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AMA releases 335 code changes for 2019 — Here are the key updates

The American Medical Association revealed the 2019 Current Procedural Terminology code set, which includes significant changes to CPT codes and descriptors.

Here's what you should know:

1. The AMA changed 335 codes to reflect scientific and technological advances in medical, surgical and diagnostic services. Several new codes reflect the possibility of using connected health tools and other new delivery systems to improve healthcare quality.

2. Key changes include:

  • Three new remote patient monitoring codes
  • Two interprofessional internet consultation codes
  • New and revised codes for skin biopsy, fine needle aspiration biopsy, adaptive behavior analysis and central nervous system evaluations, including psychological and neuropsychological testing

3. New CPT category 1 codes go into effect Jan. 1, 2019. The AMA releases new CPT editions four months in advance to ease the transition between sets.

4. The downloadable CPT 2019 Data File contains the updated code set's complete descriptor package and the official CPT coding guidelines. It enables the 2019 CPT codes and descriptors to be imported directly into existing claims and billing software.

5. Healthcare professionals can learn about the CPT code changes at the CPT and RBRVS 2019 Annual Symposium in Chicago, Nov. 13 to Nov. 16, 2018. 

"The AMA has urged CMS to adopt the new codes for remote patient monitoring and internet consulting and designate the related services for payment under federal health programs in 2019," said AMA President Barbara McAneny, MD. "Medicare's acceptance of the new codes would signal a landmark shift to better support physicians participating in patient population health and care coordination services that can be a significant part of a digital solution for improving the overall quality of medical care."

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