Nuclear Medicine Question for the Week of February 8, 2016

Question:

I have reports coming to me where the first paragraph is for the oral ablation therapy (79005) for thyroid cancer. The second paragraph is dated a week later and is for a follow-up thyroid cancer imaging whole body.  

I have in my notes that 78018 is included with 79005 but, unfortunately I cannot locate the source of that note. So, now I am confused, and would appreciate guidance as to whether 78018 is part and parcel to 79005.

Answer

You would code each separately. The ablation therapy and the follow-up scan are not bundled.  CPT Assistant and the National Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) Policy Manual instruct not to code 79005 for providing a radiopharmaceutical for a diagnostic scan such as 78018, but when there is a separate ablation therapy, both may be coded.  

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