Use 92012, Not 92014, to Get Paid for Most Followup Visits
- Published on Sun, Apr 01, 2001
When billing followup visits for patients with chronic conditions, 92012 (ophthalmological services: medical examination and evaluation, with initiation or continuation of diagnostic and treatment program; intermediate, established patient) is usually more appropriate than 92014 (... comprehensive, established patient, one or more visits). Either 92012 or 92014 is often better than the evaluation and management (E/M) established patient codes (99212-99215) because the eye code documentation requirements are less stringent. Furthermore, if you perform the required components of the service per your Medicare carrier, you may have better reimbursement with the eye codes.
The best way to decide whether to bill 92012 or 92014 is to look at documentation guidelines in CPT or in the local medical review policy (LMRP) for your Medicare carrier. However, the two sets of documentation guidelines may not agree; if the patient is covered by Medicare, you must follow the guidelines of your Medicare carrier.
Some coders use the comprehensive exam code (92014) instead of 92012, because under CPT the documentation guidelines for 92014 do not require a new or existing condition complicated with a new diagnostic or management problem.
However, 92014 always includes initiation of diagnostic and treatment programs, according to the preface to the ophthalmology codes in CPT. Often, a followup visit involves no initiation of a diagnostic and treatment program. If there is no such initiation, use intermediate eye CPT Code 92012.
Check LMRP Requirements
Many Medicare carriers do not follow CPTs guidelines in all respects. Again, check with your local carrier to determine the specific documentation requirements for 92012 and 92014.
Most carriers have their LMRP for the eye codes listed on the Web site (www.lmrp.net). If your carrier does not have a policy, contact the provider relations department to ensure there is no LMRP in your carrier area.
Carrier Example: Idahos 92014-92012 Policy
All Medicare carriers require that certain services be performed in order to justify the eye codes. In Idaho, for example, according to policy ID 97-006 (general ophthalmological services), eight of the 11 following services must be performed in order to qualify for a comprehensive exam (92014 in an established patient):
Test visual acuity (does not include refraction)
Confrontation visual fields
Eyelids and adnexa
Cornea (requires slit lamp)
Conjunctiva (requires slit lamp)
Anterior chamber (requires slit lamp)
Lens (requires slit lamp)
In addition, according to the policy, a comprehensive examination always includes a fundus examination with the pupils dilated.
Use the eye codes when the level of service includes several optometric/ophthalmologic examination techniques, such as slit lamp examination, keratometry, ophthalmoscopy, retinoscopy, tonometry and motor evaluation that are integrated with and cannot be separated from the diagnostic [...]
Ophthalmology Coding Alert
Issue - Apr, 2001