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CO 16 Denial Code

Are you wondering why your claim denials are getting the CO 16 code? Dive into our blog and uncover the details of the CO 16 denial code. Learn its causes and prevention strategies from us. Also find out how Health Quest Billing can save your healthcare organizations from its denials. Continue reading and prevent your reimbursement claims from getting rejected now.

What is CO 16 Denial Code?

The CO-16 denial code in medical billing signifies a problem with missing or incorrect information on a submitted claim. It falls under the broader category of Contractual Obligation (CO) denials. It indicates a violation of the agreement between providers and payers.

The CO 16 denial code is a common issue in medical billing. Understanding this code is crucial for healthcare providers and billing professionals. It ensures timely and accurate claim processing. CO 16 indicates that the claim lacks necessary information or has submission errors.

CO 16 Denial Code

Common Reasons for the CO 16 Denial Code

The CO-16 denial code in medical billing acts as a broad red flag. It identifies missing or incorrect information on a submitted claim. It may not exactly pinpoint the exact reasons but several culprits can trigger this code. Here is a breakdown of the most frequent causes of CO-16 denials:

  • Missing Information:

Leaving mandatory fields blank on the claim form itself is a common reason for CO-16 denials. This could include missing patient information like name or insurance ID number. Additionally, provider details like address and tax identification number might be required.

Certain procedures might necessitate attaching specific documents. They include referral notes or pathology reports to justify the billed service. Failure to include these documents can lead to a CO-16 denial.

  • Coding Errors:

Selecting the wrong procedure code for your service is a frequent cause of CO-16 denials. This could be due to typos, confusion between similar codes, or using outdated codes. Inaccurate diagnosis codes that do not reflect the patient’s condition can trigger a CO-16 denial. Similar to procedure codes, these errors can stem from typos.

You may also choose the wrong code or use outdated versions. Modifiers are additional codes attached to the main procedure code. They provide more details about the service. Omitting necessary modifiers or using incorrect ones can lead to CO-16 denials.

  • Authorization and Eligibility Issues:

Certain procedures or services might require prior approval from the insurance company. This has to be done before they are performed. The provider may fail to obtain this authorization beforehand. In this case, the claim might be denied with a CO-16 code.

The patient might not be eligible for the specific service or coverage being billed. This could be due to limitations in their insurance plan. You may also exceed annual coverage limits or not meet specific criteria for the service.

CO 16 Denial Code

How to Avoid CO 9 Denial Code?

There are a lot of strategies that you can implement to avoid CO16 denial code in your reimbursement claims. Let’s take a look at the major ones:

  • Double-Checking Claims and Performing Internal Audits

Make sure that every piece of necessary information is included in the claim submission. This involves accurate patient demographics, provider details, and service specifics. You must thoroughly review the claim before submission. You can spot and fix any errors or missing information that might lead to a code 16 denial.

Conduct regular internal audits of your claims. This will help identify any recurring patterns or issues that might lead to code 16 denials. You must proactively identify and address these issues. It is also ideal to implement necessary changes to prevent future occurrences of this denial code.

  • Claim Scrubbing Software and Electronic Claim Submission

Employ claim scrubbing software to automatically detect and flag potential errors. It can also identify missing information in the claim. This software can help identify issues such as incomplete or incorrect codes.

It can also catch missing modifiers and invalid patient information. You should address these problems before submission to reduce future instances of CO 16. It is better to submit claims electronically to significantly reduce them.

Electronic claims are processed faster. They are also less prone to errors compared to manual paper claims. Electronic submission also allows for real-time validation. It helps identify and correct any missing or incorrect information before submission.

  • Conducting Regular Staff Training and Collaborating With Payers

Offer comprehensive training to your billing and coding staff. It will ensure they are up-to-date with the latest coding guidelines and requirements. It will also help minimize errors and submission issues that could result in a code 16 denial.

Regular training sessions and updates on coding changes will keep your staff informed. They can also prepare to submit accurate claims. Establish open lines of communication with payers. They will help you understand their specific requirements and expectations.

Engage in regular discussions with payers. It is an opportunity to clarify any uncertainties. They can be about claim submission or billing processes. You should also align your processes with payer guidelines. By doing this, you can minimize the risk of encountering code 16.

RARCs Associated With CO16

RARCs are attached to denial codes like CO16 to provide additional details. These details are about the status of reimbursement claims. Since CO16 has a generic premise, it does not inform you much about claim denials. The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) introduced its CORE rules.

This was done to limit the number of code combinations. These rules provide specific use cases about the usage of the CO16 denial code. They also inform the exact remark codes that can be paired with them. Let’s take a look at some of the most common RARCs for CO16.

  • RARC M12

This is a highly specific RARC that is often paired up with the CO16 denial code. It states that the diagnostic tests performed by physicians must indicate any purchased services of their claims. This means that the relevant claim does not contain all the details for specific bills.

  • RARC M60

M60 is another common RARC that is often paired up with CO16. This one means that a medical necessity certificate is missing in a specific claim. There is a common issue with M60 denials. The CMN is not linked correctly to the relevant claim within the provider’s software. This happens for most of the M60 denials but not always.

It can be omitted on the first reimbursement claim for oxygen or enteral patients. This issue may not occur so much in the case of another supplier. Healthcare providers may also not be aware of their CMN/DIF status beforehand.

  • RARC N264 and N575

The problem with CO16 does not always have to be missing information. There can be some invalid information within the claims as well. This is why the N264 and N575 RARCs exist. For N264, there are some missing, incomplete, or invalid ordering provider names. For N575, there are mismatches between the submitted ordering or referring provider name and records.

The PECOS enrollment requirement was implemented in 2014. It caused a large increase in CO16 denials for DMEPOS providers. During this, the ordering physicians were not enrolled. The N264/N575 RARCs had a major role in this scenario.

  • RARC M124

The M124 RARC means that a reimbursement claim is missing identification. The patient who owns the equipment requiring the specific part or supply cannot be identified. For example, there is a new fee-for-service Medicare patient.

Their base equipment is not billed through Medicare. And their provider intends to bill supplies or accessories. In this case, the policy of Medicare involves box 19 on the CMS-1500 form

It contains the HCPCS code of the base equipment and the notation of the relevant beneficiary owning that equipment. The date on which that patient received the equipment must also be mentioned. This applies to the NTE field for electronic claims as well.

How Health Quest Billing Helps Prevent Claim Denials?

Health Quest Billing continuously monitors the performance of submitted claims. We also track the denial rates of healthcare providers. Our analysis enables us to identify trends and adjust billing strategies. We also implement the best practices to further reduce claim denials.

Before submitting any claims, Health Quest Billing also conducts a thorough review of all necessary information. This includes patient demographics, provider details, and service specifics. This strict review process helps identify and rectify any errors or omissions. This way, they are unable to cause claim denials.

We also emphasize the importance of clear and updated patient documentation to hospitals. We work closely with them to ensure that the medical records accurately reflect their diagnoses and procedures. This facilitates a smoother claim processing for them.

The Bottom Line

Understanding and addressing CO 16 denial codes is the key for smooth claim processing. Hospitals should implement thorough reviews and utilize advanced software to prevent denials.

These actions can also ensure timely reimbursements and optimal revenue cycles. Contact Health Quest Billing to ensure that all such strategies save your claims from getting denied.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The reason for code 16 is that a claim or service lacks information. It may also have submission or billing errors needed for adjudication.

In Explanation of Benefits, the code 16 always has a Remark Code. It provides additional details about what is needed to completely process reimbursement claims.

You have to check the relevant remark codes and make changes accordingly. Any clinical notes must be double-checked to identify any missing information. The relevant claims should also be scrubbed by a clearinghouse before they are submitted.

The full form of RARC is Remittance Advice Remark Code. It was meant to be a proprietary list for Medicare. Later, it became part of the HIPAA rules.

CMS maintains the entire RARC list. Whereas, it is used by all payers. The relevant healthcare organizations initiate any additions, deactivations, and modifications.