2021 Dental CDT Code Changes Include New Image Capture Only Codes
The American Dental Association® (ADA) will add 28 new CDT codes effective January 1, 2021, along with seven (7) code revisions, four (4) code deletions and 22 editorial changes. The new CDT code additions for 2021 will include nine (9) new codes for image capture only.
Image Capture Only Codes and Impact for Practitioners
The new CDT codes for image capture only – D0701-D0709 – can be reported when a patient is referred to a separate imaging facility or practitioner to capture an image only. They are for radiographic and photographic image capture. The dentist continues to report the interpretation of imaging separately with existing codes. These codes should improve claims reporting whenever a dentist refers a patient to a different provider and later receives the images back for official interpretation. These new codes will allow the separate work components that comprise piecemeal imaging/interpretation encounters to be more precisely reportable by the performing providers involved. This should allow Dental payers to more clearly interpret and value these claims, and thus facilitate more accurate compensation of such encounters.
Teledentistry: Dental Care in the COVID Era
The American Teledentistry Association defines Teledentistry as “the use of electronic information, imaging and communication technologies, including interactive audio, video, data communications as well as store and forward technologies, to provide and support dental care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of dental information and education.” Teledentistry provides the means for a patient to receive services when they are in a different physical location than the dentist or other oral health or general health care practitioner overseeing the delivery of those services.
If an encounter is via teledentistry, the dentist performing diagnosis and treatment planning should also report the appropriate teledentistry CDT code(s) – D9995 or D9996 – in addition to appropriate image interpretation code(s). Coverage of codes D9995 and D9996 depends on payer. Remember that both the practitioner capturing the image(s) in the off-site setting and the dentist reviewing the images should document their teledentistry roles in the progress notes in the patient’s chart.
The new 2021 CDT “image capture only” codes – D0701-D0709 – should improve the teledentistry claims submission process in a service delivery mode that has increased significantly with the COVID-19 pandemic.