what is CMS and HCPCS

CMS stands for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It used to be called HCFA, which stood for Health Care Financing Administration. Medicare is the health plan. We sometimes use the terms interchangeably when we are referring to the institutions (Medicare says this, CMS states that HCFA and so and so


The Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), maintained by CMS, contains additional codes that are needed. CPT does not contain all of the codes that physicians and others need to report their services. For example, it does not list equipment, supplies, or most injections. HCPCS lists a few physician services that are unique to Medicare, such as a code for venous mapping. 

HCPCS is available from the American Medical Association and commercial sources. HCPCS is also available on the CMS Web site at , cms.hhs.gov. but the file is very large. 

Technically, HCPCS includes CPT, but the two systems are maintained and made available for purchase separately.

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