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Coding committee OKs pandemic-related additions

  • ADA News
In reaction to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the Code Maintenance Committee accepted and approved the inclusion of eight pandemic-related CDT procedure codes in CDT 2021 during its virtual annual session in March. Other CDT Code actions approved during the meeting will be effective in CDT 2022.

A suite of COVID-19 codes concerning vaccine administration were presented to and approved by the Code Maintenance Committee, the body that votes to accept, amend or decline requests to the CDT Code.

“The ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs recognizes the importance of supporting dentists’ documentation needs and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ interest in vaccination reporting by dentists,” said Randall Markarian, D.M.D., council chair as well as chair of the Code Maintainence Committee. “Implementation of these public health emergency procedure codes should not be delayed.”

Sharon Perlman, D.D.S., American Association of Public Health Dentistry committee representative, said the inclusion of the vaccination codes was important.

“This is a game-changer,” she said.

A code for molecular diagnostic testing was also approved by the committee. The CDT Code already contains entries for documenting antigen and antibody testing, both prompted by the COVID-19 public health emergency and reflecting the CMC’s ability to address new techniques and procedures related to the pandemic.

The CDT Code is typically updated once a year and goes into effect on New Years Day. However, the Code Maintenance Committee has the power to meet more often during special sessions (as it also did in 2020 for the antibody and antigen procedure codes) to address exceptional CDT Code documentation needs.

In all, the committee approved the addition of 16 new codes, six deletions and 13 revisions for the 2022 CDT Code.

Other changes of note made by the committee include:

• The addition of codes related to sleep apnea treatment for the first time. These actions fill a CDT Code documentation gap and encompass custom sleep apnea appliance fabrication and placement, appliance adjustment and appliance repair. Prior to this, any sleep apnea device procedure could only be documented with an “unspecified procedure by report” (a.k.a. 999) code.
• Revision of the Limited Orthodontic Treatment subcategory descriptor to clarify that there are only two types of orthodontic treatments – limited and comprehensive – and that the third type (interceptive) as currently seen in CDT should correctly be considered limited. The entire interceptive subcategory of service thus was deleted.
• The addition of codes regarding the placement and removal of temporary anchorage devices requiring a flap or without a flap. This action addresses a documentation gap arising from the current code entries that state the procedure includes device placement and removal. The gap now allows a dentist, for accurate patient record-keeping, to only report removal with a 999 code, which is not machine readable. The committee approved revisions to the existing codes to indicate that the procedures involve placement only; the newly created codes enable clear and unambiguous reporting of device removal.

The ADA Council of Dental Benefit Programs established its Code Maintenance Committee to ensure that all stakeholders have an active role in evaluating and voting on CDT Code changes. The committee is expected to arrive at decisions that are in the best interests of the profession, patients and third-party payers and administrators.

The new vaccination (and molecular testing) codes are –
• D1701   Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administration – first dose.
• D1702   Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administration – second dose.
• D1703   Moderna COVID-19 vaccine administration – first dose.
• D1704   Moderna COVID-19 vaccine administration – second dose
• D1705   AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine administration – first dose.
• D1706   AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine administration – second dose.
• D1707   Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine administration.
• D0606   Molecular testing for a public health related pathogen, including coronavirus.

More information on coding is available at ADA.org/en/publications/cdt/coding-education.
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