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AMA Releases Coding Advice Related to COVID-19

  The AMA has created a quick reference flow chart for CPT reporting for COVID-19 testing that outlines coding options for testing patients for COVID-19. Although testing is not likely to be ordered by pain medicine practices, the flow chart summarizes the coding options for telemedicine, telephone and "virtual check-in" visits. Most of these options were explained in a previous article.

Physicians have contacted AAPM with concerns for caring for patients who are high-risk and do not have internet capabilities or skills. Medicare does not cover the codes for telephone services. However, Medicare pays for "virtual check-ins" (brief communication technology-based service) for patients to communicate with their doctors and avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor's office. These virtual check-ins are for patients with an established (or existing) relationship with a physician where the communication is not related to a medical visit within the previous 7 days, and does not lead to a medical visit within the next 24 hours (or soonest appointment available and involves 5-10 minutes of medical discussion. The service is reported using HCPCS code G2012.

Patients must verbally consent to receive virtual check-in services; however, you can advise patients of the availability of the service. Medicare coinsurance and deductible apply to these services. The national average reimbursement for code G2012 is about $15.

A new page on the AMA website address CMS payment policies & regulatory flexibilities during COVID-19 emergency.

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