We are delighted to report Emis have now updated their QOF V39 searches and removed codes deemed to inappropriate inclusions in the code clusters. There will still be a further update within this QOF once V41 is made available.
For practices who took on board our short term workaround detailed in the December edition, as per our recommendations in this edition, you can now remove the exception code you added - so for example, patients with ankylosing spondylitis who were added to the RA incorrectly and who have a RA patient unsuitable exception code, you can now remove this code as it is no longer appropriate.
If we leave the code on, will this affect our exception rates? As this was a short-term issue our recommendation would always be to remove the code - however, if you don’t remove the code, this will not affect your exception rates as the patient is not included on the RA register in first place. The supporting free text you included when you added the exception code will ensure it is clear why the code was added. BUT our recommendation would still be to remove it!
We know many practices were not happy about our suggestion of using exception codes as a work around. Exception codes were designed to ensure you can document you have offered the necessary levels of care but ensure you are not penalised if the patient decides not to accept your offer of a review or if they have any allergies, contraindications, etc. In this case, the use of the exception code was always only temporary to ensure you did not recall patients inappropriately, causing additional work and distress to patients. In many cases, high use of exception codes demonstrates high quality data and means practices are using them to demonstrate patient care across their whole register rather than just across enough patients to gain the points you need. Don’t be afraid to use the codes when and where they should be used or where your clinicians can justify the use of them for the benefit of the patient.
If you used another workaround, please ensure you have carried out any necessary steps to rectify your workaround.