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8 Things to Know about CPT Changes for 2020

8 Things to Know about CPT Changes for 2020

Back in September 2019, the American Medical Association (AMA) released the 2020 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set. As in previous years, the CPT Editorial Panel considered broad input from physicians, medical specialty societies, and the greater health care community in updating the code set. Those changes will become effective on January 1, 2020. 

For a detailed look at all the updates, you can purchase the AMA’s CPT Changes 2020: An Insider’s View. In this post, we highlight eight noteworthy ones.

1. For 2020, there are 394 code changes, including 248 new codes, 71 deletions, and 75 revisions. 

2. Six new codes were added to reflect new medical services “sparked by novel digital communication tools, such as patient portals that allow health care professionals to more efficiently connect with patients at home and exchange information.” The following codes should be used to report online digital evaluation services, or e-visits. Codes 99421, 99422, and 99423 describe patient-initiated digital communications provided by physicians or other qualified health care professionals, and 98970, 98971, and 98972 can be used for communication provided by non-physician health care professionals.

3. CPT codes 99473 and 99474 were added to report self-measured blood pressure monitoring, which  better support home blood pressure monitoring that aligns with current clinical practice.”

4. New codes also were established for health and behavior assessment and intervention services, including 96156, 96158, 96164, 96167, and 96170 and add-on codes 96159, 96165, 96168, and 96171. These codes will replace older codes to better reflect interdisciplinary care coordination and teamwork in current clinical practice.

5. Online digital E/M services have been defined more clearly in the 2020 code set and three new codes have been aligned with the times in the telephone care service codes:

  • 99421 Online digital evaluation and management service, for an established patient, for up to 7 days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 5-10 minutes
  • 99422 11-20 minutes
  • 99423 21 or more minutes

The previous online E/M service code 99444 will be deleted.

6. Four new cardiovascular codes were added for 2020. Codes 33017, 33018, and 33019 were added to report pericardial drainage with insertion of an indwelling catheter. Code 33016 was added for pericardiocentesis and includes imaging guidance when performed. Codes 33010, 33011, 33015, and 76930 will be deleted.

7. Several codes that reflect injections of the spine and nervous system have been added, amended, or deleted. For instance, two new codes for spinal puncture “with fluoroscopic or CT guidance” have been added and existing spinal puncture codes revised so providers can choose a single code even if there is fluoroscopic or CT guidance. The use of MRI or ultrasound imaging is not included in any of the codes, however, and may be reported separately.

  • 62270 Spinal puncture, lumbar, diagnostic.
  • 62328 with fluoroscopic or CT guidance.
  • 62272 Spinal puncture, therapeutic, for drainage of cerebrospinal fluid (by needle or catheter).
  • 62329 with fluoroscopic or CT guidance.

As well, all codes from 64400-64450 were revised to include “and/or steroid” injection, and two new injection codes for the genicular nerve branches, 64451 and 64454, were added to the code set. 

Codes 64402, 64410, and 64413 will be deleted, and instead, code 64999 will be used to report injection of anesthetic agent and/or steroid to the facial nerve, phrenic nerve or cervical plexus.

8. The American Society of Anesthesiologists’s Relative Value Guide and CROSSWALK Guide for 2020 is now available to order. According to the ASA, this tool “lists the CPT anesthesia code that most specifically describes the anesthesia service for a particular diagnostic or therapeutic CPT procedure code and includes the associated ASA base unit values for that anesthesia service.”

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a freelance writer and editor who provides communications and marketing services for CIPROMS. She is responsible for creating, editing, and managing all content, design, and interaction on the company website and social media channels in order to promote CIPROMS as a thought leader in healthcare billing and management.

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