Blood Samples Coding
In some cases, blood samples are required for testing purposes, and these specimens can be obtained directly from the implanted access device. This service may be reported using CPT code 36540 (Collection of blood specimen from a completely implantable venous access device). Due to a verbiage change in 2003, this code may only be used for blood samples obtained through a completed implanted venous access device. Implantable access devices are those items that are completely implanted (e.g., ports) and those catheters that are partially implanted (e.g., tunneled catheters). While samples may be obtained from both types of devices, only a sample obtained from a completely implanted device would be reported with this code. . Examples of these devices include, but are not limited to, Med-I-Port®, Port-a-Cath®, Infus-A-Port®, and P.A.S. Port®.
There are several key facts to bear in mind when assigning this code:
· This procedure is not reimbursed by Medicare; it is considered an incidental service by CMS.
· For collection of a venous blood specimen by venipuncture, code 36415 would be assigned (HCPCS code G0001 for Medicare patients).
· This code should not be used to report a port flush, unless a sample of blood is also collected for laboratory analysis, and the sample is obtained from a completely implanted device.
Cindy C. Parman, CPC, CPC-H
principal and co-founder of Coding Strategies, Inc. in Atlanta, GA. Cindy is a current member of the Advisory Board for the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and a faculty instructor for AMA Solutions, a subsidiary of the American Medical Association. She serves as the Consulting Editor of the Radiology Coding Alert and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of General Surgery Coding Alert and Pain Management Coding Alert.