2017 CPT® Coding Updates: Make Room for Key Laryngoplasty & Flexible Laryngoscopy Changes
Remove “fiberoptic” from laryngoscopy codes.
CPT® 2017 packs some important changes general surgery coders don’t want to overlook. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, you’ll have a new specific code — 31573 — to use when your surgeons performs a flexible laryngoscopy with therapeutic injection. The new code is part of an update of the flexible laryngoscopy family that changes the four current CPT® codes and adds three new ones.
Additionally, CPT® 2017 also changes the laryngoplasty codes with revisions, deletions, and additions, and you’ll need all the advice you can get to report these procedures effectively in 2017.
Note Revisions to 31575
You’ll no longer find the term ‘fiberoptic’ in the descriptor of flexible laryngoscopy procedure. The change means that all of the codes in this family share the same description without restricting the codes to fiberoptic technique. The revised CPT® codes will now be applicable even if the laryngoscope uses other visualization techniques.
You’ll also find changed descriptors for flexible laryngoscopy codes to account for multiple specimens: for instance for the code 31576, you’ll use with biopsy (ies)
Apart from descriptor changes, you’ll also have three new codes to describe other specific therapeutic procedures that your surgeon might perform as part of a flexible laryngoscopy: 31572, 31573, and 31574.
Differentiate codes: Surgeons normally perform direct laryngoscopy procedures (31515-31571) in the OT under anesthesia whereas they perform flexible laryngoscopy in the practice or office using topical anesthetics.
Tempted to bill a separate E/M? Don’t. If your surgeon performs a flexible laryngoscopy in the office, avoid separately reporting the small E/M performed as part of a scheduled scope procedure.
Change the Way You Report Laryngoplasty
Coding for larynx procedures will look a bit different in 2017. You will need to know about additions, revisions, and deletions to codes in the range 31580-31592, including stenosis codes that differ based on patient age. Delete laryngeal stenosis repair code 31582 and choose from four new codes instead (listed with # in the CPT® code book since they are out of numerical sequence).
CPT® 2017 also deletes 31588, but revises and adds new codes to provide specific choices to report your surgeon’s laryngoplasty work.
Stay tuned for more articles covering the latest CPT® 2017 changes affecting your coding and reimbursement.