Date ArticleType
12/11/2018 Insights

Important Changes And Opportunities With CDT Dental Coding 2019

Important Changes And Opportunities With CDT Dental Coding 2019
by Patti DiGangi, BS, RDH

Most health-care providers take a CPR class every two years to maintain their certification, and it seems like something changes every time they take the class. This is similar to the world of CDT coding. It feels like every time you think you finally understand all of the codes, something changes.

This is true for both CPR and CDT, and changes are the reason dental professionals need to stay up-to-date with their training. Unlike CPR, update training should not be every two years with coding, but rather every year because CDT codes are now updated annually, and have been since 2012.

Anyone can submit for a coding change

The Code Maintenance Committee (CMC) meets every year to discuss submissions for new and revised codes. Anyone can submit for a change, and these request may be submitted at any time. The date a request is received determines the CDT code version that may incorporate the requested action.

Each year, the committee receives 75 to 100 submissions. If all paperwork and supportive documentation is in order, submissions are then heard by the CMC. On average, 25% to 30% of the submissions pass and go into the next version of CDT. This is what happened and led to the CDT 2019 updates.

Types of changes

Creating codes to embrace new technologies, materials, and procedures can lead to earlier intervention and prevention of oral disease, and positively influence systemic health. There were a variety of actions for 2019. Not all need to be discussed in this article, though all should be included in your office training session. Here are a few highlights of the 2019 coding updates:

Diabetes screening

D0411–HbA1c in-office point-of-service testing was recently added to CDT 2018. This code reflects the increasing role dental health professionals can play beyond a patient's oral care and within overall systemic health. The code relates to an in-office measure of hemoglobin HbA1c, a blood test that provides information about a person's average circulating blood sugar levels during the previous three months.

A related new code is D0412 blood glucose level test–in-office using a glucose meter. With diabetes the most common chronic disease, knowing a patient’s HbA1c level is important. Learning the current status prior to a complex procedure may be an important indication that a procedure should not move forward. For example, a high level of glucose could lead to delayed healing and other complications following an invasive procedure.

Read full article on Dentistry iQ.