Ultrasound Question for the Week of September 12, 2016

Question:

Question:

For non-Medicare patients, do we report code 93978 or 93979 for an ultrasound for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening (instead of G0389)?

Answer:

Answer:

If your payer does not accept G0389, you would report the following code:

76775 Ultrasound, retroperitoneal (e.g., renal, aorta, nodes), real time with image documentation; limited

Generally, a duplex scan is not being performed when the provider is looking for an AAA. They are looking at structure, not vascular flow. In a Clinical Examples in Radiology article (Spring 2007), the American Medical Association (AMA) and American College of Radiology (ACR) included the following statement regarding screening for AAA: “For non-Medicare patients, it is appropriate to use code 76775, Ultrasound, retroperitoneal (e.g., renal, aorta, nodes), B-scan and/or real time with image documentation; limited, to report the screening study.”

The ACR’s 2016 Ultrasound Coding User’s Guide describes 76775—ultrasound, retroperitoneal (e.g., renal, aorta, nodes) real time with image documentation; limited—as “an examination that is limited to either one retroperitoneal organ or area or a follow-up examination of a limited area, for example, the abdominal aorta for aneurysm.”