The Medicare incident-to rules permit a physician to bill for the services of auxiliary personnel as if the physician performed those services himself. You may already know that the incident-to rules require a physician to be present in the office suite and immediately available to assist while auxiliary personnel are performing incident-to services in the office. But, did you know that you could be supervising incident-to services without even knowing it?
In a recent federal District Court whistleblower case out of Hawaii, a court rejected a whistleblower physician’s claim that he could not have been the supervising physician for incident-to services since he was not made aware by his group practice that the services would be billed to Medicare under his provider number. Under the incident -to rules, any physician in a "physician directed clinic" may supervise incident-to services and the court agreed with the defense that a physician in a "physician directed clinic" need not have specific knowledge that he will be the supervising physician for billing purposes. The court’s opinion can be found here.