College of American Pathologists

  Your CPT Questions


Reprinted from June 2001 CAP TODAY

Q: Code 84165, electrophoretic fractionation and quantification, appears in the CPT book as an indented code under 84155, Protein; total, except refractometry. Does this mean code 84165 includes total protein?

A: Code 84165 does not include total protein (84155). The common portion of the code descriptor always precedes the semicolon. The phrase “total, except refractometry,” therefore, does not apply to the service described by code 84165.

Because fractionation refers to the separation of the fractions and quantitation refers to the calculation of the percentage of each fraction, it would be appropriate to submit both codes if total protein and electrophoretic fractionation and quantification were performed.

Q: Many cultures grow organisms for which the initial evaluation for presumptive identification cannot differentiate between pathogenic and non pathogenic organisms. Can we use 87077, Culture, bacterial; aerobic isolate, additional methods required for definitive identification, each isolate, to report the additional studies needed to make this distinction if the organisms are identified as non pathogenic and we do not report the specific species identified?

A: Yes. Code 87077 is used to report that definitive identification procedures were preformed. The service is therefore reportable even when the suspected pathogen turns out to be a non-pathogen.

Frequently asked questions about CPT are published bimonthly in “Capitol Scan.” This addition to CAP TODAY is a product of the CAP Economic Affairs Committee.

The codes and descriptions listed here are from Current Procedural Terminology, a copyrighted publication of the American Medical Association. To purchase CPT books, call the AMA at (800) 621-8335.