The American Medical Association (AMA) has released the 2024 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set, which addresses language barriers by including Spanish descriptors of medical services.
Each year, AMA releases a new edition of the CPT code set four months before the January 1 operational date. The CPT Editorial Panel gathers feedback from healthcare stakeholders to ensure changes reflect current coding demands.
The CPT code set update included 230 additions, 49 deletions, and 70 revisions for a total of 349 editorial changes.
The 2024 version aims to improve transparency for patients who speak Spanish with the addition of Spanish-language, consumer-friendly descriptors for more than 11,000 medical procedures and services.
Many hospitals, health plans, medical offices, and other CPT users already use consumer-friendly descriptors for English-language medical documents, insurance forms, price sheets, and patient portals. Adding the descriptors in Spanish will help CPT users assist patients in the Latinx community, AMA said.
“Navigating medical care and paperwork can be especially challenging for Latinx patients who do not speak English or speak English as a second language,” Lori Prestesater, senior vice president of health solutions at AMA, stated in the announcement.
“Providing approximately 41 million Spanish-speaking individuals in the United States with an easy-to-understand description of medical procedures and services can help build a more inclusive healthcare environment, where language is no longer a barrier and patients can actively engage in their own care.”
The CPT code set update also streamlined coding and reporting processes related to vaccinations and immunizations.
The 2024 CPT code set consolidated over 50 codes related to reporting immunizations for COVID-19. The editorial panel also approved provisional codes to identify monovalent vaccine products from Moderna and Pfizer for COVID-19 immunizations. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the updated monovalent vaccines.
The CPT code set includes a new vaccine administration code for reporting the administration of any COVID-19 vaccine for any patient, which replaces all previously approved product-specific administration codes.
The editorial panel added five new CPT codes to report product-specific Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) immunizations to improve tracking, reporting, and analysis.
Additionally, prompted by CMS, the editorial panel added revisions to the code set that clarify the reporting of evaluation and management (E/M) services. For example, the update removed time ranges from office or other outpatient visit codes and aligned the format with other E/M codes.
The panel added a definition to determine the substantive portion of a split/shared E/M visit in which a physician and a non-physician practitioner work together to furnish services related to the visit. The code set also newly includes instructions for reporting hospital inpatient or observation care services and admission and discharge services when a patient stay spans over two calendar dates.