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CDT 2021 guide, companion, app ready for pre-order

Kit includes code additions in response to COVID-19 pandemic

July 27, 2020

By David Burger

CDT code resized 

The CDT 2021 and Coding Companion Kit with the CDT 2021 App is expected to ship Sept. 8 from the ADA Catalog and delivers the latest additions and changes to the CDT Code — critical information for patient record keeping as well as being reimbursed quickly and avoiding rejected claims as dental offices are opening up again.

The new codes become effective Jan. 1, 2021.

The Code Maintenance Committee, established by the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs to evaluate and approve or deny code changes, has been adept this year, meeting twice to address an urgent need prompted by COVID-19.

In April, one month after its scheduled annual meeting, the Code Maintenance Committee met again (virtually) in a special session to address the ADA’s request for new codes to document pathogen testing procedures as a result of the pandemic.

The committee decided to add the following procedure codes to CDT 2021:
• D0604 — antigen testing for a public health related pathogen, including coronavirus.
• D0605 — antibody testing for a public health related pathogen, including coronavirus.

“The Code Maintenance Committee accepted a number of change requests this year that included codes that more clearly describe services being delivered today,” said Dr. Randall Markarian, chair of the Code Maintenance Committee and ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs.

Other coding and billing guidance on teledentistry and personal protective equipment is available at ADA.org/virus. Note: There is no unique CDT code for PPE, and when necessary, “D1999 — unspecified preventive procedure, by report” could be used for documentation.

Annual convening highlights
The Code Maintenance Committee met in person on March 12 at ADA Headquarters in Chicago to discuss changes that will become effective Jan. 1.

Among the several maintenance requests accepted during that session, nine new diagnostic imaging codes were added for radiographic and photographic image capture-only procedures, where image capture and interpretation are separate procedures and the patient location (image capture) and the dentist location (image interpretation) are not the same. Image capture-only procedures could occur in a teledentistry encounter or in circumstances where image capture involves a dedicated imaging facility (e.g., for cone beam computed tomography, MRI). The captured images are forwarded to a dentist for interpretation, a separate procedure with its own CDT code: “D0391 — interpretation of diagnostic image by a practitioner not associated by capture of the image, including report.”

Other code additions approved at the March 12 meeting include preventive procedures such as vaping counseling, implant procedures and oral surgery procedures.

Coding help
The ADA Practice Institute’s Center for Dental Benefits Coding and Quality is preparing online coding guidance publications for several new and continuing codes, which will be available for no-cost download on its Coding Education web page.

The two guides already developed address documenting and reporting the new “image capture-only” codes (D0701 through D0709) in the diagnostics category of service, and the new code “D1355 — caries preventive medicament application – per tooth” in the preventive category.

Work is also underway on other new guidance publications as well as revisions to some current guides to reflect CDT 2021 changes.

In addition, the CDT 2021 Coding Companion: Training Guide for the Dental Team is for staff who code. Inside, dental teams will find more than 200 frequently asked coding questions and their answers, more than 140 coding scenarios, and the most common coding terminology.

Lastly, the CDT 2021 App for computers and iOS and Android devices enables instant searching by code, category or keyword.

Code changes in all for CDT 2021 include 28 new codes, seven revised codes, four deleted codes and 22 editorial actions, which clarify without changing the coded procedure’s purpose or scope.

To pre-order the kit, visit ADAcatalog.org or email msc@ada.org. Get free shipping on all ADA Catalog products by using promo code 20113 by Oct. 9. (Please do not include payment details in email.)