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MO 770 OASIS Question about Telephone Usage

Recently on the Decision Health Home Care coding listserv a question was posed about MO770 – ability to use the telephone. The question sparked lively, intelligent debate and at the end of the day, I was on the fence about how the question should be answered for a patient with a laryngectomy who could use the text function on his telephone. My question to CMS as well the response is posted below.

On 4/15/09, we received the following email question: On a home health
listserv, a question has come up regarding the ability to use the
telephone.  The original question was about a man with a laryngectomy
who was unable to speak.  He was, however, able to use the text function
on his mobile telephone.

We are curious about how to answer MO770 for this patient.  It was
pointed out by one listserv participant that text capabilities weren’t
even a consideration when the original data set was written.  Can you
provide guidance?

CMS Response: M0770, Ability to Use Telephone, identifies the patient’s
ability to safely answer the phone, dial a number, and effectively use
the telephone to communicate. If a speech impaired patient can only
communicate using a phone equipped with texting functionality, response
“1” able to use a specially adapted telephone would be selected.

Should you have any question about this, consult the Decision Health Listserv where you will find a lot of people just as confused as me.

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