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Q/A: Can I Tell a Medicare Patient Which Option to Check on the ABN?

April 1st, 2019 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
Categories:   Medicare  
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Question

My patient seemed confused about which of the options they should check. Can I just tell them which one they should check?

Answer

No! That could be construed as coercion. The official instructions state “Under no circumstances can the notifier decide for the beneficiary which of the 3 checkboxes to select.”

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t help them understand the three different options. You can answer their questions, but never tell them that they have to check a specific option.

Another problem that we have seen is that providers will check the option for the patient. The official instructions state that “Pre-selection of an option by the notifier invalidates the notice.” You can NOT check that box for them UNLESS the patient is physically unable to check the box and they ASK you to do it for them. If that is the case, you must make a notation on the ABN about that unique situation. Although it is not required, it might be helpful to have someone witness that the patient asked you to do that for them.

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