Cracking the Code

Reporting Ultrasound Guidance for Vascular Access

Physicians often use ultrasound guidance to locate and enter the access vessel when completing interventional radiology (IVR) services. There is specific information that must be included in the physician’s documentation to support the reporting of this CPT code. To report CPT 76937, each of the following criteria MUST be met: 1) ultrasound evaluation of possible access sites, 2) patency of the selected vessel selected for the access site, 3) real-time visualization of the vascular entry, 4) documentation of the localization process, and 5) permanent images recorded of the selected vessel.

Sequencing order is important as well. Ultrasound guidance codes are reported in addition to the primary procedure code. It is extremely important for coders to verify that documentation fully supports CPT 76937 to ensure the process of a good, clean claim and avoid unnecessary denials. When documentation is unclear, please query the physician for clarification.

Q: The right common femoral artery was evaluated with ultrasound. It is patent, and images were obtained. The artery was accessed using ultrasound guidance and a micropuncture kit.
A: CPT 76937, Ultrasound guidance for vascular access requiring ultrasound evaluation of potential access sites, documentation of selected vessel patency, concurrent real-time ultrasound visualization of vascular needle entry, with permanent recording and reporting (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure)
Reference: AHA Coding Clinic for HCPCS Second Quarter 2019, page 1: CPT Code Update for Central Venous Catheter Procedures
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