CPT Code Changes for 2012

Blood PressureThere are several key changes in CPT codes that will affect cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, as well as cardiologists.  Here’s a summary of those key changes.

Lungs and Pleura

Changes have been made to this series of CPT codes in order
to reflect current medical practice.    The terminology “Video Assisted Thoracoscopic
Surgery (VATS)” has been added to the Thoracoscopy section to be more
descriptive of current technology for thoracoscopic surgery.  Aside from revisions to descriptions of roughly
22 existing codes, the biggest change is how we report wedge resections.

Wedge resections are more distinctly identified as either diagnostic
or therapeutic, differentiating between infiltrates and nodules.  A new add-on code takes into consideration
the times when a diagnostic wedge resection is followed by a more extensive
lung resection.

Cardiovascular System

This section of the CPT book has seen many changes in the
past, and this trend will continue.  In
2012, we will see changes in the pacemaker and cardioverter-defibrillator
surgical services.  The revisions in this
section help provide distinction among the various scenarios that can occur
with these surgical services.  The codes
will now be more specific as to whether the device is new or is being replaced
or is being completely removed.  This
should help to clarify what has been vague in past years.

Vascular Surgery

You will no longer use a component coding methodology
(36245, 75722, 75724) to report renal angiography.  Following the trend to consolidate codes that
are commonly reported together, CPT codes 75722 and 75724 have been deleted and
CPT codes 36251, 36252, 36253, and 36254 have been created.  These codes represent the entire service from
arterial puncture and catheter placement to radiological supervision and
interpretation (RS&I).

Relative Value Units (RVU’s) and the Medicare allowed amounts are available on the CMS website.