Wiki Apheresis therapeutic injection for epicondylitis

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Our doctors are starting to do this procedure now and I need help. Can someone tell me how you're billing this or what code/s you are using?

The physician draws blood (phlebotomy) and it's transferred to the centrifuge where the plasma is prepared. After preparation, the elbow is injected w/lidocaine followed by injection of fresh platelet material and thrombin.

Thanks for your help!
CPT and CMS state probably not

270.3 - Blood-Derived Products for Chronic Non-Healing Wounds - (Various Effective Dates Below)

(Rev. 83, Issued: 05-02-08, Effective: 03-19-08, Implementation: 06-02-08)

A. General

Wound healing is a dynamic, interactive process that involves multiple cells and proteins. There are three progressive stages of normal wound healing, and the typical wound healing duration is about 4 weeks. While cutaneous wounds are a disruption of the normal, anatomic structure and function of the skin, subcutaneous wounds involve tissue below the skin's surface. Wounds are categorized as either acute, in where the normal wound healing stages are not yet completed but it is presumed they will be, resulting in orderly and timely wound repair, or chronic, in where a wound has failed to progress through the normal wound healing stages and repair itself within a sufficient time period.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is produced in an autologous or homologous manner. Autologous PRP is comprised of blood from the patient who will ultimately receive the PRP. Alternatively, homologous PRP is derived from blood from multiple donors.

Blood is donated by the patient and centrifuged to produce an autologous gel for treatment of chronic, non-healing cutaneous wounds that persists for 30 days or longer and fail to properly complete the healing process. Autologous blood derived products for chronic, non-healing wounds includes both: (1) platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) products (such as Procuren), and (2) PRP.

The PRP is different from previous products in that it contains whole cells including white cells, red cells, plasma, platelets, fibrinogen, stem cells, macrophages, and fibroblasts.

The PRP is used by physicians in clinical settings in treating chronic, non-healing wounds, open, cutaneous wounds, soft tissue, and bone. Alternatively, PDGF does not contain cells and was previously marketed as a product to be used by patients at home.

B. Nationally Covered Indications

Not applicable.

C. Nationally Non-Covered Indications

1. Effective December 28, 1992, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a national non-coverage determination for platelet-derived wound-healing formulas intended to treat patients with chronic, non-healing wounds. This decision was based on a lack of sufficient published data to determine safety and efficacy, and a public health service technology assessment.

2. Effective July 23, 2004, upon reconsideration, the clinical effectiveness of autologous PDGF products continues to not be adequately proven in scientific literature. As the evidence is insufficient to conclude that autologous PDGF in a platelet-poor plasma is reasonable and necessary, it remains non-covered for treatment of chronic, non-healing cutaneous wounds. Also, the clinical evidence does not support a benefit in the application of autologous PRP for the treatment of chronic, non-healing, cutaneous wounds. Therefore, CMS determines it is not reasonable and necessary and is nationally non-covered.

3. Effective April 27, 2006, coverage for treatments utilizing becaplermin, a non-autologous growth factor for chronic, non-healing subcutaneous wounds, remains nationally non-covered under Part B based on section 1861(s)(2)(A) and (B) of the Social Security Act because this product is usually administered by the patient.

4. Effective March 19, 2008, upon reconsideration, the evidence is not adequate to conclude that autologous PRP is reasonable and necessary and remains non-covered for the treatment of chronic non-healing, cutaneous wounds. Additionally, upon reconsideration, the evidence is not adequate to conclude that autologous PRP is reasonable and necessary for the treatment of acute surgical wounds when the autologous PRP is applied directly to the closed incision, or for dehiscent wounds.

D. Other

In accordance with section 310.1 of the National Coverage Determinations Manual, the routine costs in Federally sponsored or approved clinical trials assessing the efficacy of autologous PRP in treating chronic, non-healing cutaneous wounds are covered by Medicare.

(This NCD last reviewed March 2008.)

CPT Adds their comments on PRP

CPT® Assistant November 2005 Volume 15 issue 11
"Question: During an orthopedic procedure, 60 cc of the patient's blood was drawn and then centrifuged for 15 minutes to separate the PLATELET-rich PLASMA from the PLATELET-poor PLASMA. The red cells were injected into the operative site. What are the appropriate CPT codes to report for these procedures?

AMA Comment: The instillation of the PLATELETs by the surgeon into the surgical site would not warrant additional CPT code reporting as this is considered an integral part of the total procedure performed; therefore, the instillation is not separately reportable as there is no significant, additional physician work involved. However, code 86999, Unlisted transfusion medicine procedure, should be reported when blood is drawn intraoperatively from the patient and centrifuged to separate the PLATELET-rich from PLATELET-poor PLASMA and the red cells are injected into the operative site."

Margie Scalley Vaught, CPC, CPC-H, CCS-P, MCS-P, ACS-EM, ACS-OR
Healthcare Consultant
Coding Content Specialist for DecisionHealth
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