College of American Pathologists

  Your CPT Questions


Reprinted from October 2001 CAP TODAY

Q: Sometimes I receive referral cases that include tissue blocks in addition to hematoxylin and eosin stained slides, a surgical pathology report and an accompanying letter from the referring pathologist. I use the blocks for immunohistochemistry, but I do not prepare additional routinely stained slides. What code(s) should I use?

A: Code 88321 (Consultation and report on referred slides prepared elsewhere) would appropriately capture the work involved in reviewing the prior surgical pathology report and previously prepared slides. Code 88342 (Immunocytochemistry (including tissue immunoperoxidase), each antibody) should be submitted times the number of stains performed. If you also receive additional medical records, (X-ray, history and physical, operative, etc.) a comprehensive consultation (88325) should be used in place of 88321.

Q: What code do you suggest for sinus mucosal strippings?

A: Unlike sinus biopsies or nasal/sinusoidal polyps, sinus mucosal strippings are not listed as a specimen type in CPT. The surgical pathology section of the CPT book says, “Any unlisted specimen should be assigned to the code which most closely reflects the physician work involved when compared to other specimens assigned to that code.” Code 88305 most accurately captures the work involved with these specimens.

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.