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New name for code committee

December 10, 2012

By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News staff

Dr. Richeson
The group charged with maintaining the CDT Code has a new name but its responsibilities remain as important as ever.

The Council on Dental Benefit Programs changed the Code Advisory Committee's name to the Code Maintenance Committee during its Nov. 16-17 meeting at ADA Headquarters.

“The name change is to clarify that the council authorized this committee to decide which CDT Code change requests should be accepted or declined,” said Dr. James Richeson, CMC chair. “This action arose from Code Advisory Committee member feedback that the name did not accurately reflect the committee's responsibilities.”

The CMC is a 21-member group that studies, discusses and decides on all changes to the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature. It's a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of representatives from the ADA, third-party payers, specialty and general dentistry organizations, and dental education.

The purpose of the CDT Code is to achieve uniformity, consistency and specificity in accurately reporting dental treatment by dentists. One use of the CDT Code is to provide for the efficient processing of dental claims and another is to populate electronic health records. In federal regulations published under authority of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the CDT Code is named as the sole standard for reporting dental procedures on electronic claims and the ADA is recognized as the owner responsible for its annual review and maintenance.

Previously, the Code was updated every two years but since the formation of the CAC earlier this year and now the CMC, codes will be reviewed, added and revised annually.

“One complaint regarding the Code maintenance process was that the Code was not responsive to the evolving needs of dentistry and that the profession would be better served if necessary changes were not delayed by two years,” Dr. Richeson said. “The equivalent sets of codes in medicine are revised at least every year.”

The CMC will next meet Feb. 28-March 2 to review the 90 change requests submitted. Change requests can come from anyone but they typically come from dental specialty organizations, the ADA, individual dentists and third-party payers.

The inventory of requests on the CMC meeting agenda will be available for download at by Dec. 15. To download a blank change request form.

The first day of the CMC meeting is open to the public and those who submitted change requests, and other interested parties are encouraged to express their views on the proposed changes. The remaining two days are for CMC members to deliberate and take action on all requested changes and any other business. The sessions are open to any interested observers.