn't report it, he could be terminated. If there is a need for refunds to be done or other action, it will not occur and could create a big problem for the lab in a subsequent audit or other action.

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Case Study 3

It is 11:00 PM and the specimen processing department is finishing up the night's accessioning and test requesting. A specimen processor is working on a requisition that has an order for a Hepatic Profile but there are two tubes of blood with the order, one of which is a lavender top tube. This is the fourth requisition from this same doctor's office and all of them have had a lavender top tube and serum tube with an order for a chemistry test and a CBC. No CBC is marked on the requisition or written on the tube. The specimen processor figures the office just forgot to mark the test and knows that the results will be delayed and the sample might not be any good if he doesn't order the CBC now. He is also under pressure from the technical departments to finish processing on time so they can get their work done on time for result printing in the morning. What should the processor do?Correct Answer: Look up the laboratory's policy for handling such a situation and follow the policy.Discussion: The laboratory is not permitted to change a doctor's order in any way. By ordering the CBC the processor is ordering a test that the doctor did not specifically order and therefore makes the laboratory subject to a violation of the False Claims Act. By reviewing and following the laboratory policy the processor assures that the laboratory, the physician and the patient's best interests are met.

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Case Study 1

A billing clerk is entering billing demographics on requisitions as a part of the normal days work. The department is under pressure to reduce accounts receivable, which means that the more clean claims that are filed, the better. This particular requisition is for a Medicare patient and has an LMRP test but does not have a diagnosis on it. She remembers that just a few requisitions before this one she had a requisition from the same doctor that had this same test on it that did have a diagnosis that allowed the test to be billed. She thumbs back in the pile and finds the previous requisition, notes the code that was used and adds it to the current requisition. This will help her meet the department goal of getting claims paid and reducing accounts receivable. It is all right for her to do this because:Correct Answer: She should not do this because it is against the law to change diagnosis information on a requisition.Discussion: A laboratory employee should never change, add or use previously received diagnosis information for the purpose of making a test billable for the Medicare program or for any other insurance or payer. This is a form of fraud and for each claim submitted as a result of this activity the laboratory is liable for a false claim and would have to pay the government back three up to times the reimbursement for the test and up to $10,000 for each claim submitted. Further, if the employee is caught doing this, even if the employee is ignorant of the law and any laboratory policy prohibiting it, she must be disciplined and so should the supervisor. Any employee who notices another employee doing this should correct the employee and report the incident to the department supervisor immediately.

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Phlebotomy
Patient Identification

Make sure the name, medical record number, and date of birth on your order/requisition match those on the patient's armband.Verify the patient's identity by politely asking them to state their full name.

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Risk Management in the Clinical Laboratory
Preanalytic Phase

A study that was published in 2002 concluded that 68 - 87% of laboratory errors occur in the preanalytic and postanalytic stages of the testing process with the majority occurring in the preanalytic phase.* Steps in the pre-analytic phase occur both inside and outside the laboratory, and are performed by both laboratory and non-laboratory personnel. While the following list is not exhaustive, some of the most common sources of error in the preanalytic phase include:Patient preparation Patient not told to be fasting; improper or no instruction to patient on proper collection of specimen such as clean catch urine. Patient injured during phlebotomy Development of hematoma resulting in no specimen obtained for testing. Requisition errors Patient information missing, illegible, or on wrong patient; wrong tests ordered. Patient identification Patient incorrectly identified. Labeling of specimen Specimen not labeled or incorrectly labeled. Preparation of specimen Specimen centrifuged too long or not long enough; specimen placed in improper preservative.Storage of specimen Specimen not refrigerated or frozen as required or refrigerated when it should be at ambient temperature. Shipment of specimen Shipped at ambient temperature when it should have been shipped frozen; delay in shipment. Accessioning process including preparation for analysis Sorted into wrong batch; incorrect labeling. Order entry Incorrect data entered during manual entry of a test requisition. Specimen sub-optimal Not enough specimen for testing; visible hemolysis. Contamination Inadequate cleansing of venipuncture site resulting in contamination during blood culture collection. *Reference: Bonini P, Plebani M, Ceriotti F, Rubboli F. Errors in laboratory medicine. Clin Chem. 2002;48:691-698. Available at http://www.clinchem.org/cgi/content/full/48/5/691#T2BAccessed June 23, 2010.

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