Up to code: Keep current with coding
Practicing psychologists need to know almost as much about billing codes as they do about their patients. Every year, the American Medical Association (AMA) publishes thousands of Current Procedural Terminology® (CPT) codes that psychologists and other health care providers use to bill insurers for treatment. The manual includes psychotherapy, health and behavior, and testing codes that are revised periodically by the AMA CPT Editorial Panel. This panel is responsible for ensuring that CPT codes remain up to date and incorporate the latest treatments and technology used to provide medical care.
The American Psychological Association works with the AMA CPT Editorial Panel to keep the manual updated. Psychologists also play a role in establishing the value of new codes when they complete Relative Value Update (RUC) surveys. AMA uses RUC survey responses from psychologists and other health care providers to help review the relative values of new and revised CPT codes.
Anticipated code changes
Currently, psychological and neuropsychological testing CPT codes are being revised by the AMA CPT Editorial Panel. APA is heavily involved with this process. Here’s what psychologists need to know:
- The final testing code revisions would “differentiate technician administration of psychological testing and neuropsychological testing from physician/psychologist administration and assessment of testing.” In the past, existing codes have caused confusion about who is performing these tests.
- APA is making refinements to testing codes that will be submitted to AMA for publication in a future CPT manual.
- Practicing psychologists can now follow the progress of the code revisions by reading summaries of CPT Editorial Panel meetings online. In previous years, because of the confidential nature of the code development process, most psychologists and other health care practitioners were unaware of code changes until the new or revised codes were published in the annual CPT codebook.
APA has collaborated with AMA for many years to ensure that the work of practicing psychologists is taken into consideration when developing new CPT codes and revising existing codes. APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD, even served two terms on the AMA CPT Editorial Panel and was an advisor to the panel from 1992-2007. Additionally, APA’s Office on Health Care Financing is dedicated to working on CPT codes.
Psychologists can learn more about the CPT code development process by reading editorial panel meeting summaries on the AMA website and visiting the APA Practice Organization’s reimbursement section on APA Practice Central.