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by Claire Ariyoshi, CPC
Recent 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.
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.
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.
Every specialty is impacted by the 2017 coding changes but physical therapy coding changes are drastic. Over the next few weeks, Onpoint Medical Solutions will highlight some of the changes by specialty. This week we’ve summarized the coding changes for physical therapy.
There are major changes for the Physical Therapy evaluation and re-evaluation codes for 2017. The current codes 97001, 97002, 97003, 97004 have been deleted and replaced with 3 new evaluation codes, CPT 97161, 97162, 97163.
You are likely aware that Medicare and most commercial carriers required the switch as of January 1st. But did you know that workers compensation and auto insurance carriers are not mandated by HIPAA to use the new CPT codes? This means that you will still have to use the old codes for these carriers while remembering to use the new codes for all other carriers. For your reference, we have included an easy to read summary of the new physical therapy CPT codes.
For physical therapy, the new evaluation codes will include different components of complexity and severity. For instance:
- Patient history, medical and functional, including relevant comorbidities and personal factors;
- Examination AND the use of standardized tests and measures;
- Clinical presentation of the patient; and
- Clinical decision making including standardized patient assessment instrument and or measurable assessment of functional outcome.
Changing what you’ve done and how to do it is always challenging. Don’t let your practice suffer. Make sure you capture all services, all codes and enter the correct number of units. Now is the time to work with your biller to implement edits to catch and correct the coding errors before the claims go out. This will ensure that your cash flow won’t be negatively impacted. The physical therapy coding changes don’t have to jeopardize your practice.