The treatment of liver tumors using yttrium-90 (y-90) radioembolization brings unusual challenges for interventional radiologists (IR). Documentation of treatment planning, radiation dosimetry calculations and placement of radioactive sources are not usually a familiar part of their lexicon. It is these unfamiliar disciplines, along with more comprehensive Evaluation and Management (E/M) visits, that set this procedure apart from the more routine IR cases.
Radiologists who perform venous ablation in a hospital outpatient department are now required to obtain prior authorization before performing such services on Medicare patients. This new requirement became effective for services performed on or after July 1, 2020, and physicians were notified by letters from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) late in June. The prior authorization requirement was included in the 2020 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) Final Rule, and encompasses the following procedures that might be performed by interventional radiologists:
In the final 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), fee increases relevant to radiology overall outnumbered decreases. However, many of those increases were insignificant changes of less than 1%. There were 128 Professional Component (PC) codes decreased by more than 1%, with only 76 increased, while 430 Global codes increased by more than 1% and 346 Global codes decreased. Here are the details:
Proper coding of physician services is essential to efficient billing and the optimization of reimbursement from payers, including commercial and governmental entities. The CPT® codes issued by the American Medical Association (AMA) to describe physician procedures are supposed to be recognized as standards, but in practice they are not accepted equally by all payers. One example is CPT codes in the range 99241-99255 that describe consultation services. These are most often used by interventional radiologists, as described in our article Coding and Billing Considerations in Interventional Radiology.