A: As previously noted on the ACR Economics & Health Policy eNews page*, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a November 6 FAQ stating that breast tomosynthesis produces direct digital images and, therefore, is appropriately reported using one of the three existing HCPCS codes that describe digital mammography services. They state breast tomosynthesis, and all other types of digital mammography, are described using G0202, G0204, and G0206.
The date practices were notified by their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) is the effective date. We assume that all physicians have now received notice from Medicare contractors indicating they should ONLY report one of the G020X mammography codes when breast tomosynthesis is furnished.
Radiology practices do not need to go back and refund breast tomosynthesis payments prior to the CMS notification. Prior to the posting of the CMS FAQ and its communication to physicians, a decision on coverage and payment was reached by payers, including Medicare contractors, since miscellaneous codes generally require manual adjudication.
Medicare issues an FAQ as the fastest way to get information out to MACs and providers. As Medicare has published this, MACs should be following, and you must bill Medicare according to that guideline.
The ACR strongly disagrees with the CMS recommendation to report only a digital mammography code. The digital mammography codes do not accurately describe the procedure performed or take into consideration the additional work and associated practice expense involved with breast tomosynthesis. Coverage varies from payer to payer based on contracts. As long as your third party payers maintain it is as a non-covered service you can continue to bill the patient. For example, a few payers cover CT colonography while others don't (including Medicare) so some patients have a screening colonography by CT while most patients have conventional colonoscopy since that is what is covered.
Note that the ACR, American Roentgen Ray Society, and Radiological Society of North America proposed the designation of specific CPT codes for breast tomosynthesis at the American Medical Association’s February 2014 CPT Editorial Panel meeting in Phoenix. If approved by the panel, breast tomosynthesis codes will be available for use by the 2015 CPT code cycle.