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AMA copyright of CPT

zoolug

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Am I the only one who is bothered by the AMA's copyright of CPT? It is one thing to copyright their books. But they seem to claim copyright any document which contains CPT codes. For example, often at insurance company Web sites you have to click on an AMA copyright agreement to get to their medical policies. This includes getting to the CCI edit lists at CMS.

In a related question, does anyone know of any movement to stop using CPT in favor of public domain procedure codes, such as ICD?
 
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CPT codes, as developed by the AMA, are proprietary hence the copyright notice on everything involving them. I understand your frustration but doubt that there is or will be any movement to ICD procedure codes because of it.

The AMA is protecting their interests, which I have to ask--if you did all the work to create and maintain the entire CPT, wouldn't you?

Am I the only one who is bothered by the AMA's copyright of CPT? It is one thing to copyright their books. But they seem to claim copyright any document which contains CPT codes. For example, often at insurance company Web sites you have to click on an AMA copyright agreement to get to their medical policies. This includes getting to the CCI edit lists at CMS.

In a related question, does anyone know of any movement to stop using CPT in favor of public domain procedure codes, such as ICD?
 

dmaec

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hmm,... well - at the risk of sounding ignorant (I'll jump in head first, why not right) ;) ....
I don't get it, what's the issue? Why is it a problem? What difference does it make "who" copyrights the information as long as it's maintained, updated, etc.? As Belinda stated, they designed it! it's their baby... and, what are "public domain" procedure codes (I've never heard of such)... and why on earth would we want to start using ANOTHER set of codes with different definitions and guidelines... Dear God - I hope the only other codes we're moving towards are the ICD10 - (whenever that happens)!
 
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Not ingnorant...

Donna,

It's not ignorance and I support your stance. I don't want any more changes than necessary and have built my career around E/M.

Though I don't understand the big issue with copyright (and believe me, I had to struggle with the public domain and "fair use" issues like crazy because of publishing a textbook), public domain information, FYI, is information made available to the public which is distributed and redistributed without copyright or patent. Governmental information, for example, CMS data, is in the public domain.
 
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zoolug

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why it's an issue for me

A specific example of when I think the copyright does us wrong is when you download the CCI edit files from CMS, you have to agree that you will only use them for CMS-administered programs only - this is the AMA's condition, not CMS's. But we know that CCI edits are CMS rules: the only CPT content is the codes themselves. And CCI edits are used as guidelines for the entire insurance industry. So I think they should be public domain. But if I download them and refer to them while working BCBS claims, I am violating the AMA copyright. I even wrote to the AMA and they confirmed that that is true.
 
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I see your point, but think it's interpretational (And surely makes sense to an attorney somewhere). The CPT Agreement contains the following language which I would say (in conjunction with the statement you mention about use), is inteded to protect CMS rather than to indicate a breach of actual AMA copyright:

"U.S. Government Rights
This product includes CPT which is commercial technical data and/or computer data bases and/or commercial computer software and/or commercial computer software documentation, as applicable which were developed exclusively at private expense by the American Medical Association, 515 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60610. U.S. Government rights to use, modify, reproduce, release, perform, display, or disclose these technical data and/or computer data bases and/or computer software and/or computer software documentation are subject to the limited rights restrictions of DFARS 252.227-7015(b)(2) (November 1995) and/or subject to the restrictions of DFARS 227.7202-1(a) (June 1995) and DFARS 227.7202-3(a) (June 1995), as applicable for U.S. Department of Defense procurements and the limited rights restrictions of FAR 52.227-14 (June 1987) and/or subject to the restricted rights provisions of FAR 52.227-14 (June 1987) and FAR 52.227-19 (June 1987), as applicable, and any applicable agency FAR Supplements, for non-Department of Defense Federal procurements."





A specific example of when I think the copyright does us wrong is when you download the CCI edit files from CMS, you have to agree that you will only use them for CMS-administered programs only - this is the AMA's condition, not CMS's. But we know that CCI edits are CMS rules: the only CPT content is the codes themselves. And CCI edits are used as guidelines for the entire insurance industry. So I think they should be public domain. But if I download them and refer to them while working BCBS claims, I am violating the AMA copyright. I even wrote to the AMA and they confirmed that that is true.
 

CCiampa

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CPT Codes

I want to thank you all. I have been enrolled as a student for 8 months. And one of my test question is as follows. CPT Codes are considered "public domain" and can be copied and used by anyone. True or False. I was going crazy just trying to find this answer. So again deeply appreciate your forum.
 
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