Health Information Management

AMA makes major changes to CPT Pathology and Laboratory section

APCs Insider, November 21, 2014

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With more than 500 CPT® code changes, nearly every section of the CPT Manual has been updated for 2015, but the most comprehensive change is to the Pathology and Laboratory chapter. The AMA has deleted the Drug Testing subsection and replaced it with a Drug Assay subsection.
AMA made this update largely due to advances in technology and the way drug testing is now performed. Previously, the drug testing codes were qualitative, and could be followed by a quantitative test if the first screening was not conclusive. Coders reported these services individual codes in the Drug Testing, Therapeutic Drug Assays, and Chemistry subsections.
The AMA recognized that providers are able to perform quantitative testing of multiple analytes with a single procedure and updated the codes to reflect these methods. Drug testing procedures are now differentiated by whether they are:
  • Presumptive: used to identify possible use of a drug or drug class
  • Definitive: qualitative or quantitative methods to identify possible drug use while also identifying specific drugs
  • Therapeutic drug assays: quantitative procedures performed to monitor clinic response to a known, prescribed medication
These changes required the deletion of many codes, guidelines, and parenthetical notes. The method for reporting these procedures may change drastically for some providers.
To better understand the changes to Pathology and Laboratory code reporting, as well as changes to codes for E/M, radiology, digestive procedures, and more, attend HCPro's annual CPT update webcast with Shannon E. McCall, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CPC, CPC-I, CEMC, CCDS, director of HIM and coding for HCPro in Danvers, Massachusetts, and Peggy Blue, MPH, CPC, CCS-P, CEMC, instructor for HCPro's coding and Medicare boot camps. The comprehensive, two-hour webcast will take place at 1 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday, December 3, but if everyone can't listen live, all attendees receive a free, on-demand version of the program after it airs.

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