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Thread: CAN PA be FIRST ASSIT to DR?

  1. #1

    Default CAN PA be FIRST ASSIT to DR?

    AAPC: Back to School
    We have a PA who is under the doctors, meaning she does not have her own provider number.. The office manager just ask if we can bill her as the first assist with BCBS bc she is assisting our dr in surgery tomorrow night. I told her I did not believe we could bc she is billed under that physician. I have never ran accross this situation. CAN YOU PLEASE ADVISE ME?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Grand Rapids


    I would check with the payer to see how/if the PA is credentialed with BCBS - that will make a difference in whether or not they can be billed as assisting in surgery.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    The interesting thing that I have read in an AMA book about modifiers is that the definition of an assistant is one who is able to take over the case if the primary surgeon should become incapacitated. Any thoughts anyone?

  4. #4


    Well, your definition is right in its true sense. No other country allows such assistance legally. But of course there are other surgeons around the area/premises, who can sooner take over at a short notice just in case the physician incapacitated.
    But the PA programs train them up for many years covering many areas of medical faculty. When they take up the specialty and trained more and more in many of the techniques by visual and hand on experience, added to their knowledge and curriculum, why not within its limitations and under the direct supervision of the physician?( because of shortage).
    But there are limitations of assignment of surgical assistance by PA/NP, like minor surgeries and a few majors which are simple and not complex.
    for(eg) cesarean section or tubal ligation can be assisted by them or NP but not the laparoscopy,Vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy or radical hysterectomy, or wartheim, or TOT ,VVF so on and so forth, as the 'FIRST ASSTSTANT'.
    Well, it also depends upon the physician who is confident and takes up the responsibility of trusting them in their assistance, why don't we assign them a code by appending the modifier !
    Thank you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Well actually the 80 modifier applies only to physician assisting during surgery. The AS modifier is to be used for non-physicians

  6. #6


    -80 is for assistant Surgeon ( from the physician cader).
    -ASis for physician assistant , or NP . That is how I learnt

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