January 06, 2021

2021 Coding Update Published

For 2021, there are several coding changes that will affect radiologists. Of significance, there are several new radiology codes available to report low-dose computed tomography (CT) of the thorax for lung cancer screening, medical physics dose evaluation and percutaneous core needle lung biopsy with imaging guidance.

New Category III codes were also created for procedures, such as breast CT, irreversible electroporation (IRE) ablation, percutaneous injection of allogeneic product into lumbar spine, automated advanced coronary analysis and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) for the determination and localization of discogenic spine pain.

Due to COVID-19, for which a Public Health Emergency (PHE) was declared, a new code was established to report the additional practice expenses incurred (e.g., face masks, cleaning supplies, clinical staff time for pre-visit instructions and office arrival symptom checks, etc.) in an office visit or other non-facility setting to mitigate the transmission of the disease.

Additionally, the office or other outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) visit codes and guidelines have been extensively revised. The history and/or physical examination as a component for code selection has been eliminated, and code level selection is based on medical decision making (MDM) or time. The definitions of MDM and time when using these codes have also been updated.

American College of Radiology® members are encouraged to update charge masters, coding and billing files to reflect the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) changes effective Jan. 1, 2021, and to refer to the CPT® 2021 Professional codebook for a complete listing of codes, guidelines and parenthetical changes.

Visit acr.org for additional information.