CMS Issues Order to All Jurisdictions: “Note That Stamped Signatures Are Not Acceptable On Any Medical Record”

On 7/31/2008 CMS issued a change request # CR5971 affecting all Physicians and Providers who bill Medicare Contractors. The reason for the request was due to an over utilization of stamped signatures. Further clarification is being sought by industry stakeholders regarding implementation dates. The request is as follows:

CR 5971 Clarification – Signature Requirements
Reference: MLN: SE0829
Published Online: 7/31/2008

Provider Types Affected
Physicians and other providers who bill Medicare Contractors (Carriers, Fiscal Intermediaries, Regional Home Health Intermediaries, Part A/B Medicare Administrative Contractors, including Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors) for care provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

What You Need to Know
The purpose of this notice is to provide guidance to providers/suppliers and Medicare contractors on the use of stamped signatures. Note that stamped signatures are not acceptable on any medical record.

Background
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken this step to ensure accurate application of Medicare’s program requirements throughout the nation. CMS has identified problems of noncompliance with existing statutes, regulations, rules, and other systematic problems relating to standards of practice for a valid physician’s signature on medical orders and related medical documents.

CR 5971 (Transmittal #248) was issued to prohibit the use of stamped signatures. These requirements are intended to apply all providers/suppliers. Stamped signatures are not acceptable on any medical record. Medicare will accept hand written, electronic signatures or facsimiles of original written or electronic signatures.

Click here for a link direct to the MLN Matters released this week: