Massage Chair billed as 97012


Farmdale, OH
Best answers
Our chiropractic office is considering using independent massage chairs (like the ones you sit in at the mall) as a substitute for the intersegmental traction table (IST/Roller Table) to save on office space create a more efficient patient flow.

The office bills 97012 for the IST. Guidelines describe the modality as any physical agent applied to produce therapeutic changes to biologic tissue. The American Chiropractic Association clarifies, "Roller table type traction normally meets the requirement of autotraction, the use of the body's own weight to create the force."

It seems to me that a massage chair would loosely fit the description of the patient's own body weight creating force against the internal rolling of the massage chair. However, I haven't found any resource that clearly prohibits billing this as CPT 97012.

I am looking for input, experience and advice. Links to specific guidelines is appreciated. Thanks Coder friends! :D
Did you receive any feedback on this or have you billed this?

My though is I do not think that the massage chair can be billed under 97012. The massage chair is not traction; it is massage. Therapeutic massage falls under 97124, but that requires direct (one-on-one) patient contact, not a mechanical application.

I'm curious to know if you have billed this and gotten paid for it.
Jade Mound, COC, CPC
Do Not bill a massage chair using CPT 97012 unless you want to pay the money back at some point in the future. While it provides some similar mechanical action to an IST table, these are not Class II medical devices and as such, these are commercially available and found in malls and airports. Payers, should they determine you are using such a device to provide and bill traction, expect trouble. Have been involved in a number of post-payment recoupment cases involving such devices.