Billing for translation services

lmeszaros

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Can a provider bill CPT code 99358 (prolonged service without direct patient contact) for translation services?
 

CodingKing

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No, you cannot use that code to bill for the services of the translator. A translator is reported with T1013 but it's not payable by most payers. The payer I work for does pay for it for some highly specialized plans. However, those same plans also pay to have a patients cat get a flea dip if it would help keep the patient in the community and out of a nursing facility.

99358 has a specific purpose and if you read the guidelines you will see that interpreter service wouldn't even loosely fit the definition

From what I read on an older post falls under office overhead. I hear the expense is tax deductible so maybe check with the tax accountant. There is a good post around here from Pam Brooks all about it.
 
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Translators are paid by the hospital/facility/office for their services, usually as a salary as opposed to per hour. Because their services are reimbursed via the facility's payroll, they can't also be reimbursed by a payer. RVUs are not a component of their salary.

Although providers are also on salary and charges can be billed for their services, the reimbursement doesn't go directly to the provider; it goes to the facility. Their salary remains the same, regardless of how many patients they see. That's why (most) facilities have policies on the minimum number of RVUs a provider should be meeting per month (usually). If a provider got paid directly from every claim going out, then there'd be way more incentive to see as many patients as possible, thus lowering patient quality of care.
 
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lmeszaros

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Billing for Translation Services

Thank you for your responses to my question.
It's always great to hear from other members! :)
 
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