Editor’s Note: Cutting through the red tape to make certain that you get paid for every dollar you earn has become more difficult than ever, particularly in our current climate of health care reform and ICD-10 transition. The ACEP Coding and Nomenclature Committee has partnered with ACEP Now to provide you with practical, impactful tips to help you navigate through this coding and reimbursement maze.
Question: What do I need to know about billing for ultrasounds performed in the emergency department?
Answer: Bedside ultrasound is one of the best things that has happened for ED patients in the last decade. Physicians who interpret an ultrasound can bill for the professional component. In addition to demographics, an ultrasound report should include the indication, a description of the study, findings, interpretation, and physician name. It is also required that images be permanently archived and be retrievable. Ultrasound guidance is also frequently used to perform procedures. Some procedures, such as arthrocentesis, have newer codes that include ultrasound guidance. Other procedures (eg, paracentesis or central venous line placement) require the procedure be coded separately from the ultrasound guidance. See ACEP’s ultrasound FAQ for more information and a complete list of the correct billing codes at www.acep.org/Physician-Resources/Practice-Resources/Administration/Financial-Issues-/-Reimbursement/Ultrasound-FAQs/