Code Drug Tests Correctly

Code Drug Tests Correctly

If you’re reporting presumptive drug tests using codes 80305-80307, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reminds medical coders and billers that you can use G0340-G0383 for Medicare coding.

Drug Tests: Abused Drugs

Coding for testing a patient for drugs commonly abused is based on a structure of screening, which is often referred to as presumptive testing, and quantitative (or definitive) testing specifying how much of which drug is in the patient. The clinical laboratory service must be ordered and used by the physician treating the patient or by a nonphysician practitioner to establish medical necessity.

Since the beginning of 2017, medical coders and billers can report 80305-80307 for presumptive testing, but are  restricted to code one per day per patient for each date of service:

  • 80305: Drug tests(s), presumptive, any number of drug classes; any number of devices or procedures, (eg, immunoassay) capable of being read by direct optical observation only (eg, dipsticks, cups, cards, cartridges), includes sample validation when performed, per date of service
  • 80306: Drug tests(s), presumptive, any number of drug classes; any number of devices or procedures, (eg, immunoassay) read by instrument-assisted direct optical observation (eg, dipsticks, cups, cards, cartridges), includes sample validation when performed, per date of service
  • 80307: Drug tests(s), presumptive, any number of drug classes, qualitative, any number of devices or procedures; by instrument chemistry analyzers (eg, utilizing immunoassay [eg, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA, IA, KIMS, RIA]), chromatography (eg, GC, HPLC), and mass spectrometry either with or without chromatography, (eg, DART, DESI, GC-MS, GC-MS/MS, LC-MS, LC-MS/MS, LDTD, MALDI, TOF) includes sample validation when performed, per date of service

Drug Tests: HCPCS Level II

But CMS also developed codes effective the beginning of 016, and the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) Policy Manual says definitive testing may be reported using HCPCS Level II codes. They differ from the CPT codes based on the number of drug classes, including metabolites tested:

  • G0480: Drug test(s), definitive, utilizing (1) drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily stereoisomers), including, but not limited to GC/MS (any type, single or tandem) and LC/MS (any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (e.g., IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA) and enzymatic methods (e.g., alcohol dehydrogenase)), (2) stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples (e.g., to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength), and (3) method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material (e.g., to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift); qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day; 1-7 drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed
  • G0481: Drug test(s), definitive, utilizing (1) drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily stereoisomers), including, but not limited to GC/MS (any type, single or tandem) and LC/MS (any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (e.g., IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA) and enzymatic methods (e.g., alcohol dehydrogenase)), (2) stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples (e.g., to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength), and (3) method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material (e.g., to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift); qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day; 8-14 drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed
  • G0482: Drug test(s), definitive, utilizing (1) drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily stereoisomers), including, but not limited to GC/MS (any type, single or tandem) and LC/MS (any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (e.g., IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA) and enzymatic methods (e.g., alcohol dehydrogenase)), (2) stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples (e.g., to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength), and (3) method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material (e.g., to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift); qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day; 15-21 drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed
  • G0483: Drug test(s), definitive, utilizing (1) drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily stereoisomers), including, but not limited to GC/MS (any type, single or tandem) and LC/MS (any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (e.g., IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA) and enzymatic methods (e.g., alcohol dehydrogenase)), (2) stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples (e.g., to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength), and (3) method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material (e.g., to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift); qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day; 22 or more drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed

CMS also created G0659  to recognize those laboratories  performing a less sophisticated version of these tests than is usually performed in drug testing laboratories:

  • G0659: Drug test(s), definitive, utilizing drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily stereoisomers), including but not limited to GC/MS (any type, single or tandem) and LC/MS (any type, single or tandem), excluding immunoassays (e.g., IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA) and enzymatic methods (e.g., alcohol dehydrogenase), performed without method or drug-specific calibration, without matrix-matched quality control material, or without use of stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standard(s) for each drug, drug metabolite or drug class per specimen; qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day, any number of drug classes

The work performed in this test approximates the work performed in CPT code 80307.

Drug Tests: A Final Note

If your provider is performing validity testing on urine specimens utilized for drug testing, you can’t for bill the validity testing. For example, if a laboratory performs a urinary pH, specific gravity, creatinine, nitrates, oxidants, or other tests to confirm that a urine specimen is not adulterated, this testing is not separately billed.

Brad Ericson

Brad Ericson

Director of Publishing at AAPC
Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, has been director of publishing for more than 10 years. Before AAPC he was at Optum for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.
Brad Ericson

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About Has 301 Posts

Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, has been director of publishing for more than 10 years. Before AAPC he was at Optum for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

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