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Medical Billing News -AMA Eliminates Modifier Hyphen

Medical Billing News -AMA Eliminates Modifier Hyphen

You may have noticed in recent coding alerts that there is no hyphen included before a modifier. The AMA has done away with using hyphens before modifiers. This change occurs in CPT’s coding manuals and CPT assistant as well.

The AMA used the hyphen as a formatting convention in order to ensure that people realized that an upcoming number was a modifier. The symbol avoided numerical confusion as well. The hyphen would alert a reader that the last two digits, such as “-25” were not a part of the CPT code. This should not be a huge change, since most people are most likely used to looking at modifiers without a hyphen in place on claim forms. Hyphens have never mattered for charge entry.

On a CMS-1500 written claim or electronic claim, you will enter the five-digit CPT code, and the modifier will be entered in a separate place. Now that method will be mirrored on written forms as well. Coding Institute publications will maintain the hyphen when designating a modifier appended CPT code though.

Many may think that written correspondence should reflect the newer streamlined modifier look. Experts do not advocate changing your modifier style though. It is not necessary to eliminate the hyphen in appeal letters. The hyphen shows the reader that you did not omit any digits from a code on the letter. Since insurers tend to ignore modifiers, maintaining the hyphen, which emphasizes the modifier, in your written correspondences is a good idea. This new change should not affect anyone adversely.

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