Medical Billing Forum

Coding => Coding => Topic started by: rdmoore2003 on April 10, 2012, 03:52:36 PM

Title: help with code
Post by: rdmoore2003 on April 10, 2012, 03:52:36 PM
we are having a marriage and family therapist coming on board with us.  My question is the following:  Is there a different code to use for marriage counseling or just use the family therapy code of 90846 & 90847?
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: Michele on April 12, 2012, 06:38:50 AM
There is no specific cpt code for marriage counseling, just an icd9.  The 90846/90847 or the 90806 if only one is seen.
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: rdmoore2003 on April 12, 2012, 11:35:06 AM
THANK YOU!  I WAS JUST CHECKING.  I WONDER IF THE 5010 CODES WILL HAVE ONE?
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: PMRNC on April 12, 2012, 05:33:31 PM
Not likely, and plus ICD-10 has been delayed.  Marriage counseling will be differentiated by the diagnosis code using the procedure codes for group/individual therapy.
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: Sophrosyne on May 08, 2012, 11:07:20 AM
Marriage counseling has been one of the most difficult things for our office to deal with! We've had many cases in which the patient's insurance company says marriage counseling is covered; however, they aren't able to tell us if the specific diagnosis code we use is covered and that seems to be what matters. One of our doctors has a general rule that if marriage counseling is the primary focus of the therapy, he will use V61.10 as the dx. In my (admittedly limited) experience, insurance companies don't usually cover V-codes such as this (even if the half-witted insurance rep tells you it's covered).
Our doctor made this general rule after reading an article about how "creative billing" constitutes fraud. An example would be: a couple comes in for the stated purpose of marriage counseling; in order to make sure the services are covered, the doctor identifies one partner as the patient and gives him a dx. Although it seems to me this would only be fraud if the doctor was fabricating the diagnosis in order to secure payment from the insurance company. 
I'd love to hear about some other (perhaps more insurance-friendly) ways that marriage counseling is billed. We certainly don't want to do anything fraudulent, but I do like to make sure insurance pays when it's supposed to!
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: PMRNC on May 08, 2012, 02:17:11 PM
The insurance carrier is NOT there to tell you how to code, how could they tell you how to code without the medical record? They are not allowed to even suggest codes to you, that's actually to safeguard any fraud.   

If the provider is seeing the couple for marriage counseling ONLY the diagnosis will be the V-code.. that's not exactly accurate that the carrier won't pay v Codes.  There are still MANY carriers who flat out don't cover marriage counseling, to put any other diagnosis to a claim where marriage counseling services are being rendered to preclude payment from the carrier would constitute fraud. When I verify benefits I flat out ask if there is a benefit for marriage counseling, it's going to be yes or no and most times you still need the authorization anyway and that's another added protection.
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: Sophrosyne on May 29, 2012, 11:55:34 AM
It makes sense that the insurance company can't suggest codes. I just wish they could accurately tell me if a particular code is covered or not (although I suppose that also could be to safeguard against fraud--not that we would alter our coding if the code we used wasn't covered, we just like to be able to tell patients what they can expect to pay for each visit). We've had a few cases in which an insurance company says that marriage counseling is covered, but then denies the claim because of the V-code. But then we've also had one instance in which the insurance company said marriage counseling is not covered, but then paid the claims. This made me wonder if maybe we were missing something.
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: Michele on May 30, 2012, 08:25:35 AM
Unfortunately there is lots of error in this field.  Call the same company 3 times and you probably will get 3 different answers.  It certainly can get frustrating.  Also, even with technology, claims are often processed incorrectly.  I've seen Medicare go back 5 years and say "we shouldn't have paid that" and demand the money back.  I'm wondering why didn't they notice when the claim was paid? 
Title: Re: help with code
Post by: PMRNC on May 30, 2012, 09:21:35 PM
Quote
It makes sense that the insurance company can't suggest codes. I just wish they could accurately tell me if a particular code is covered or not (although I suppose that also could be to safeguard against fraud--not that we would alter our coding if the code we used wasn't covered, we just like to be able to tell patients what they can expect to pay for each visit). We've had a few cases in which an insurance company says that marriage counseling is covered, but then denies the claim because of the V-code. But then we've also had one instance in which the insurance company said marriage counseling is not covered, but then paid the claims. This made me wonder if maybe we were missing something.

It's actually not that you are being misled. As someone who's worked quite a few years on the carrier side it goes like this.. always remember "medical necessity" so if you have a couple seeing a therapist for routine marital problems it's not going to be covered, if you however have a carrier that pays for marriage counseling and the couple presents with one or both problems that relate to the marriage, then it's covered.   Again, this is why an insurance carrier will never tell you that the following services are covered for the following diagnosis.. it's to prevent fraud/abuse. Coding is done based on the couple/patient's presented, not what the carrier will or will not pay for.     A good example is that most therapists will see a couple but they will also be seeing one or both individually, and that also determines under which patient the claim is processed as well so it stands to reason there needs to be an underlying presented illness for it to be covered.  I know.. but ya gotta dot the i's and cross the t's. :)