Health Information Management

Q/A: Is a glucose reading before a PET scan considered routine?

APCs Insider, July 19, 2013

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Q: Our radiologists order a glucometer reading for every patient who undergoes a PET scan. We do this before the test is done and the lab bills for the test. However, since this is done on every patient, is this considered “routine”? Should we be billing for the test?

A: Checking a glucose by glucometer is reasonable before a PET scan for patient care/safety reasons. However, according to the National Correct Coding Manual, chapter 9, the test is part of the PET scan and should not be reported separately. 

7. Positron emission tomography (PET) procedures include a finger stick blood glucose level. CPT codes 82948 (glucose; blood, reagent strip) or 82962 (glucose, blood by glucose monitoring device(s)...) should not be reported separately for the measurement of the finger stick blood glucose included in a PET procedure.

Be sure that the cost of the glucose glucometer test is included in the charge for the PET scan to ensure that all resources involved in the procedure are captured and reported.

Many lab systems require a charge number to be a carrier for information into the lab system, and for ensuring that the results are reported correctly. This can be done via the chargemaster, but be sure that no separate CPT code is reported for the lab test. You need to investigate the functionality of the individual lab and billing systems to determine the best way to set up this process.

Editor’s note: Andrea Clark, RHIA, CCS, CPCH, chairman, CEO, and founder of Health Revenue Assurance Associates, Inc., in Plantation, Fla., answered this question.



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