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Signature Requirements

Recent audit activity and an update to the Medicare Program Integrity Manual suggest that you review physician signatures in your medical records. CMS Transmittal 327 / Change Request 6698 updates signature requirements for services provided or ordered.

The update states, “For medical review purposes, Medicare requires that services provided/ordered be authenticated by the author. The method used shall be a hand written or an electronic signature. Stamp signatures are not acceptable.” [Italics denotes new language] The update details how reviewers judge signatures and whether they meet requirements.

The transmittal provides detailed instructions on what is considered an acceptable handwritten signature or electronic signature. The transmittal can be downloaded at:
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/transmittals/downloads/R327PI.pdf.

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