Corporate Compliance

CMS corrects definitions of non-selective angiography codes

Medicare Insider, November 11, 2008

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Editor's Note: Kimberly Anderwood Hoy, director of Medicare and compliance for HCPro, is the author of this week's "Note from the Instructor."

In 2003, CMS published revised definitions for two codes (G0275 and G0278), which describe non-selective renal and iliac/femoral artery angiography performed at the time of cardiac catheterization or coronary angiography. When these codes appeared in the HCPCS data file published by CMS, the long descriptors left out the word “non-selective.” This led to some confusion because the HCPCS Level II books are published based on CMS’ official HCPCS data file, and therefore also contained the incorrect descriptor for these codes. This error left many providers concerned that these codes were for “selective” angiography and were actually replacement codes for the “selective” CPT codes that already existed.

At that time, Hugh Aaron wrote to CMS and received confirmation that the codes were for “non-selective” angiography, and that the HCPCS data file would be corrected the following year. However, the following year’s file still contained the old long descriptors, omitting the word “non-selective.” Hugh wrote to CMS in subsequent years to bring this oversight to its attention, but the codes remained incorrect in the published data file, even though the CMS representative continued to confirm that the codes were for “non-selective” angiographies. In November 2007, when the 2008 HCPCS data file was released, I personally wrote to a CMS representative to bring to their attention that the code descriptors were still incorrect. I was assured that they would be corrected the following year. 

This week, CMS released the 2009 HCPCS data file, containing the correct long descriptors, including the word “non-selective.” This update should avoid confusion on the use of these codes. Providers should review their coding of angiographies to ensure they are and were coding using the correct descriptors for these two codes.




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