The user-friendly descriptions associated with the over 11,000 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) codes are integrated into various medical documents, insurance forms, price lists, and patient portals. They serve as crucial references for numerous hospitals, health plans, and medical offices.
To address language barriers, the recently released 2024 CPT code set now incorporates these descriptors in Spanish. This initiative aims to enhance the accessibility of medical care and its associated paperwork for patients who have limited proficiency in English or for whom English is a second language.
According to the AMA’s Senior Vice President, “Providing roughly 41 million Spanish-speaking individuals in the United States with clear, understandable descriptions of medical procedures and services can foster a more inclusive healthcare environment. This move ensures that language is no longer a hurdle, enabling patients to actively participate in their own care.
Moving at the Speed of Innovation
The CPT code set, encompassing 11,163 medical services and procedures, continuously adapts to keep pace with the swift advancements in medical science and health technology. This annual update incorporates 349 editorial modifications, comprising 230 additions, 49 deletions, and 70 revisions.
A significant modification involves consolidating over 50 previous codes, simplifying the reporting of COVID-19 immunizations. Additionally, a novel vaccine-administration code – 90480, has gained approval for reporting the administration of any COVID-19 vaccine to any patient. This supersedes all previously endorsed, product-specific vaccine-administration codes.
Further enhancements address product-specific innovations in the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The introduction of five new CPT codes 90380, 90381, 90683, 90679, and 90678 facilitates more precise tracking, supporting data-driven planning and allocation.
Clarifications sought by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) led to revisions in the code set, providing clarity in reporting evaluation and management (E/M) services. These revisions encompass:
- Elimination of time ranges from office or other outpatient-visit codes 99202-99205 and 99212-99215, aligning the format with other E/M codes.
- Introduction of a definition to determine the “substantive portion” of a split or shared E/M visit, wherein a physician and a non-physician health professional collaborate to furnish services related to the visit.
- Guidelines for reporting hospital inpatient or observation services, admission, and discharge services when the patient stay extends over two calendar dates, using codes 99234-99236.
Changes to the code set undergo a transparent process managed by the AMA CPT Editorial Panel, an independent body convened by the AMA. This ensures that CPT content accurately reflects the coding and data-driven demands of a modern healthcare system, encompassing digital health and augmented intelligence (AI), commonly referred to as artificial intelligence.