TB Skin Test Coding

May 1, 2006

How can we bill for reading a tuberculosis skin test? We have two references that seem to disagree. One states that when the test is ordered by a physician, we can code 86580/86585 for administering the test, and then code 99211 for the reading by an RN. Another source states that reading the test is included in procedure codes 86580 and 86585.

Question: How can we bill for reading a tuberculosis skin test? We have two references that seem to disagree. One states that when the test is ordered by a physician, we can code 86580/86585 for administering the test, and then code 99211 for the reading by an RN. Another source states that reading the test is included in procedure codes 86580 and 86585.

Answer: Emily Hill says 86585 is no longer a valid code. Use 86580 instead. The codes in the laboratory section of CPT include reporting test findings. Therefore, reading the test isn't typically reported separately. However, if you spend significant time with a patient reviewing the results or providing instruction, it would be appropriate to report those activities using an E&M code; you would select the level of E&M codes based on the E&M coding requirements.