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The Top 18+ CPT Codes Used by Mental Health Professionals 

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Navigating the billing world in mental health practice can be challenging, especially when understanding and utilizing Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. These codes are required for documenting the types of services provided to clients and for ensuring accurate reimbursement from insurance companies. Looking for an easy list of CPT codes? This blog gives an overview of the top 20 CPT codes that mental health professionals use, helping you streamline your billing process. 

What is a CPT Code? 

A CPT code is a five-digit numeric code used by healthcare professionals to describe medical, surgical, and diagnostic services. Developed by the American Medical Association (AMA), these codes standardize the reporting and billing of medical services and procedures to ensure consistency and accuracy across the healthcare industry. 

Understanding CPT Codes: 

  • Structure: Each CPT code consists of five digits. These codes are divided into three categories depending on the type of service. 
  • Usage: CPT codes are used in medical documentation, billing, and insurance claims. They provide a uniform language for describing medical services and procedures, facilitating communication among healthcare providers, patients, and insurers. 

Why Are CPT Codes Important? 

CPT codes play a vital role in the healthcare system for several reasons: 

  1. Billing and Reimbursement: 
  • Accuracy: CPT codes ensure that healthcare providers are accurately compensated for their services. Each code corresponds to a specific service or procedure, eliminating ambiguity in billing. 
  • Claims Processing: Insurance companies rely on CPT codes to process claims efficiently. Correct coding reduces the likelihood of claim denials and delays in reimbursement. 
  1. Record Keeping: 
  • Standardization: CPT codes standardize medical documentation, making it easier to track patient care over time. 
  • Compliance: Accurate coding ensures compliance with healthcare regulations and standards, minimizing the risk of audits and penalties. 
  1. Communication: 
  • Clarity: CPT codes provide a clear and concise way to describe medical services, facilitating communication among healthcare providers, insurers, and patients. 
  • Data Sharing: Standardized codes enable seamless data sharing and analysis, contributing to better patient care and healthcare outcomes. 

CPT Codes for Mental Health Professionals 

CPT Codes for Psychotherapists 

  1. 90791 — Psychiatric Diagnostic Evaluation: Used for an initial diagnostic evaluation without medical services.  
  1. 90832 Psychotherapy, 30 minutes: This code is used for a 30-minute psychotherapy session with a patient. 
  1. 90834 Psychotherapy, 45 minutes: Commonly used for a standard 45-minute therapy session. 
  1. 90837 Psychotherapy, 60 minutes: This code applies to a full hour of psychotherapy. 
  1. 096101 Psychological Testing (by psychologist or physician): Used for psychological testing services provided by a psychologist or physician. 
  1. 96130 Psychological Testing Evaluation Services: Applied for the first hour of psychological testing evaluation. 
  1. 96136 Psychological or Neuropsychological Test Administration and Scoring: Used for the administration and scoring of psychological tests per hour. 
  1. 96160 Health Risk Assessment: For administering health risk assessments. 
  1. 96127 Brief Emotional/Behavioral Assessment: Used for brief assessments to identify emotional or behavioral issues. 
  1. 96138 Psychological or Neuropsychological Test Administration: Applied per hour for the administration and scoring of neuropsychological tests. 
  1. 99354 Prolonged Service in the Office or Other Outpatient Setting: Used for an additional 30 minutes provided beyond the maximum service time (i.e., 90837 for psychotherapy). 
  1. 99355 Prolonged Service in the Office or Other Outpatient Setting: This is an add-on code used in conjunction with 99354 for each additional 30 minutes. 
  1. 90846 Family Psychotherapy (without the patient present): Used when providing therapy to family members without the identified patient. 
  1. 90847 Family Psychotherapy (with the patient present): For sessions involving both the patient and their family. 
  1. 90853 Group Psychotherapy: This code is for group therapy sessions. 

CPT Codes for Prescribing Practitioners 

  1. 90792 Psychiatric Diagnostic Evaluation with Medical Services: Includes a medical assessment along with the psychiatric evaluation. Medical practitioners (MDs/NPs) can also use E&M (evaluation & management) codes for initial assessments:  99202, 99203, 99204, 99205) 
  1. Follow up evaluation & management (E&M) codes 
  • 99212 — Established patient office or other outpatient visit, simple complexity and/or 10-19 minutes  
  • 99213 — Established patient office or other outpatient visit, low complexity and/or 20-29 minutes 
  • 99214 — Established patient office or other outpatient visit, moderate complexity and/or 30-39 minutes 
  •  99215 Established patient office or other outpatient visit, high complexity and/or 40-54 minutes 
  1. Psychotherapy add-on codes (codes most commonly added to 99212 & 99213) 
  • 90833 Psychotherapy 30 minute: Add-on code, typically used by MDs/NPs along with CPT codes 99212, 99213 
  • 90836 Psychotherapy 45 minute (add-on code, typically used by MDs/NPs along with CPT codes 99212, 99213) 
  • 90838 Psychotherapy 60 minute (add-on code, typically used by MDs/NPs along with CPT codes 99212, 99213) 
  1. Extended service add-on code 
  • 99417 Prolonged Service With or Without Direct Patient Contact on the Date of an Evaluation and Management Service: This add-on code is for use by medical practitioners (MDs/NPs) when exceeding the length of the highest-level E&M service code (either 99215 or 99205). Each unit is 15 additional minutes; therefore, this code can be billed in multiple units. 

Here’s some additional coding advice for psychiatric professionals. 

How to Perform a CPT Code Lookup 

Performing a CPT code lookup is essential for ensuring that you’re using the correct codes for your billing. There are several resources available for this purpose: 

  • AMA’s CPT Codebook: The official resource for CPT codes. 
  • Online CPT Code Lookup Tools: Many websites offer free or subscription-based lookup tools. 
  • Insurance Company Websites: Some insurers provide CPT code lookup tools specific to their requirements. 

This list of CPT codes can serve as a quick reference to help you navigate the complexities of medical billing. Always ensure to perform a CPT code lookup to confirm that you are using the most accurate and up-to-date codes for your services. 

By familiarizing yourself with these commonly used CPT codes, you can streamline your billing process, reduce errors, and ensure timely reimbursement for your services. 

Disclaimer: Coding information is provided for informal reference purposes only and specific coding strategies should be confirmed by a certified professional coder.


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