Tag Archives | Ophthalmologist

92082 or 92083? Choose The Most Appropriate Code with Expert Help

Even small ophthalmology practices are likely to have a Humphrey visual field analyzer, yet many ophthalmologists don’t know the secrets for securing adequate reimbursement for these services — and they even go so far as to put themselves at risk for costly audits due to lack of documentation.

CPT lists three different visual field examinations — and the higher the code, the higher the reimbursement.:

  • 92081 — Visual field examination, unilateral or bilateral, with interpretation and report; limited examination (e.g., tangent screen, Autoplot, arc perimeter or single stimulus level automated test, such as Octopus 3 or 7 equivalent)
  • 92082 — … intermediate examination (e.g., at least 2 isopters on Goldmann perimeter, or semiquantitative, automated suprathreshold screening program, Humphrey suprathreshold automatic diagnostic test, Octopus program 33)
  • 92083 — … extended examination (e.g., Goldmann visual fields with at least 3 isopters plotted and static determination within the central 30 degrees, or quantitative, automated threshold perimetry, Octopus program G-1, 32 or 42, Humphrey visual field analyzer full threshold programs 30-2, 24-2 or 30/60-2).

A common mistake ophthalmologists make is billing 92082 when they could legitimately bill 92083.

The key to choosing the correct VF code is in the code descriptors themselves. For example, if the ophthalmologist plots only two isopters on the Goldmann perimeter, CPT would call that “intermediate,” based on its description of 92082. If you plotted three isopters, however, that would be an “extended” examination that would qualify for 92083.

Rule of thumb: An intermediate test is one of the screening tests that you would use if you suspect neurological damage. But ophthalmologists use the threshold exam (92083) when they suspect something that causes a slow, progressive dimming of peripheral vision, like glaucoma. Glaucoma causes a loss of vision like a light bulb slowly becoming…

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Primary vs. Secondary Diagnosis

Question: Many of our ophthalmology patients claim general reasons for their visit, such as “I can’t see well,” or “My vision is foggy.” We code these visits with 368.8 as the primary diagnosis because this is the primary reason for the visit. Any other problems or underlying causes of the blurry vision we report as secondary diagnoses. Is 368.8 the most appropriate code to use in these situations, and should we list it first?

Answer: You should only report 368.8 (Other specified visual disturbances) as a primary diagnosis code when the ophthalmologist doesn’t find a more definitive diagnosis during the course of the visit.

Carriers often consider a visit for blurred vision the same thing as a routine exam and Medicare will not pay for this service.

Primary vs. secondary: Whenever possible, you should list a more definitive diagnosis as primary and then the patient’s complaint of blurred vision as secondary. For example, if the ophthalmologist discovers that a cataract is causing the patient’s blurry vision, you would first list 366.12 (Incipient cataract) and then 368.8. You should always strive to report the most descriptive and accurate ICD-9 codes possible. If a patient claims her only reason for the visit is a routine exam, experts recommend that the ophthalmologist ask her a series of detailed questions to uncover any other complaints she may have but doesn’t think of right away. In obtaining a comprehensive history when a patient denies any blurriness of vision, the ophthalmologist should also ask, “Do your eyes chronically itch, burn, or water?” This may lead you to report dry eye syndrome (375.15, Tear film insufficiency, unspecified) or allergic conjunctivitis (372.14, Other chronic allergic conjunctivitis).

Do this: Rather than ask if a patient’s vision is blurry, ask if there is…

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Switch From 92135 to New Location Based SCODI Codes

 These terms nail down your diabetic retinopathy imaging code choice.

In CPT® 2011 in the place of your old familiar SCODI code, you’ll find three area specific codes. Check out these tips on finding the correct code for imaging as well as DR services.

Code 92135 is being split into three more specific codes. The scanning computerized ophthalmic diagnostic imaging or SCODI code got used a lot in 2010 and was a high volume code. CPT 2011 deletes the code. Pick the new code based on the particular area the imaging is performed on as follows:

Area CPT 2011 Code Descriptor
Front of the eye 92132 Scanning computerized ophthalmic diagnostic imaging, anterior segment, with interpretation and report, unilateral or bilateral
Optic nerve 92133 Scanning computerized ophthalmic diagnostic imaging, posterior segment, with interpretation and report, unilateral or bilateral; optic nerve
Retina 92134 Scanning computerized ophthalmic diagnostic imaging, posterior segment, with interpretation and report, unilateral or bilateral; retina


92227 Vs. 92228: Look at DR Status

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness. Yet early detection makes the condition correctable 95 percent of the time. Imaging retina center technicians can easily look at a photo and read it. The ophthalmologist can then determine if the patient has DR, the stage it’s in, and the proper course of treatment.

Equate the term “Detection” that’s in new diabetic retinopathy imaging code 92227 (Remote imaging for detection of retinal diseases [e.g., retinopathy in a patient with diabetes] with analysis and report under physician supervision, unilateral or bilateral]) with “screening” for diabetic retinopathy. “Use this…

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Pre-Cataract Surgery Coding Myths You Should Bust

Improperly coding IOL Masters or A-scans can cost your practice $30 per patient.

Calculating intraocular lens power for patients facing cataract surgery has gotten more precise as A-scan and IOL Master technology has advanced. But to make sure your practice is getting fairly reimbursed each time, you need to understand the bilateral rules for 76519 and 92136.

Could one of these myths be damaging your claims?

Include Bilateral and Unilateral Components in Global Code

Myth: If the ophthalmologist calculates IOL power in both eyes, you should report 76519 (Ophthalmic biometry by ultrasound echography, A-scan; with intraocular lens power calculation) or 92136 (Ophthalmic biometry by partial coherence interferometry with intraocular lens power calculation) twice (e.g., 76519-RT and 76519-LT, or 76519-50).

Reality: You should not report 76519 or 92136 with modifier 50 even if the ophthalmologist calculated the IOL power of both eyes, warns Maggie M. Mac, CPC, CEMC, CHC, CMM, ICCE, Director, Best Practices-Network Operations at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. To understand why, it’s helpful to know how Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule values the procedures.

As it does with many other diagnostic tests, CMS divides the A-scan (76519) and the IOL Master (92136) into two components. The technical component (the actual performing of the test) is denoted with modifier TC, and the professional component (viewing and interpreting the results) is denoted with modifier 26.

For most procedures, the technical and professional components have the same bilateral status – for example, 92250-TC and 92250-26 (Fundus photography with interpretation and report) are both considered inherently bilateral, denoted with modifier indicator “2” on the fee schedule. The reimbursement for all components of 92250 is based on both eyes being tested.

Exception: For both 76519 and 92136, the technical component has a different bilateral status from the professional component. You can find…

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Ophthalmology Coding Challenge: Flashers & Floaters

How’s Your EO Coding & Billing? Test Yourself With This Scenario.
Question: A patient reports flashes and floaters but the ophthalmologist does not find evidence of retinal pathology on routine ophthalmoscopy. Are we justified in billing for extended ophthalmoscopy (EO)?
Answer: If the ophthalmoscopy is a routine part of a patient’s eye exam, do not […]

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Cataract Surgery Coding Skill Builder

Determine ‘planned or unplanned’ before separately coding vitrectomy.
With several possible surgical treatments for cataract procedures, which you probably code more often than any other surgery, there’s a lot of room for error – with over $890 at stake for complex cataract procedures in 2009.
Use these tricky scenarios as a guide through some of the most […]

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Eye Surgery Coding Challenge: Denials for 15823 & 67904

Question: I started receiving denials for 15823 and 67904. To report this combo, should I use a modifier?
Answer: If the ophthalmologist performs the blepharoplasty (bleph) with excessive weight (15823, Blepharoplasty, upper eyelid; with excessive skin weighting down lid) on one eye and the blepharoptosis (ptosis) repair (67904, Repair of blepharoptosis; [tarso] levator resection or advancement, […]

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Ophthalmology Coding: GDX, VF, & Temp Plugs — How Many Modifiers?

Question: A patient came in for a GDX and visual field (VF) tests. During the same visit, the ophthalmologist put in temporary plugs. Can we get paid for all services on the same day? I know the office visit needs a modifier. Do I need to put one on the GDX & VF, too?
Answer: Provided the […]

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