Rehab group submits first set of codes

Sunday, March 31, 2002

ALEXANDIA, Va. - AAHomecare's Re/hab and Assistive Technology Council (RATC) expected to submit its first round of HCPCS descriptors and definitions for rehab products by the first of this month.

Even though the deadline for the healthcare industry to transition completely to HCPCS codes has been extended to Oct. 16, 2003, the council agreed at the AAHomecare Leadership Conference in February to submit about 30 new descriptors and definitions for pediatric mobility products and accessories by April 1.

"We don't want to have that feeling of security or of having extra time," said Rita Hostak, chairman of RATC, as well as its coding committee. "We just have too many products that need new codes for that to happen."

In fact, the council's task is so daunting that its goal is to continue submitting new HCPCS descriptors and definitions every 60 days from here on out, until its coding project is complete.

Hostak said the council took on pediatric mobility first because there are only local codes for those products and accessories - no national codes. RATC had been hearing from various state associations that rehab providers trying to get ahead a head start on HIPAA were having trouble cross-walking pediatric products and accessories into adult categories, she said.

"You think a wheelchair is a wheelchair but the two are dramatically different in design and function," Hostak said.

The pediatric mobility products the council was slated to submit were comprised mostly of tilt-and-space and growing wheelchairs. Accessories included the transit option, a tie-down system

Hostak said RATC's next major face-to-face meeting would be at the AAHomecare Legislative Conference in June.

RATC will not know whether its new descriptors and definitions are approved until Nov. 15. New codes go into effect Jan. 1, 2003.

Hostak said help for the coding project may still be on its way. The SADMERC is still considering helping RATC review code requests, but it has yet to secure additional funding, she said. HME