Re: Billing for FNA Adequacy
Steve....I have to admit, it has been awhile since I was in a hospital based environment, but I will share my experience from both the academic and private community setting. I confess, that in my academic situation, cytotechnologists essentially functioned as first line triage, by performing a rapid assessment of sample adequacy PRIOR to calling for the staff pathologist to come view the sample and render any additional information to the clinician. So, in that scenario, the 88172 would be utilized, and on final interpretation the 88173. I envision this is the scenario that CAP/AMA are referring to.
In the community hospital setting, I would think it is the exception, rather than the rule, that there are hospital based cytotechnologists even available to perform a rapid assessment, as the pathologist, in my experience, is performing this solo, unless we are talking about a rather large community hospital. Of course in that scenario, as you describe, they would be available. Again, in my experience, the cytotechnologist is not providing the interpretation of the rapid assessment, but helping prep the sample and calling the pathologist when an adequate sample is available for evaluation as a rapid assessment. I am hopeful someone else can provide some useful feedback on this topic. You raise a very good question.