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Which Code is the Right Code for 2017 Flu Vaccines?

by Claire Ariyoshi, CPC

Coding Tips for Flu VaccinesRecent CDC recommendations state that vaccination efforts should begin as soon as the seasonal flu vaccines are available and continue through the flu season.  While administering the flu vaccine may be easy, coding and getting paid for it is not.

Flu vaccines are no longer easy to code due primarily to the vast number of vaccines available.  It puts the onus on the provider to know which code goes with which vaccine.  It seems like every year there are changes on how to code flu vaccines.  This year was no different.

2017 Changes

First, there was the January 1 revision.  This changed many of the influenza CPT code descriptions, removed the age indicator and added dosage.  And, it was recently announced that effective July 1, 2017 the new CPT 90682 will be reimbursed by Medicare.  This is specific to the influenza virus vaccine quadrivalent (RIV4) derived from recombinant DNA, hemagglutinin (HA) protein only, preservative and antibiotic free for intramuscular use.  Medicare carriers have until August 1, 2017 to implement the CPT and pay from service dates starting July 1, 2017.

What Codes for Flu Vaccines?

When a flu vaccine is given, the provider should also enter CPT 90471 for commercial or G0008 for Medicare, for the administration of the vaccine.  The ICD10 DX code is Z23.  Just to confuse the issue even further coding is specific to trade name, how supplied, mercury content and age group.  The Immunization Action Coalition, published a table of flu vaccines by trade name to assist you in selecting the proper CPT code for Commercial and Medicare carriers.

Pricing

The Medicare Part B payment allowance for seasonal flu vaccines are 95% of the average wholesale price.  Patient deductible and coinsurance amounts do not apply for the vaccine.  All providers who administer the vaccine must take assignment on the claim for the vaccine.  The CMS Seasonal Influenza Vaccines Pricing page lists the payment allowances for the 2016-2017 flu season.

Flu Shots Given – Charges Denied

Flu ShotsNew codes for flu shots in 2017!

By:  Claire Ariyoshi, MBA, CPC

The flu season is underway and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that people get their flu shots.  According to the CDC, only injectable flu shots are recommended this season.

Health care providers have been providing flu shots to their patients in record numbers.  However, some providers are now left wondering why their charges are being denied by various insurance carriers.  If this is happening to you, it may be because you are using the wrong codes.  Following is a summary of how providers must code in order to be paid.

Effective January 1, 2017, many influenza codes were revised to remove the age indicator and a dosage is now required. The table below illustrates these changes.

REVISED Influenza codes

2016 (age of patient) January 1, 2017 (Dosage)

90655, 90657, 9085,90687

6 – 35 months

0.25 mL dosage

90656, 90658, 90686, 90688 Older than 3 years

0.5 mL dosage

Providers who have followed these coding guidelines are being reimbursed in accordance with the carriers policies.Additionally, a new CPT 90674 has been added for a quadrivalent cell cultured influenza vaccine that is indicated for use in those 4 years of age or older.

Claire Ariyoshi is the Vice President of Finance for Onpoint Medical Solutions.  She has over 30 years experience managing medical billing and patient registration departments for private practices.  In addition to her MBA, she is a certified professional coder and is ICD-10 certified.