Coding and billing are important elements of physical therapy practice because the process ensures your payment and reimbursements are accurate.
When it comes to medical abbreviations, there is a very long list of them as it’s common in clinical practice to use acronyms for soap notes and so forth. Here are a few helpful resources for your physical therapy soap notes:
- Abbreviations for soap notes
- CMS provides a free acronym education guide
- Huge list of acronyms and abbreviations from CMS
However, in this article we’ll be providing a range of resources on Medicare approved physical therapy abbreviations, more specifically, the types of codes that influence reimbursement.
There are two types of basic codes to familiarize yourself with:
ICD-10 – diagnosis codes – this indicates your diagnosis to the payer.
Here are a few examples of ICD-10 codes:
- M54.5 – Low back pain
- M25.561 – Pain in right knee
- M25 . 511 – Pain in right shoulder
You can download a cheat sheet of physical therapy ICD-10 codes here. Or access this spreadsheet of ICD-10 codes.
CPT – treatment codes – this indicates the selected treatment and what the payer needs to pay you for.
The American Medical Association sets and maintains the CPT codes, which are 5 digit codes to indicate standard services provided by health practitioners across various fields.
Here are a few examples of physical therapy CPT codes (see more below):
- 97001 – Physical therapy evaluation
- 97002 – Physical therapy re-evaluation
- 97110 – Therapeutic exercises to develop strength and endurance, range of motion, and flexibility (15 minutes)
There are approximately 600 physical therapy CPT codes that can be billed out. Because the list of CPT codes is quite extensive, sharing an entire list here would not be possible. But you will find more resources below.
Here are another 7 commonly used physical therapy codes:
- 97140 – Manual therapy techniques (e.g., connective tissue massage, joint mobilization and manipulation, and manual traction) (15 minutes)
- 97010 – Hot or cold pack application
- 97014 – Electrical stimulation (unattended)
- 97035 – Ultrasound (15 minutes)
- 97032 – Electrical stimulation (manual) (15 minutes)
- 97116 – Gait training (includes stair climbing) (15 minutes)
- 97012 – Mechanical traction
Find a longer list of commonly used medicare approved physical therapy abbreviations here, here, and here.
Consult your Organization or Association
In most cases, the organization you work for will already know the standard CPT codes that therapists cover. If you’re unsure, speak to your supervisor for more information.
Your professional association can also be a great resource for discussing payment and reimbursement issues. And in providing lots of resources.
For example, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has a great list of helpful coding resources for you to explore and learn more about each aspect.
And for additional assistance you can contact APTA’s Payment Policy & Advocacy department at 800/999-2782, ext. 8511 or email them direct firstname.lastname@example.org.