Definition of Diagnostic test, treating physician, Testing facility


Diagnostic Test
A “diagnostic test” includes all diagnostic x-ray tests, all diagnostic laboratory tests, and other diagnostic tests furnished to a beneficiary.

Treating Physician
A “treating physician” is a physician, as defined in §1861(r) of the Social Security Act (the Act), who furnishes a consultation or treats a beneficiary for a specific medical problem, and who uses the results of a diagnostic test in the management of the beneficiary’s specific medical problem.

A radiologist performing a therapeutic interventional procedure is considered a treating physician. A radiologist performing a diagnostic interventional or diagnostic procedure is not considered a treating physician.

Treating Practitioner


A “treating practitioner” is a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or physician assistant, as defined in §1861(s)(2)(K) of the Act, who furnishes, pursuant to State law, a consultation or treats a beneficiary for a specific medical problem, and who uses the result of a diagnostic test in the management of the beneficiary’s specific medical problem.

Testing Facility
A “testing facility” is a Medicare provider or supplier that furnishes diagnostic tests. A testing facility may include a physician or a group of physicians (e.g., radiologist, pathologist), a laboratory, or an independent diagnostic testing facility (IDTF).



Order
An “order” is a communication from the treating physician/practitioner requesting that a diagnostic test be performed for a beneficiary. The order may conditionally request an additional diagnostic test for a particular beneficiary if the result of the initial diagnostic test ordered yields to a certain value determined by the treating physician/practitioner (e.g., if test X is negative, then perform test Y). An order may be delivered via the following forms of communication:

• A written document signed by the treating physician/practitioner, which is hand-delivered, mailed, or faxed to the testing facility; NOTE: No signature is required on orders for clinical diagnostic tests paid on the basis of the clinical laboratory fee schedule, the physician fee schedule, or for physician pathology services;
• A telephone call by the treating physician/practitioner or his/her office to the testing facility; and

An electronic mail by the treating physician/practitioner or his/her office to the testing facility.

If the order is communicated via telephone, both the treating physician/practitioner or his/her office, and the testing facility must document the telephone call in their respective copies of the beneficiary’s medical records. While a physician order is not required to be signed, the physician must clearly document, in the medical record, his or her intent that the test be performed.


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