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Coding tip: Consider three new 2008 add-on codes for computer-assisted navigation for musculoskeletal procedures

Ambulatory Surgery Reimbursement Update, February 19, 2008

The American Medical Association has added three new CPT codes for computer-assisted navigation for musculoskeletal procedures, which include:

  • 20985-Add-on code for computer-assisted navigational procedure for musculoskeletal procedures; image-less (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure). The physician performs this procedure without the generation of an image in the guidance.

  • 20986-Add-on code for computer-assisted navigational procedure for musculoskeletal procedures; with image guidance based on intraoperatively-obtained images (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure).

  • 20987-Add-on code for computer-assisted navigational procedure for musculoskeletal procedures; with image guidance based on preoperative images (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure).

You should only report codes 20986 and 20987 once, regardless of the number of images needed to achieve the musculoskeletal navigational information.

Remember, these are add-on codes and you should list them in addition to the primary code. Never list an add-on code as the first code on a claim or as the only code on a claim. None of these procedures are on the Medicare ASC allowable list.

This tip is brought to you by Ellis Medical Consulting, Inc.