Societies Object to Proposed Angioplasty Coding Changes


June 18, 2009—On its Web site, The Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI, has posted a letter to Niles R. Rosen, MD, Medical Director of the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI), in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and NCCI's April 16 letter proposing coding changes that relate to coverage for angioplasty procedures.

SCAI, along with the American College of Cardiology, American College of Radiology, American Roentgen Ray Society, Radiological Society of North America, Society for Vascular Surgery, and Society of Interventional Radiology, wrote to oppose the edits and revisions to the NCCI Policy Manual for Medicare Services that would disallow percutaneous catheter-based angioplasty from being reported with atherectomy when performed in the same noncoronary vessel at the same setting.

The societies stated that the proposed edits are in direct conflict with the American Medical Association's currently established national coding conventions for correct coding of percutaneous catheter-based therapeutic interventions. The April 16 letter also addressed NCCI edits for simultaneous open and percutaneous angioplasty, as well as simultaneous open and percutaneous atherectomy. Current coding conventions state that multiples of the same intervention (angioplasty, atherectomy, etc.) are only reported once per vessel. However, there are situations when bilateral procedures may be performed or separate vessels are treated within either leg, the societies stated.

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