AMA Announces Major Code and Guideline Updates for 2021
When the American Medical Association (AMA) announces major changes to its codes and guidelines, medical coding and billing professionals take notice. After all, it’s been more than 25 years since the AMA released major updates for office and other outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) services. But that’s exactly what they did recently, as the organization announced the updates as part of the release of CPT® 2021.
Read on to learn more about updates for E/M service codes and the CPT.
E/M Service Code Updates
According to the press release linked to above, “the E/M office visit modifications include:
- Eliminating history and physical exam as elements for code selection.
- Allowing physicians to choose the best patient care by permitting code level selection based on medical decision-making (MDM) or total time.
- Promoting payer consistency with more detail added to CPT code descriptors and guidelines.
“To get the full benefit of the burden relief from the E/M office visit changes, health care organizations need to understand and be ready to use the revised CPT codes and guidelines by Jan. 1, 2021,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. “The AMA is helping physicians and health care organizations prepare now for the transition and offers authoritative resources to anticipate the operational, infrastructural and administrative workflow adjustments that will result from the pending transition.”
CPT 2021 Update
E/M service code changes weren’t the only updates to the upcoming 2021 CPT code set, however. Here’s a summary of the 329 editorial changes to the CPT:
- 206 new codes
- 54 deleted codes
- 69 revised codes
According to the AMA, “the CPT code set continues to see growth in new and novel areas of medicine, with the majority (63%) of new codes this year involving new technology services described in Category III CPT codes and the continued expansion of the Proprietary Laboratory Analyses (PLA) section of the CPT code set.”