Remark code N71 indicates that your unassigned claim for a drug or biological, clinical diagnostic laboratory services, or ambulance service was processed as if it were an assigned claim. This means that, despite the initial submission as unassigned, the claim has been handled as though you have agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment. As a healthcare provider, you are legally obligated to accept assignment for these specific types of claims, and the payment you receive will reflect this requirement.
Common causes of code N71 are:
1. Incorrectly filing a claim for a drug, biological, clinical diagnostic laboratory service, or ambulance service as unassigned when these types of services are mandated by law to be billed as assigned.
2. A misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about the legal requirements for assignment of claims for specific services.
3. An error in the billing software or electronic health record (EHR) system that defaults to unassigned claims for these services.
4. Manual entry errors by billing staff when submitting claims to Medicare or other payers that require assignment for these services.
5. Failure to update billing practices and procedures to comply with changes in legislation or payer policies regarding assignment of claims for drugs, biologicals, laboratory services, or ambulance services.
Ways to mitigate code N71 include ensuring that your billing staff is well-trained on the mandatory assignment rules for Medicare and Medicaid services, particularly for drugs, biologicals, clinical diagnostic laboratory services, and ambulance services. Implement a robust verification process to confirm that claims for these services are always submitted as assigned. Regularly review and update your billing procedures to comply with the latest regulations. Additionally, conduct periodic audits of your claims to catch and correct any that are mistakenly submitted as unassigned. Utilize billing software that automatically flags or corrects claims for these services to prevent them from being processed as unassigned.
The steps to address code N71 involve ensuring that future claims for drugs, biologicals, clinical diagnostic laboratory services, or ambulance services are submitted with the correct assignment status. Review your billing processes to confirm that claims are being submitted in compliance with the mandatory assignment regulations. Educate your billing staff on the importance of checking the assignment status before claims submission to prevent this issue from recurring. Additionally, if the processed claim has resulted in a lower reimbursement than expected due to the incorrect assignment, consider contacting the payer to discuss the possibility of reprocessing the claim with the correct assignment status. Keep a record of all communications with the payer for reference and follow up as necessary to ensure that the claim is resolved satisfactorily.