Beware of Limitations When Using Electrical Stimulation - Ultrasound

January 4th, 2018 - Chris Woolstenhulme, QCC, CMCS, CPC, CMRS
Categories:   CPT® Coding   HCPCS Coding   Physical Medicine|Physical Therapy  
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Ultrasound is often used to reduce inflammation, and improve the flexibility of connective tissue.  This is done by applying sound waves to produce heat and/or vibration.  Be aware of the many limitations when reporting this code. Be sure to consult your local carrier LCDs and carefully determine the correct code and the requirements for using that code. Your Local LCD will give you a list of diagnosis that are not covered for this treatment. 

There are two types of of electrical stimulation: 

HCPCS G0283 - Electrical Stimulation (unattended), to one or more areas for indication(s) other than wound care, as part of a therapy plan of care.

CPT 97032 - Application of a modality to one or more areas; electrical stimulation (manual), each 15 minutes.

Unattended electrical stimulation (HCPCS G0283) is a supervised modality which does not require direct (one-on-one) patient contact by the supplier (provider) during the entire episode of care. It is applied by the therapist initially and removed by the therapist when the treatment has been completed. It is directly supervised by the therapist in that he/she is present in the office suite, and readily available if needed. There is no time frame associated with this code.

Manual electrical stimulation (CPT 97032) is a constant attendance modality, which means that the application of this modality requires direct, one-on-one patient contact by the supplier (provider) of service for the time that the treatment was provided, as indicated in the documentation.

Although manual electrical stimulation is provided by therapists, in the clinic setting unattended electrical stimulation is most often utilized.

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