AMA releases 329 CPT code changes for 2021: 6 things to know

By Alia Paavola for Becker’s Hospital Review

The American Medical Association released updates Sept. 1 to its Current Procedural Terminology code set for 2021.

Six things to know about the changes:

  1. The AMA has made 329 changes to the 2021 CPT code set, including 206 new codes, 54 deletions and 69 revisions. The changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2021.
  2. Among the changes in 2021 are CPT codes and guidelines for office and other outpatient evaluation and management services. The AMA said it is the first major overhaul in more than 25 years to the E/M office visit coding and documentation. The AMA said the changes aim to make coding and documentation for the visits simpler.
  3. Some of the E/M office visit code changes include eliminating history and physician exam as elements for code selection, permitting code level selection based on medical decision-making and adding more detail to the CPT code descriptors to promote payer consistency.
  4. The AMA also added CPT codes that are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The code set was modified with several code additions and revisions that were approved for immediate use and published in the 2021 code set.
  5. The AMA added eight codes to improve documentation for continuous cardiac monitoring and detection, which will replace four codes that have been deleted.
  6. In addition, there are new and revised CPT codes to enhance screening and care of patients with diabetes.
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