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Foot vs. Ankle MRI


Question

When our physicians order a foot MRI, our Rad department is charging CPT#73721.   The explanation given by the rad department is as follows:  "When a patient is positioned for MRI of foot &/or ankle, the positioning is the same, the images and sequences are the same.  The CPT billing code is the same and defined as:  MRI lower ext. joint (any) without contrast.  73721.  The radiologist describes both ankle & foot tendons and ligaments within the body of the report." 

 

The index in the CPT book for "MRI, foot" takes me to CPT#73718.   Is it appropriate for the radiology department to have a written order from the physician stating "MRI, foot" and to be charging CPT#73721?


Answer


If the radiology department is going to change the exam, then the ordering physician should be asked to revise the order.  If the order is for a foot MRI, then the correct CPT code is 73718.  Even though your radiology department does the exam in the same method, there may be payers who pay differently based on the CPT code.  They may also be medical necessity issues that are different for the different CPT codes.


Disclaimer: All articles intended for general guidance only and not as a recommendation for a specific situation. Readers should consult an official source (AHA, AMA, etc.) or a qualified attorney for specific legal guidance.

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