Enhanced Technology in Telehealth and Inter-professional Internet Consultation Leads to Expanded Coding

On Sept. 5, the American Medical Association (AMA) released the 2019 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set. There are 335 code changes that reflect the CPT Editorial Panel and the health care community’s combined effort to make codes available that describe the latest scientific and technological advances in medical, surgical and diagnostic services.

In keeping with this effort, among the significant changes to CPT is the addition of codes that reflect the importance of telehealth and other novel health care delivery services. There is immense potential for connected health tools to improve the overall quality of health care by supporting clinicians.

The CPT changes for 2019 include three new remote patient monitoring codes that reflect how health care professionals can use technology to connect with their patients at home and gather data for improved care management and coordination of care. Also, two new inter-professional internet consultation codes have been added to reflect the increase in use of non-verbal communication technology to coordinate patient care between a consulting physician and treating physician. 

The AMA has urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) to adopt the new codes for remote patient monitoring and internet consultation and allocate payment for these services.

Additional CPT changes for 2019 include new and revised codes for skin biopsy, fine needle aspiration biopsy, adaptive behavioral analysis and central nervous system assessments including psychological and neuropsychological testing. The new and revised codes are effective for reporting as of Jan. 1, 2019.

Just as other markets have been affected using technology, the healthcare delivery system of the future may look very different from what we have today. Changes in coding changes may affect your bottom line by increasing revenue and avoiding penalties due to compliance risk areas. As such, it is crucial that you work closely with an expert who is abreast of these timely coding changes as the new and revised codes are affective for reporting as of Jan. 1, 2019.

Jenny Harvey, is a Manager with LBMC Healthcare Consulting. To learn more, contact Jenny at jharvey@lbmc.com or call (865) 862-6544.