The American Medical Association updated codes Tuesday for office and outpatient visits that address the COVID-19 pandemic and tech-enabled care, among other issues.
The changes to the evaluation and management office visit codes include eliminating history and physical exam elements for code selection, basing code selection on medical decisionmaking or total time, and adding more detail to code descriptions, the AMA said in a news release. The association suggested CMS adopt the changes on Jan. 1.
“To get the full benefit of the burden relief from the E/M office visit changes, healthcare organizations need to understand and be ready to use the revised CPT codes and guidelines by Jan. 1, 2021,” AMA President Dr. Susan Bailey said in prepared remarks. “The AMA is helping physicians and healthcare organizations prepare now for the transition and offers authoritative resources to anticipate the operational, infrastructural and administrative workflow adjustments that will result from the pending transition.”
There are 206 new codes—most of which involve new technology services like data collection—54 deletions and 69 revisions.
Some of the additions that went into effect earlier this year address COVID-19, such as ones that facilitated payment for infectious agent detection by nucleic acid or immunoassays as well as new probe techniques used to diagnose COVID-19. New codes also enabled reimbursement for antibody testing for COVID-19, for instance.
The AMA offered some examples for new tech-enabled services for eye and heart screening. Some of the new codes aim to better screen and treat diabetic retinopathy by allowing payment for artificial intelligence technology at primary-care settings, which the association hopes will improve access for at-risk populations.
New codes for algorithmic technology that works in concert with a patch used in external extended electrocardiograms is much easier to wear and provides more accurate and complete data for physician interpretation, the AMA said.