It’s annoying. You’ve submitted your claims for subcutaneous injections with code 90772 for a couple years now and all of a sudden, rejections! The code has been changed to 96372. Who's responsible for this disruption to your cash flow? It was the insurance companies, wasn’t it?
No. Insurance companies do have some influence on CPT code changes but really not that much. CPT code changes can be proposed by anyone who identifies a problem or gap in existing codes. Many originate from physician complaints made to specialty societies about payment policies that don’t align with CPT or current practices. All proposed changes are vetted and recommended for approval, modification or rejection by physician volunteers from each of the medical specialty societies that participates in the AMA's CPT process. Proposals are then approved, postponed or rejected by the AMA's 17-member CPT Editorial Panel. Most of the panel members are physicians nominated by their specialty organization and appointed by the AMA Board of Trustees. David Ellington, MD, of Lexington, Va., and the AAFP Board of Directors is a member of the panel. A handful of the panel members represent payers.
So what else has changed in CPT 2009 and how are you, a busy physician, supposed to care for your patients and your practice and keep up with all of this? You can look to Appendix M of your 2009 CPT book for a summary of the deleted codes and their replacements. Also, watch for an article in the January/February issue of FPM on the code changes most affecting family medicine. And finally, don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or join the AAFP e-mail discussion list for coding issues to find help with coding questions and keep up-to-date. (The discussion list is also open to non-members so that your coding and billing staff can take advantage of this free resource.)