Coding And Billing “multiple Techniques”

When healthcare vendors carry out a couple of strategies at some point of a single patient come across, Medicare (and many commercial insurers) normally pay “full fee” for only the highest-valued technique. The cause is explained in Chapter 1 of the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) Policy Manual:


Most clinical and surgical procedures include pre-system, intra-process, and submit-manner work. When a couple of processes are accomplished at the identical affected person come upon, there may be often overlap of the pre-manner and publish-method work. Payment methodologies for surgical methods account for the overlap of the pre-system and submit-procedure paintings.

Under the so-called “more than one system rule,” Medicare pays less for the second and next strategies executed in the course of the same affected person stumble upon. There are numerous ways in which reductions may be taken, as indicated for each CPT® code in column “S” of the Physician Fee Schedule Relative Value record.

If the code is assigned a “0” in column S, no charge adjustment guidelines for multiple methods apply. Per the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), “If technique is pronounced on the same day as some other method, base the payment on the lower of (a) the actual price, or (b) the charge agenda quantity for the technique.”

If the code is assigned a “1” in column S, price adjustment guidelines in impact before January 1, 1995 for more than one procedures follow. In this example, the very best valued technique will be paid at a hundred percentage of the fee agenda, the second most-valued procedure will be paid at 50 percentage, and all next tactics are paid at 25 percentage.

If the code is assigned a “2” in column S, “wellknown “payment adjustment policies for multiple techniques apply. The highest valued system can be paid at a hundred percentage of the rate time table, and all subsequent approaches are paid at 50 percent.

An indicator of “nine” in column S way the a couple of method reduction concept does not follow.

Special multiple procedure fee reduction guidelines practice in numerous circumstances. For example, if the code is assigned a “three” in column S and multiple endoscopic strategies in the equal code circle of relatives are stated, the “base” value of the endoscopy is paid best one time. Special policies also practice for sure diagnostic imaging approaches, remedy services, diagnostic cardiovascular services, and diagnostic ophthalmology offerings.

Multiple method rule does not observe to all CPT® codes. No payer (Medicare or otherwise) ought to reduce payment for:

  • Significant, separately identifiable E/M services supplied at the equal day as different approaches/services and nicely appended with modifier 25 Significant, one after the other identifiable assessment and management carrier with the aid of the same physician or other qualified health care professional at the same day of the process or other carrier
  • Any precise “add-on” CPT® code (indexed with a “+” subsequent to the descriptor)
  • Any manner distinct by CPT as “Modifier 51 exempt,” which can be identified inside the CPT® codebook by means of a “circle with a diminish” next to the code.

You can find a full listing of “upload-on” and “modifier 51” exempt techniques in Appendices D and E of the CPT® codebook. The relative values assigned to those codes issue in the “extra” nature of the process/offerings; therefore, there is no justification to lessen compensation while those codes are said further to different techniques.

Sequencing CPT® Codes When Reporting Multiple Procedures

CPT® consists of modifier 51 Multiple procedures to indicate the identical issuer finished multiple strategies (apart from E/M services) during the equal consultation. Specifically, modifier fifty one indicates

  • The identical process done on distinctive web sites;
  • Multiple operations at some point of the same session; or
  • One method achieved more than one times.

When billing, recommended exercise is to list the highest-valued process finished, first, and to append modifier fifty one to the second and any subsequent strategies. In exercise, maximum billing software, and most payers, robotically will list billed codes from maximum-to-least valued. You can take a look at together with your payer for information, but for maximum payers modifier fifty one is no longer essential, regardless of what number of techniques or services you record on a unmarried claim.

Multiple Procedures and Correct Coding Edits

In some cases, the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) might also impose edits that “package deal” codes to one another. If the NCCI lists any codes as “mutually exclusive,” or pairs them as “column 1” and “column 2” codes, the tactics are bundled and normally aren’t pronounced together. In such cases, best one method (the higher-valued) could be paid if each procedures are said.

If, but, the two methods are separate and distinct, you will be able to use a modifier to override the edit and be paid for each methods. Separate, wonderful strategies might also consist of:

  • distinctive consultation
  • different technique or surgical operation
  • distinct website online or organ system
  • separate incision/excision
  • separate lesion
  • separate injury (or vicinity of damage in great accidents)

Before appending a modifier, you must verify that unbundling is allowed for the code pair you want to document. Each CCI code pair edit consists of a correct coding modifier indicator of “0” or “1,” as indicated by using a superscript positioned to the right of the column 2 code. A “0” indicator way that you may no longer unbundle the edit combination, underneath any situations. A “1” indicator manner that you could use a modifier to override the edit, assuming the strategies are distinct.

When CCI allows you to override an code combination edit, you’ll append the appropriate modifier to the “column 2” code. The maximum frequently-used code to overcome CCI edits is modifier 59 Distinct procedural service, but you must append this modifier with warning. CPT® and CMS guidelines agree that modifier 59 have to be the “modifier of closing motel.” CPT® Appendix A explains, “Only if no more descriptive modifier is available, and using modifier fifty nine first-rate explains the occasions, need to modifier 59 be used.”

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John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is a contributing editor at AAPC. He has been masking scientific coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the enterprise of drugs on account that 1999. He is an alumnus of York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University.

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