Neurology Coding: Know which nerve conduction study code is proper for you

Selecting the right code to describe your nerve conduction test can prove to be a challenging proposition – until you learn three important areas to study. Here are some steps to make the right choice every time:

Differentiate between code choices

Doctors use nerve conduction studies (NCS) to evaluate the function and electrical conduction of motor and sensory nerves in the body. When you face NCS coding, CPT provides you three options:

95900 — Nerve conduction, amplitude and latency/velocity study, each nerve; motor, without F-wave study

95903 — motor, with F-wave study

95904 — sensory.

First step

Review carefully the physician’s documentation for the individual nerves stimulated. Remember you can report only one unit of service of the corresponding NCS code when the neurologist carries out a diagnostic study on the same nerve at multiple sites.

According to CPT descriptors, report codes 95900, 95903, and 95904 by “each nerve. See to it that you follow this guide and are not reporting multiple units of services for NCS testing at multiple sites on the same nerve as ‘separate nerves’.

Report 95900, 95903, and/or 95904 only once when the provider stimulates or records multiple sites on the same nerve. Code 95903 includes both the F-wave study and the underlying motor nerve conduction study. As per National Correct Coding Initiative edits, you cannot bill both 95900 and 95903 for motor NCS testing on the same nerve. CCI considers the Column 2 code, 95900 as a component of the more comprehensive Column 1 code 95903.

Know when to append modifiers

Modifiers can come in handy when coding nerve conduction studies, especially when the doctor tests different nerves or nerve branches or carries out different diagnostic NCS.

Establish medical necessity

The patient’s signs and/or symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis support medical necessity when ordering a diagnostic procedure. The physician must document the information in the order and note for the procedure. Information supporting medical necessity should also be in the professional interpretation report for the diagnostic study.

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