A large health system's approach to utilization of the genetic counselor CPT® 96040 code

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Abstract

Purpose:

In 2007, CPT® code 96040 was approved for genetic counseling services provided by nonphysician providers. Because of professional recognition and licensure limitations, experiences in direct billing by genetic counselors for these services are limited. A minority of genetics clinics report using this code because of limitations, including perceived denial of the code and confusion regarding compliant use of this code. We present results of our approach to 96040 billing for genetic counseling services under a supervising physicians National Provider ID number in a strategy for integration of genetics services within nongenetics specialty departments of a large academic medical center.

Methods:

The 96040 billing encounters were tracked for a 14-month period and analyzed for reimbursement by private payers. Association of denial by diagnosis code or specialty of genetics service was statistically analyzed. Descriptive data regarding appointment availability are also summarized.

Results:

Of 350 encounters January 2008 to February 2009, 289 (82%) were billed to private payers. Of these, 62.6% received some level of reimbursement. No association was seen for denial when analyzed by the diagnosis code or by genetics focus. Through this model, genetics appointment availability minimally doubled.

Conclusion:

Using 96040 allowed for expanding access to genetics services, increased appointment availability, and was successful in obtaining reimbursement for more than half of encounters billed.

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