Get Specific With 2009 Lab Codes

New CPT® codes that go into effect Jan. 1, 2009 will allow your lab to code more accurately for advancing diagnostic tests, according to the Coding Institute’s Pathology/Lab Coding Alert (Vol. 9, No. 11).

Let’s say, for example, that a patient presents with chest pain but shows a normal EKG and tropinin-negative test results. The physician orders serum myloperoxidase (MPO). You would have to settle for a generic code, such as 83516 Immunoassay for analyte other than infectious agent antibody or infectious agent antogen, qualitative or semiquantitative; multiple step method to describe the test. In 2009, however, you’ll code this sort of test with total clarity using CPT® code 83876 Myeloperoxidase [MPO].

Another example of CPT® 2009 offering greater specificity is when a physician orders des-gamma-carboxy-prothrombin to aid in the diagnosis of hepatocarcinoma in a patient with chronic liver disease. Presently, you would have to resort to a generic code, such as 83516 Immunoassay for tumor antigen quantitative [eg, CA 50, 72-4, 549]. In 2009, look for 83951 Oncoprotein, des-gamma-carboxyprothrombin [DCP] to report this test more accurately.

For additional CPT® 2009 laboratory updates, read the full article “Sneak Preview: Get Ready for 2009 Laboratory Codes Now” on the TCI Web site.

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