CPT Codes Changes 2017 and How They Can Affect Your Practice

The 2016 coding updates brought in some rather surprising modifications, and 2017 is going to be no different. A number of codes and revisions in guidelines are going to be introduced in the upcoming year. These new codes, as always, have been created because of the bundling mandates established by AMA’s RAW (Relativity Assessment Workgroup), with the aim to identify potentially misvalued services. This year will also see the addition of new codes which will describe procedures that are not described currently within the CPT code set. One example for this can be cryoablation of phantom limb pain. Additionally, several category III codes will also be extended, since they can still not be included under Category I status.

Take a look at some of the initial changes in CPT 2017 which will come into effect early next year:

  • Conscious Sedation Code Changes: The 2017 update will remove the symbol for conscious sedation from over 400 codes which currently bear this mark. Any code, which had this mark, signified that there is no need for reporting moderation/conscious sedation separately from the procedure code. The older codes which had 30-minute increments in 2016 will now be replaced with the ones which apply in 15-minute increments.
  • Biomechanical Device Insertion Code Changes: Spine coders will have to bring in new codes in place of the older 22851 code for biomechanical device insertion. Those who deal with pelvic ring fractures and foot surgery procedures will also have to deal with new codes.
  • Larynx Procedures Coding Changes: Laryngoscopy codes will see ‘fiberoptic’ taken off from the list. Instead, new laryngoplasty codes will be added, including stenosis codes that will vary with the age of the patient.
  • Multiple Cardiovascular Surgery Changes: As per 2017 changes, codes for Dialysis AV shunt imaging & intervention, 36147 and 16148, may get deleted. Instead, a set of 9 codes that are dialysis vascular services specific will get added to the mix. Some changes will happen with Endovenous Ablation codes. New options for mechanochemical ablation will be most affected by these changes.
  • Esophageal Sphincter Augmentation Device Placement and Removal: There will be new codes options for each of these under the CPT 2017 code changes.

Additionally, several more changes are also going to come out with the 2017 CPT coding updates. American Medical Association has also published ‘CPT 2017 Standard’ codebook to help practitioners with latest updates on coding changes and procedures, and how they can stay in compliance while performing accurate claims submissions. This book covers hundreds of codes, guidelines as well as textual changes from the previous versions.

To learn more about Spinal Coding and Bundling Issues and how they can affect your practice, join Margie Scalley Vaught in an audio conference, titled ‘Spine Coding and Documentation – Are You Keeping Up With All The New Changes And Bundling Issues?’ Additionally she will shed light on discectomy codes and how and when 22849 and 22851 codes can be used.

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