Wednesday, November 07, 2012

New CPT Codes Are a Coming

In 2013, the CPT codes that psychiatrists use will be changing.  The new ones are said to better reflect what we do.  What does that mean?  Hmmm, I don't know, I thought I'd ask you.  The code for pharmacologic management, the so-called "med check" with no time requirements, is going away, and psychotherapy codes will be for 30, 45, and 60 minutes.  I'm not sure what happens to the 50 minute hour.  I'm going to try to figure this stuff out over the next month and write about it here or on Clinical Psychiatry News.  But first, let me ask you a few questions (these are for mental health professionals only, but everyone else,  hang on, I'll have other questions.  

Do you use CPT codes now?
Are you worried about the changes that are coming?
Do you think this will increase reimbursement to you?
Do you think it will increase reimbursement to your patients?
How do you plan to learn the new codes?
Oh, I'm going to set up a poll, but do feel free to write in on the comment section!


nj physical therapists said...
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L said...

As a patient - I'm curious how these new codes will result in insurance reimbursement to the PATIENT for out of network services.

Steve Daviss MD DFAPA said...

Not a great survey. For example, none of the answers in the last section applied to me. I was looking for "go to my association website" for how I plan to learn about the changes.

The first question also is not quite right, as it presumes that one has a *most common* duration for care provided. This might make sense for people doing primarily psychotherapy, but those of us who have a broader spectrum of services, will have a hard time picking a modal time, as some visits may be 10-15 minutes, others an hour or more (I'm thinking about hospital-based practices, ACT services, and collaborative care services, in particular).

This survey fails to separate the *new* codes (eg, 90872 and add-on codes) from the E&M codes, which have been around for years. Many psychiatrists (probably not most) have been using E&M codes for years, so they are completing the survey for the *new* codes, not the E&M codes.

Those who are new to E&M will have a much higher learning curve, but if you can figure out the Kreb's cycle, this is a piece of cake.

Sorry, Dinah, I don't mean to pick apart your goals here, but I also know you want good data.

Dinah said...

I did, after the fact wish that I had asked who was already using CPT codes. Oh well. The appointment times are always a curiosity thing, and I knew that I wouldn't capture every appointment, I figured people could pick their "most common." The answers are split around on How You're Going to Learn--highest is Take a Seminar. I think the one I'm most interested in is whether people are hopeful this will help reimbursements.
Only have 60 some responses, seems to little to be very meaningful.

Dinah said...

Steve --
I meant I wish I'd already asked who was using E/M codes.
There's nothing easy about our professional society's web site. They direct people to buy the AMA's E/M manual. The information is only available to members who have their passwords readily available. If you forgot your username or password, you must call the APA. Then the information obtained is not self-explanatory, and it does assume you already know who to use E/M codes and what documentation they require.

As someone who simply wants to know, How do I code a 50 minute psychotherapy session where I also prescribe and manage medications, there was no obvious answer here.
The National Council's slide show is more helpful, but I still will need to learn the E/M coding and documentation requirements.