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Massage Today
December, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 12

Are Massage CPT Codes on the Horizon?

By Editorial Staff

Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are widely used to report services for insurance reimbursement. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) designates the CPT codes as the national code set for claims from all health care providers, massage therapists and other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners included.

Although a minority of massage therapists currently utilizes insurance reimbursement in practice, participation is on the rise and is expected to continue.

If the new HIPAA language isn't enough evidence that alternative therapy codes are on the horizon, consider that the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) was among a select group of health care organizations invited to the American Medical Association (AMA) CPT Editorial Panel's recent meeting of its Alternative Therapy Services Work Group. Other attendees invited to participate in the October 3rd meeting in Chicago, Illinois included the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture; the American Association of Oriental Medicine; the American Physical Therapy Association; the American Occupational Therapy Association; and the American Nurses Association.

The AMA CPT Panel functions to update and maintain the CPT code set. According to the AMA, the panel's work group is charged with "evaluating alternative therapy payers' and providers' reporting needs, developing review criteria for alternative therapy descriptors, and selecting alternative therapy fields in which it may be advisable to begin developing proposals for new CPT codes.

According to AMA sources, some new alternative therapy codes may be approved within a year. However, these sources also note that any proposed codes will need to reflect organizational consensus within the profession.


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