CMS Revises Codes for Hearing Devices

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Changes go into effect on January 1

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published significant revisions to the family of codes for reporting contralateral routing hearing devices, commonly known as CROS/BiCROS hearing devices, effective January 1, 2019.

The changes are an attempt to more accurately describe current hearing aid technology used to treat patients with single sided deafness or patients with some degree of hearing loss in one ear and an unaidable hearing loss in the other.

CROS/BiCROS codes were originally created in the 1980s for dedicated systems. Advancements in hearing aid technology now allow contralateral routing devices to be configured for a wide range of clinical applications and do not require dedicated systems. As such, the current codes do not clearly describe to payers that the patient is receiving two devices (one hearing aid and one contralateral routing device) regardless of degree of loss in the better ear.

The original code change proposal application submitted to CMS was a collaborative effort among the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology (ARA), and Educational Audiology Association (EAA),.

According to ASHA, these codes should be used to report current contralateral routing technology. Use the monaural codes to report one contralateral routing device. Use the binaural codes to report one hearing aid and one contralateral routing device.

V5171 Hearing aid, contralateral routing device, monaural, in the ear (ite)
V5172 Hearing aid, contralateral routing device, monaural, in the canal (itc)
V5181 Hearing aid, contralateral routing device, monaural, behind the ear (bte)
V5211 Hearing aid, contralateral routing system, binaural, ite/ite
V5212 Hearing aid, contralateral routing system, binaural, ite/itc
V5213 Hearing aid, contralateral routing system, binaural, ite/bte
V5214 Hearing aid, contralateral routing system, binaural, itc/itc
V5215 Hearing aid, contralateral routing system, binaural, itc/bte
V5221 Hearing aid, contralateral routing system, binaural, bte/bte

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Rob Senior
Rob Senior

Rob has 15 years of experience writing and editing for healthcare. He previously worked for ADVANCE from 2002 to 2012.

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