Coding Manual and Automated Audiometry With the introduction of new billing codes for automated audiometry (see The ASHA Leader, March 16, 2010), audiologists may have questions about when to use manual audiometry codes versus automated audiometry codes. Most audiologists and speech-language pathologists are familiar with Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes [© American Medical Association (AMA)]. ... Bottom Line
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Bottom Line  |   June 01, 2011
Coding Manual and Automated Audiometry
Author Notes
  • Steven White, PhD, CCC-A ,director of health care economics and advocacy, can be reached at swhite@asha.org.
    Steven White, PhD, CCC-A ,director of health care economics and advocacy, can be reached at swhite@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Bottom Line
Bottom Line   |   June 01, 2011
Coding Manual and Automated Audiometry
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.BML.16062011.3
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.BML.16062011.3
With the introduction of new billing codes for automated audiometry (see The ASHA Leader, March 16, 2010), audiologists may have questions about when to use manual audiometry codes versus automated audiometry codes.
Most audiologists and speech-language pathologists are familiar with Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes [© American Medical Association (AMA)]. These Category I codes are established only after the related procedures have met strict requirements:
  • They are performed by many health professionals in multiple locations.

  • When appropriate, any associated device has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • They have sufficient published research demonstrating their efficacy.

Two other categories of CPT codes—II and III—are not as extensive. Category II codes are supplemental tracking codes used for performance measurement. Category III codes are temporary codes used for emerging technology, services, and procedures.
Category III codes for automated audiometry became effective Jan. 1, 2010, following the six-month implementation period that began July 1, 2009 (see “Coding Books” [PDF] online).
The AMA CPT Editorial Panel anticipated the need to clarify how to use the appropriate codes for manual audiometry versus automated audiometry. As a result, the March 2011 issue of the CPT Assistant includes a table that illustrates the activities differentiating the two types of testing. The introduction to the table states that “manual audiometry [e.g., code 92557, Comprehensive audiometry threshold evaluation and speech recognition (92553 and 92556 combined)] requires active and ongoing clinical judgment, participation, presentation, and control of the components of the procedure by a qualified professional. In contrast, automated audiometry involves the evaluation of the auditory system using computer algorithms without the requirement of constant, ongoing clinical judgment by a qualified professional—typically an audiologist or physician—during the acquisition of data.”
Audiologists can contrast the manual audiometry code 92557 with the automated audiometry code 0212T, Comprehensive audiometry threshold evaluation and speech recognition (0209T, 0211T combined, automated).
The CPT Assistant table describes the activity, who performs manual audiometry, and how automated audiometry is performed. For example, the qualified professional monitors the patient’s response to each stimulus to make a judgment if a response is valid for manual audiometry; a computer monitors the patient’s response to the stimulus during automated audiometry.
Audiologists and coders will find the explanation provided in the CPT Assistant useful if they are unsure about using a Category I or Category III code.
Further information about the use of automated audiometry is available in an article by R. H. Margolis and Donald E. Morgan, “Automated Pure-Tone Audiometry: An Analysis of Capacity, Need, and Benefit,” in the American Journal of Audiology.
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June 2011
Volume 16, Issue 6