0479T/0480T What to use for commercial payers?


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Our providers are using CO2 laser for burn scar contractures. Many of the commercial payers will not accept the temporary codes 0479T/0480T. Our coders have been using alternate CPT code 17110. However, the surgeons argue that 17106-17108 are more appropriate. CPT Assist from 2017 states to use unlisted. HELP! What is the correct way to report this service?


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If the payers will not accept the temporary codes, I would recommend using an unlisted code, i.e. 17999, and assign 17106-17108 as a comparable value to that code since the providers have indicated this is close to the procedure they are doing. In my opinion, using a substitute code for this would be inappropriate since none of those codes accurately report what is being done. The whole purpose of the temporary code is just that - to allow reporting of new technologies that do not yet have a current code assignment, so by definition, there is not going to be another code. It's only when enough providers begin reporting these procedures that CPT will then make the decision assign a new listed permanent code.
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