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New devices, technology dominate 2021 CPT code changes

By Lisa Eramo bio

There is a whole slew of new and revised CPT codes—329 changes to be exact—effective since Jan. 1. This includes 206 new codes, 54 deletions, and 69 revisions. Interestingly, the majority of changes pertaining to new technology and devices, giving medical practices the opportunity to provide high-quality patient care while also receiving reimbursement. This article summarizes three notable changes.

Retinal imaging using augmented intelligence

The American Medical Association (AMA) added CPT code 92229 for retinal imaging with automated point-of-care analysis and report (unilateral or bilateral). Per the AMA, this technology better supports patient screening for diabetic retinopathy, and it increases the early detection and incorporation of findings into diabetes care.

What’s interesting about this procedure is that it relies on augmented intelligence (AI) technology, says Kimberly Huey, MJ, CHC, CPC, CCS-P, PCS, CPCO, COC, independent coding and reimbursement consultant in Alabaster, AL. AI technology enables physicians—particularly primary care and internal medicine physicians—to diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy as early in the disease progression as possible (i.e., before patients even experience symptoms) to prevent vision loss, she adds.

“Medical experts are working to determine the clinical applications of AI—work that will guide health care in the future. These experts, along with physicians, state and federal officials must find the path that ends with better outcomes for patients,” Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., former chair of the AMA Board of Trustees, said in an AMA press release.

Wearable patch technology for continuous cardiac detection and monitoring

Technological advances in external electrocardiogram monitoring have prompted the AMA to adopt several new CPT codes (i.e., 93241—93248). This new technology uses an innovative algorithm in concert with an easy-to-wear patch that provides physicians with accurate and complete data to aid in the detection of atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and other arrhythmias. The codes distinguish between recordings lasting between 48 hours and seven days versus more than seven days up to 15 days. Physicians can bill for the recording, scanning analysis with report, and/or the review and interpretation, says Huey.

Subcutaneous/submucosal nasal lateral wall implant

CPT code 30468 denotes this new procedure designed to keep nasal passages open and reduce nasal airway obstruction due to structural abnormality in the nose or because of inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages.

Partnering with life science reps

These new CPT codes are the AMA’s response to fast-paced digital innovation that improves patient outcomes. Medical practices can work with their life science reps to learn more about these new technologies and any important billing caveats. During times of social distancing, consider connecting with reps virtually rather than in-person. You’ll get the same valuable information while keeping physicians and staff safe. Also, you may consider purchasing the 2021 CPT Manual that includes updated CPT codes and code descriptors.











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