CPT Codes Released 2021

The American Medical Association has released a new CPT code set for 2021. That means that it is the first change to the guidelines and codes for outpatient (E/M) evaluation and management services and office services in the past 25 years.

According to this release from the AMA, these changes have aimed to make E/M office visit documentation and coding much more flexible and more straightforward. That should allow physicians and administrative teams to relieve the burden that causes box-checking and note bloating.

When it comes to changes of the CPT codes starting at 99201 to 99215, which are supposed to get put into play January 1, 2021, they are supposed to include:

  • Promotion of payer consistency with added details to CPT code guidelines and descriptors
  • Allows physicians to select the best care for their patients by permitting code level selection based on total time or MDM (medical decision making)
  • Eliminates physical exam and history elements from code selection

Susan Bailey, MD, the AMA President, stated in the released that to get full benefits of burden relief of E/M office visit changes that all healthcare organizations should be ready to use and understand the revised CPT guidelines and codes by January 1. She went on to talk about how the AMA is helping healthcare organizations and physicians prepare for this transition and has started to offer resources to anticipate administrative, infrastructural, and operational adjustments in the workflow, which can happen due to the transition.

Additions to the CPT code allow additional sets for medical testing services in response to the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic.

There is more information from the AMA on the new code set that you can get through guidebooks, modules, videos, checklists, and other resources and tools to help the transition to the updated E/M office guidelines and codes.