3 Fast Tips to Improve Nerve Conduction Study Coding

nerve conduction study CPT coding

Clinicians use nerve conduction studies (NCS) to assess peripheral nerve function. Here are three pointers that are essential to accurate NCS coding.

1. Know Where to Find NCS Codes

Let’s start simple. You can’t report nerve conduction studies if you don’t know where to find the codes, so here they are. You choose the correct code based on the number of studies. (More on that in the next section.)

  • 95907 (Nerve conduction studies; 1-2 studies)
  • 95908 (… 3-4 studies)
  • 95909 (… 5-6 studies)
  • 95910 (… 7-8 studies)
  • 95911 (… 9-10 studies)
  • 95912 (… 11-12 studies)
  • 95913 (… 13 or more studies).

2. Get a Study-Counting Example

As you saw in the first section, knowing how to count nerve conduction studies is the key to choosing the correct code. CPT® guidelines define a single conduction study as “a sensory conduction test, a motor conduction test with or without an F wave test, or an H-reflex test.”

For counting purposes, each type of study is a distinct study. If during a single study, the provider performs stimulation or recording of multiple sites on a single nerve, you should still count that as a single study, the guidelines state.

Example: To report an ulnar motor NCS with recording from the abductor digiti minimi and the first dorsal interosseous, you should report 95907. That example may not seem especially helpful when you’re learning how to count studies because 95907 may represent either one or two studies. But here’s the helpful part: The encounter described represents two separate studies, according to CPT® Assistant (December 2017). The CPT® manual (Appendix J) lists each as a separate nerve.

3. Add on EMGs When Performed

A claim that contains both NCS and electromyography (EMG) is likely an electrodiagnostic (EDX) test. You may report the individual tests involved by using the NCS code as a primary code and then using one of the following add-on codes for the EMG

  • +95885 (Needle electromyography, each extremity, with related paraspinal areas, when performed, done with nerve conduction, amplitude and latency/velocity study; limited …)
  • +95886 (… complete, five or more muscles studied, innervated by three or more nerves or four or more spinal levels …)
  • +95887 (Needle electromyography, non-extremity [cranial nerve supplied or axial] muscle[s] done with nerve conduction, amplitude and latency/velocity study …).

Remember: Because these EMG codes are add-on codes, you need to report them with the primary NCS code. If you see a rare case where the NCS and EMG services are on different dates, check with the payer on coverage. There may be limited situations where the payer will cover the testing on different dates. Checking payer policies is a good idea in any case so you can see which neurology diagnoses support coverage for testing.

What About You?

Do you report NCS studies? What tips do you have on how to count the studies? Have you seen NCS and EMG services on different dates?

 

About 

Deborah works on a wide range of TCI SuperCoder projects, researching and writing about coding, as well as assisting with data updates and tool development for our online coding solutions. Since joining TCI in 2004, she’s covered the ins and outs of coding for radiology, cardiology, oncology and hematology, orthopedics, audiology, and more.

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