Jumpstart CPT® 2019 Radiology Prep With Editorial Panel Sneak Peek

CPT® 2019 radiology codes will be available for review soon, but you can get hints of what’s to come if you know where to look. The CPT® Editorial Panel’s summary documents give a glimpse of what’s been proposed and what’s been accepted, and the ACR has helped narrow the list to those most important to radiology.

Here are a few radiology services to keep on your radar when CPT® 2019 update time rolls around.

  • PICC: Watch for new codes that represent PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) insertion without subcutaneous port or pump. You’ll likely see new guidelines to help with proper reporting of these codes. Be sure to check 36584 (complete PICC replacement) to see if a plan to revise the code descriptor to include imaging services goes through.
  • Elastography: If you perform ultrasound elastography, currently reported with Cat. III code +0346T, watch for new Cat. I options. There also may be a new code for magnetic resonance elastography. Elastography assesses stiffness of tissue.
  • FNA: Be ready for fine needle aspiration (FNA) options to expand. Stay alert for whether the new codes include radiological supervision and interpretation.
  • Knee arthrography injection: Before reporting injection of contrast for knee arthrography in 2019, check to see whether there’s been a change to help increase accuracy of reporting.
  • Breast CAD: Expect to see breast MRI with CAD move from Category III to Category I.
  • Urinary tract dilation: Expect the deletion of 50395 (Introduction of guide into renal pelvis and/or ureter with dilation to establish nephrostomy tract, percutaneous). The September 2017 Panel Summary indicates two new codes for percutaneous services will replace 50395.
  • Vein ablation: You already can check for the Category III codes that will be effective Jan. 1, 2019. Don’t miss 0524T (Endovenous catheter directed chemical ablation with balloon isolation of incompetent extremity vein, open or percutaneous, including all vascular access, catheter manipulation, diagnostic imaging, imaging guidance and monitoring).

Tip: If you really love a head start, watch for Panel actions related to Jan. 1, 2020, like planned changes to GI tract imaging and myocardial PET. You’ll find those in the May 2018 Summary.

Remember: Those 2020 revisions and even the ones listed as planned for 2019 may change before the code set is official. Your final code update preparation should be based on the final, official AMA CPT® code set.

What About You?

Do you think these changes will make reporting radiology services easier? Are there any changes you’re hoping to see that aren’t mentioned here?


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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