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The physician should determine how to appropriately code sleep and polysomnography studies that are interrupted.
Q: We perform sleep and polysomnography studies, which are frequently interrupted because the patient repeatedly stops breathing and we need to implement continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Until now, we didn't think we could bill for those interrupted studies, but we were recently told it is appropriate to do so. How do we proceed?
A: There are actually two proper ways to report the service, according to Current Procedural Terminology. The first is to report the appropriate code from the 95803-95811 range with the modifier –52 for reduced services. The second is to report the appropriate code with the modifier –53 for discontinued services.
The modifier selection would be determined by the amount of data collected during the study. If there is sufficient data to form a diagnostic opinion, –52 would seem the appropriate choice. If there is insufficient data, modifier –53 would be appropriate. However, it is a decision that should be made by the physician. As you know, CPT definition does not guarantee coverage by the insurer.
The author, vice president of operations for Reed Medical Systems in Monroe, Michigan, has more than 30 years of experience as a practice management consultant and is also a certified coding specialist, certified compliance officer, and a certified medical assistant.