Acupunture Coders PLEASE!

torresreb

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i work for the DoD and coders are expected to code "across the board". So far I have been doing good with the exception of ACUPUNCTURE! I have a provider who is doing BFA (battlefield acupuncture).

this physician is using 5 needles in the ear. The needles are not removed in fact they are placed and should stay in place for 1-3 days. Depending on whether they fall out or are taken out.

i cannot seem to find a code for this service. I've read all I can on BFA and i know how and why it is done but nothing on how it should be coded. this is what the provider indicated:

Treatment consists of insertion of five special sterilized small gold or stainless steel semi-permanent acupuncture needles in points on treatment uses in the skin of the ear to block pain in as little as five minutes. The needles are left to fall out on their own or be removed in 1-3 days.

would this be a case where an unlisted code would be used?
 

thomas7331

True Blue
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Although I don't routinely code acupuncture, the coding is quite simple. There are only 4 codes for acupuncture - two for treatments without electrical stimulation (97810-97811) and two for treatments that include it (97813-97814) - and they are time-based codes assigned according to how much one-on-one contact the provider spends with the patient. You would just assign the appropriate code or codes based on the documentation of how much time the provider spend with the patient at the encounter. You should not need to use an unlisted code for this.
 

torresreb

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yes i thought it was simple as well until the provider stated he inserts the five needles w/o stimulation and the needles stay in until they fall out on their own and/or taken out within a 1-3 day time frame. have you ever heard of that type of time frame? that is what has me stumped. and thank you so much for responding.
 

KathyB5

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I have had the privilege of coding acupuncture for the founder of BFA in DoD. The other ladies are correct. Acupuncture is a one-on-one timed code. How much time did the provider spend and document actually being with the patient performing that procedure? If what you have stated is all the provider documented with time spent with the patient, you will need to query them.

I also found a DoD document for your use - (I searched for :CPT code for battlefield acupuncture".) see page 20 of this document for the codes. It also gives examples too.
(DHA-PI 6025.33: Acupuncture Practice in MTFs - Health.mil
Full Report
Also, you can consult with DHA coding.
 
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