Thursday, December 06, 2012

Tutorials: CPT Coding for Outpatient Psychiatrists for 2013

The way mental health clinicians code their services for insurers is changing on January 1st. A minor thing, a really boring & tedious thing, but I decided I'd learn about it to write about it (oh, I have, but instead of writing, I call it Ranting) and make YouTube how-to videos on how to do the new coding. 

 Only the new coding takes something that was simple and self-explanatory and makes it really complicated -- it requires courses, manuals with more layers of charts and graphs and algorithms then you want to imagine, and it's all done in a way that has nothing to do with how psychiatry is actually practiced (it's about asking questions to get enough bullet points on your template). I'm seriously considering resigning from the APA over this-- they wanted and supported these changes that make something so simple into a pain, and could potentially be yet one more distraction from taking good care of patients. There are now 21 ways to code a psychotherapy session. However, if you want to learn about the new coding, I'm pleased to report that after hours of technologic hell involving PowerPoint, iPhoto, GarageBand, and iMovie, I now have 4 videos on YouTube about CPT codes for psychiatrists.  Thanks to Clink for emailing me a brief how-to list, but in the end I did it all by myself!

It's not looking like the insurance companies have changed their coding for next month, and many people don't know how to do the new coding, so if you're a patient waiting reimbursement, you might want to make sure your therapist/shrink knows to code the new codes (which might not work) and you might want to stay on top of the insurance company.  And if you're a mental health professional who gets reimbursed by insurance, you may want to make other plans for that mortgage. 

I will tell you that Roy is all in favor of the changes and thinks it's going to lead to much better reimbursements for psychiatry now that we'll be billing like the real docs do.

If you watch these, coffee first.  They are really boring.  And I think they are only of interest to psychiatrists.

Please do write in the comment section if you find other errors, I will correct them.