Reprinted from December 2001 CAP TODAY
Q: Is code 83912, Molecular diagnostics; interpretation and report,
used for each DNA or RNA probe interpretation?
A: Code 83912 should be used once for each patient study after
all the data are collected. It should not be used per procedure in an
Q: I was told that in October the Food and Drug Administration approved
the AutoCyte Prep System for thin-layer slide preparations on the AutoPap
Primary Screening System. Should I use code 88147 or 88142 for this?
A: The AutoCyte Prep System is an automated thin-layer cytology
sample preparation that produces specimen slides with a homogeneous, thin-layer
of cervical cells. The AutoPap Primary Screening System is a fully automated
device for primary screening of Pap smear slides. The AutoPap Primary
Screening System was originally approved for the primary screening of
conventional Pap smears, but the FDA has recently approved the device
for primary screening of AutoCyte Prep System thin-layer slide preparations
The language of code 88147, Cytopathology smears, cervical or vaginal;
screening by automated system under physician supervision, indicates
that it is used for automated primary screening of conventional Pap smears,
not thin-layer preparations. Codes in the 88147 family therefore are inappropriate
for primary automated screening of thin-layer preparations.
Codes in the 88142 family, Cytopathology, cervical or vaginal (any
reporting system), collected in preservative fluid, automated thin layer
preparation..., are also inappropriate because although they describe
thin-layer preparation, they do not include a specific code for primary
screening by an automated system. Thus, until a new code describing primary
automated screening of thin-layer preparation of cervical or vaginal cytology
is available, code 88199, Unlisted cytopathology procedure, must
Frequently asked questions about CPT are published bimonthly in “Capitol
Scan.” This addition to CAP TODAY is a product of the CAP Economic
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.