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Look Up New Observation Codes When Reporting ‘Middle Days’

2011 brings a new coding option when reporting the middle day of observations that last longer than two days. Check out this expert advice on how CPT additions will affect your FP’s observation care services coding starting on Jan. 1, 2011.

Until this point, coding for the “middle days” of an observation service caused problems. Although not the norm, there are times when a physician admits a patient to observation and she remains in that status for three or more days. CPT 2011 addresses these middle days between admission and discharge by introducing three new E/M codes. The additions parallel the hospital subsequent care series in terms of component requirements and time frames:

  • 99224 – Subsequent observation care, per day, for the evaluation and management of a patient, which requires at least 2 of these 3 key components: Problem focused interval history; Problem focused examination; Medical decision making that is straightforward or of low complexity. Counseling and/or coordination of care with other providers or agencies are provided consistent with the nature of the problem(s) and the patient’s and/or family’s needs. Usually, the patient is stable, recovering, or improving. Physicians typically spend 15 minutes at the bedside and on the patient’s hospital floor or unit.
  • 99225 — … an expanded problem focused interval history; an expanded problem focused examination; Medical decision making of moderate complexity. Counseling and/ or coordination of care with other providers or agencies are provided consistent with the nature of the problem(s) and the patient’s and/or family’s needs. Usually, the patient is responding inadequately to therapy or has developed a minor complication. Physicians typically spend 25 minutes at the bedside and on the patient’s hospital floor or unit.
  • 99226 — … a detailed interval history; a detailed examination; Medical decision making of high complexity. Counseling and/or

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Is 96413 + 96365 OK?

Coding is all about applying standardized code sets to situations that don’t always qualify as “standard.” The good news is that authoritative coding resources sometimes address even those encounters you don’t handle on a daily basis. Test your skills with these two scenarios and see whether your responses match the official rules.

Challenge 1: Staff administers a non-chemotherapy therapeutic drug via one IV infusion site, and then following oncologist orders based on protocol, administers chemotherapy intravenously via a second IV site. Should you report the chemotherapy admin or the non-chemotherapy admin as the initial code?

Solution 1: Challenge 1 presents a trick question. You should report initial codes for both the chemotherapy and non-chemotherapy infusions.

CPT guidelines state, “When administering multiple infusions, injections or combinations, only one ‘initial’ service code should be reported, unless protocol requires that two separate IV sites must be used,” notes Gwen Davis, CPC, associate with Washington-based Derry, Nolan, and Associates.

Citing this same rule, Tracy Helget, CPC, in the business office of Medical Associates of Manhattan in Kansas, notes, “The easiest way to think of this is, if we are making more than one stick to the patient, we bill more than one initial code.”

Many payers indicate that when you report two initial codes because each requires a separate access site, you should append modifier 59 (Distinct procedural service). So you may need to append modifier 59 to the secondary “initial” code to indicate the separate IV sites for each infusion in this case. For example, your claim may include the following:

  • 96413 – Chemotherapy administration, intravenous infusion technique; up to 1 hour, single or initial substance/drug
  • 96365-59 – Intravenous infusion, for therapy, prophylaxis, or diagnosis (specify substance or drug); initial, up to 1 hour.

Challenge 2: Documentation indicates your oncologist participated in…

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Make Sure To Check CCI Before You Use The New 2011 Codes

Capture additional pay by separating wound care management codes 97597-97602 from the newly revised debridement codes.

Every year, just when you’re trying to get used to new CPT codes, the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) comes along and limits how and when you can use the new codes you’ve been given. This year is no exception with CCI 17.0 adding edits involving new Renessa and posterior tibial neurostimulator (PTNS) codes, among others.

The CCI released version 17.0, revealing 19,822 new active pairs and 9,778 code pair deletions, said Frank D. Cohen, MPA, MBB, senior analyst with The Frank Cohen Group, LLC, in a Dec. 14 announcement.

Many of the new code pair additions involve CPT codes that debuted on Jan. 1, 2011 with CCI getting ready to halt payment if you report certain procedures together. Get a grip on the new bundles with this urology-focused rundown.

CPT 2011 deleted Category III code 0193T (Transurethral, radiofrequency microremodeling of the female bladder neck and proximal urethra for stress urinary incontinence), replacing it with a new Category I code 53860 with the same descriptor. CCI targets 53860 with several edits.

When your urologist performs the Renessa procedure, you’ll report 53860, says Michael A. Ferragamo, MD, FACS, clinical assistant professor of urology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

As of Jan. 1, when 53860 became an active code, CCI 17.0 created edit pairs with the following column 2 codes that Medicare considers usual and necessary parts of any surgery:

  • Venipuncture, IV, infusion, or arterial puncture services represented by codes 36000, 36400- 36440, 36600-36640, and 37202
  • Naso- or oro-gastric tube placement (43752)
  • Bladder catheterization (51701-51703).

“In general CPT code 53680 would include catheter placement for temporary postoperative urinary drainage at the conclusion of the procedure, and therefore, these latter…

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CPT 2011: Pay Attention To These New Joint Injection Guidelines

Remember to check for updated or revised guidelines when preparing to use your new code books for 2011, not just code descriptors. CPT 2011 includes new details for coding some common injection procedures, as pointed out at the AMA’s CPT and RBRVS 2011 Annual Symposium in Chicago. Read on for a few pointers to help stay on the right track.

The introduction of new codes for paravertebral facet joint injections in 2010 (64490-64495) meant changes to how you reported related codes. During the CPT and RBRVS Symposium, Douglas G. Merrill, MD, MBA, of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, pointed out two revised guidelines dealing with paravertebral facet (spinal) joint procedures.

Instructions in CPT 2010 directed you to report 64999 (Unlisted procedure, nervous system) if the provider used ultrasound guidance during paravertebral facet joint injections. The AMA released a correction later in 2010, and the CPT 2011 clarifies the situation. If your provider used ultrasound guidance when administering paravertebral facet joint injections, report the appropriate code(s) from 0213T-0218T (Injection[s], diagnostic or therapeutic agent, paravertebral facet [zygapophyseal] joint [or nerves innervating that joint] with ultrasound guidance …).

T12-L1 change: CPT 2010 guidelines mandated that you report 64493 (Injection[s], diagnostic or therapeutic agent, paravertebral facet [zygapophyseal] joint [for nerves innervating that joint] with image guidance [fluoroscopy or CT], lumbar or sacral; single level) for an injection to the T12-L1 joint, or nerves innervating that joint. New 2011 guidelines direct you to submit 64490 (Injection[s], diagnostic or therapeutic agent, paravertebral facet [zygapophyseal] joint [for nerves innervating that joint] with image guidance [fluoroscopy or CT], cervical or thoracic; single) instead.

In addition, the 2011 guidelines direct providers to report paravertebral facet joint injections performed without image guidance with the appropriate trigger point injection code. Submit either 20552 or 20553 (Injection[s]; single or multiple trigger

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CPT 2011: Vaccine Product to 90460, 90461 Crosswalk

How to count components for Boostrix, Pediarix – and other immunizations.

Excited by the new vaccine administration codes’ payment per component but not sure how many components specific vaccines have? This chart does the work for you.

Find the product name for a quick cross reference to how many components the vaccine includes and the administration with counseling code combination to report using the new pediatric/adolescent codes.

Note: The ICD-9 vaccine product code listed in the chart uses the generalized vaccine product code (V06.8, Need for prophylactic vaccination and inoculation against other combinations of diseases). For vaccine administration provided outside of a preventive medicine service, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using V06.8 for combination vaccines that do not have their own individual single ICD-9 code.

Vaccine Product Manufacturer Components CPT Product Code Number  of Components CPT 2011 Administration with Counseling Code ICD-9-CM 2011 Code
ActHIB Sanofi Pasteur Hib 90648 1 90460 V03.81
Adacel Sanofi Pasteur Tdap (tetanus- diphtheria-acellular pertussis) 90715 3 90460, +90461 x 2 V06.1
Boostrix GlaxoSmithKline Tdap 90715 3 90460, +90461 x 2 V06.1
Cervarix GlaxoSmithKline HPV 90650 1 90460 V04.89
Comvax Merck HepB-Hib 90748 2 90460, +90461 V06.8
Daptacel

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2011 Medical Coding Updates Are Available on Supercoder.com

Raise your glass to the new year without worries of 2011 medical code changes. SuperCoder’s got you covered with new CPT codes, CCI edits, and supply coding revisions.
Starting Dec. 31, SuperCoder.com will offer the complete codesets for CPT 2011…

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CodingConferences Coding Changes Top Tips from Editor Leigh Delozier

600 coders, physicians, and office managers gathered in Orlando, Fla. for one and a half jam-packed days of education, networking, and shopping at the December 2011 Coding Update and Reimbursement Conference. Coders’ biggest struggle was absorbing all the information – and not overdoing the holiday buying. Experts offered the inside scoop on medical coding changes for 2011 and beyond. Here are my top picks:

  1. E-prescribing is here to stay – and is about to be more strictly enforced. Physicians need to e-prescribe at least 10 medications for patients during the first 6 months of 2011, or they’ll be added to the list for a 1% penalty hit in 2012. “The prescriptions can be for one patient ten different times, or can be spread out among different patients,” said Marvel Hammer, RN, CPC, CCS-P, PCS, ACS-PM, CHCO, in “Take Steps Now to Prepare for 2011 Pain Management Changes”.  “For pain management practices, the prescriptions can be for any type of pain meds.”
  2. Three PQRI measures apply to anesthesia providers: timing of prophylactic antibiotic (measure 30); maximal sterile barrier technique (measure 76); and active warming/temperature (measure 193). You have three reporting options: measure 76 alone; measures 76 and 193; or measures 30 and 76 said Judith Blaszczyk, RN, CPC, ACS-PM. “You must report on 80% of qualifying cases,” she reminded during her workshop, “Take Steps Now to Prepare for 2011 Anesthesia Changes.”
  3. No matter how many years you’ve been coding, you’ve heard, “ICD-10 is on the way.” Now that it’s looming as a reality, take a deep breath and know that you’ll be OK. “We learned to use ICD-9, and we’ll learn to use ICD-10,” Kelly Dennis, MBA, ACS-AN, CANPC, CHCA, CPC, CPC-I, said in “Diagnosis Coding for Anesthesia”. “We can do this! We are not afraid.”

This…

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Peds Win Per Component Vaccine Admin Codes, Lose Requested PE RVUs

Pediatricians who were thrilled with CPT 2011’s move to paying vaccines per component got a setback from Medicare’s rejection of the recommended RVUs for new vaccine administration codes 90460 and 90461.

The Relative Update Committe recommended that the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Resource Based Relative Value Scale assign 0.20 practice expense (PE) RVUs to 90460 and 0.16 PE RVUs to 90461. But CMS disagreed with the proposal. “We disagree with the recommendations and will maintain 0.17 RVUs for code 90460 and 0.15 RVUs for code 90461 since these codes would be billed on a per toxoid basis,” said Kenneth Simon, MD, MBA, Senior Medical Officer, Center for Medicare and AMA CPT Editorial Panel Member, in “Medicare Physician Payment Schedule 2011 Changes and Beyond” at the CPT® and RBRVS 2011 Annual Symposium on Nov. 10, 2010.

The increased PEs represent an increase in RVUs from the 2010 values for comparable codes 90465/90467 and 90466/90468. The RUC requested the increase in value due to increased time for patient education. Since the new codes are valued per component, CMS felt no increase was warranted.

CMS assigned RVUs to 90460 and 90461 by crosswalking them with the values of the noncounseling vaccine administration codes 90471 and 90472. This means that new code 90460 has the same RVUs as 90471, and each unit of 90461 has the same RVUs as 90472.

The work and total RVUs for the codes include:

<td width="203"

Code PE  RVU  RUC Proposed PE  RVU MPFS Accepted Total RVUs
90460 0.20 0.17 0.59
90461 0.16 0.15 0.3
90465

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Diabetic Foot Ulcer Skin Substitutes Require G Codes in 2011

When reporting diabetic foot ulcer treatment involving tissue cultured skin substitutes to the lower extremity for a Medicare beneficiary in 2011, you’ll use two temporary G codes.
Providers were concerned about the different global periods for two t…

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93451-93464 Will Bulk Up Your Cardiac Cath Coding Options in the New Year

Revascularization, heart catheterization, and more all have new looks in CPT 2011. Here’s an overview of what you can expect.
• 37220-37235: Endovascular revascularization, open or percutaneous
The codes in this range are distinguished by the vesse…

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95992: CRP Code Wins Payable Status

Medicare still won’t reimburse audiologist-billed Epley.
After two years of battles with CMS over canalith repositioning procedure (CRP) coding, physicians will finally get paid for these specific codes.
CPT® 2009 excited ENT coders with new CPT cod…

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CPT 2011 Begs CMS Reexamination of Time as Averages or Thresholds

All that fine green print on time in your E/M CPT 2011 manual boils down to one thing: you can round to the closest time code.
But that advice from CPT contradicts Medicare’s threshold time guideline.
CPT Treats Times as Averages
 CPT 2011 indicates…

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CPT 2011: Goodbye 90465-90474, Hello Vaccine Administration Component Coding

You’ll soon capture counseling per disease.

For combination vaccines that may involve counseling on as many as five different diseases, getting paid as though you counseled on one never seemed fair, but CPT 2011 lets you capture that extra counseling work.

Although multiple component vaccines require counseling on each disease, physicians have only been able to capture counseling for vaccine administration once per administration. CPT 2011 solves the problem with new immunization administration with counseling codes that you’ll code per vaccine component. 

CPT 2011 deletes 90465-90468 (Immunization administration younger than 8 years of age … when the physician counsels the patient/family … per day). Codes 90471-90474 (Immunization administration …) remain.

Use 90460 as Vaccine Administration With Counseling Base Code

No more looking at administration route when choosing which immunization administration with counseling code. For vaccine administration, you’ll assign one code for each vaccine’s initial component:

  • 90460 — Immunization administration through 18 years of age via any route of administration, with counseling by physician or other qualified health care professional; first vaccine/toxoid component.

 Definition: A component refers to the antigen in a vaccine that prevents disease caused by one organism.

CPT streamlines your coding of the vaccine counseling codes by giving you one universal base code. The code includes “any route of administration.” You no longer have to choose a different code based on whether the code is intramuscular/subcutaneous or oral/intranasal.

 Step 2:  Report Second Vaccine Component With +90461

Coders can breathe a sigh of relief as the complexities over deciding which 90465-90468 code to use as the base code will soon end. CPT 2011 gives you only one vaccine administration with counseling base code (90460). For each additional vaccine component, you report the same add on code:

  • +90461 — Immunization administration through 18 years of age via any route

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Hip Arthroscopy, Observation Receive CPT 2011 Coding Updates

2991x, 9922x medical procedure CPT 2011 codes added.

If you’ve been frustrated about the lack of arthroscopic hip surgery codes that CPT offers, CPT 2011 will change that, with three new codes that debut on Jan. 1.

In fact, CPT will introduce over 200 new codes in 2011 to help keep your coding more specific than ever, spanning several categories, from dermatology to orthopedics to cardiology, and beyond.

In orthopedics, you’ll benefit from the following three hip arthroscopy codes, which will be excellent additions to CPT.

  • 29914 – Arthroscopy, hip, surgical; with femoroplasty (ie, treatment of cam lesion)
  • 29915 – Arthroscopy, hip, surgical; with acetabuloplasty (ie, treatment of pincer lesion)
  • 29916 – Arthroscopy, hip, surgical; with labral repair

Check out New Observation Codes

CPT adds to your E/M coding options with the introduction of three new observation codes, as follows:

  • 99224 – Subsequent observation care, per day, for the evaluation and management of a patient, which requires at least 2 of these 3 key components: Problem focused interval history; Problem focused examination; Medical decision making that is straightforward or of low complexity. Counseling and/or coordination of care with other providers or agencies are provided consistent with the nature of the problem(s) and the patient’s and/or family’s needs. Usually, the patient is stable, recovering, or improving. Physicians typically spend 15 minutes at the bedside and on the patient’s hospital floor or unit.
  • 99225 – Subsequent observation care, per day, for the evaluation and management of a patient, which requires at least 2 of these 3 key components: An expanded problem focused interval history; An expanded problem focused examination; Medical decision making of moderate complexity. Counseling and/or coordination of care with other providers or agencies are provided consistent with the nature of the problem(s) and the patient’s and/or

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