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Family Practice Coding Alert

Reader Question:
Payment for Supplies

Question: Can our practice recoup the cost of supplies for services or minor procedures performed in the office? They represent a big expense.
         
New Hampshire Subscriber
 
Answer: Generally, family practices cannot bill for materials or supplies used for routine procedures in the office (e.g., urine dipsticks, gowns, dressings, etc.) if those materials are usually included with the office visit or other services rendered. These are considered to be incident to the physicians professional services and are factored in to the practice-expense component of the RVU schedule.
 
Some items like casting supplies or injectables (e.g., J1700, injection, hydrocortisone acetate, up to 25 mg) can routinely be reported separately and are reimbursed if the practice has borne the cost of providing the materials. Likewise, if the physician provides an unusual amount of a supply that is normally included in the office visit (e.g., if a second surgical tray is needed), the extra materials may be reported separately with 99070 (supplies and materials [except spectacles], provided by the physician over and above those usually included with the office visit or other services rendered [list drugs, trays, supplies, or materials provided]).