Screening CPT Codes G0121, G0106, G0120

Screening Colonoscopies Performed on Individuals Not Meeting the Criteria for Being at High-Risk for Developing Colorectal Cancer (Code G0121)

Effective for services furnished on or after July 1, 2001, screening colonoscopies (code G0121) are covered when performed under the following conditions:

1. On individuals not meeting the criteria for being at high risk for developing colorectal cancer (refer to §280.2.3);

2. At a frequency of once every 10 years (i.e., at least 119 months have passed following the month in which the last covered G0121 screening colonoscopy was performed); and

3. If the individual would otherwise qualify to have covered a G0121 screening colonoscopy based on the above (see §§280.2.2.D.1 and 2) but has had a covered screening flexible sigmoidoscopy (code G0104), then the individual may have a covered G0121 screening colonoscopy only after at least 47 months have passed following the month in which the last covered G0104 flexible sigmoidoscopy was performed.

NOTE: If during the course of the screening colonoscopy, a lesion or growth is detected which results in a biopsy or removal of the growth, the appropriate diagnostic procedure classified as a colonoscopy with biopsy or removal should be billed and paid rather than code G0121

Screening Barium Enema Examinations (codes G0106 and G0120)

Screening barium enema examinations are covered as an alternative to either a screening sigmoidoscopy (code G0104) or a screening colonoscopy (code G0105) examination. The same frequency parameters for screening sigmoidoscopies and screening colonoscopies above apply.

In the case of an individual aged 50 or over, payment may be made for a screening barium enema examination (code G0106) performed after at least 47 months have passed following the month in which the last screening barium enema or screening flexible sigmoidoscopy was performed. For example, the beneficiary received a screening barium enema examination as an alternative to a screening flexible sigmoidoscopy in January 1999. The count starts beginning February 1999. The beneficiary is eligible for another screening barium enema in January 2003.

In the case of an individual who is at high risk for colorectal cancer, payment may be made for a screening barium enema examination (code G0120) performed after at least 23 months have passed following the month in which the last screening barium enema or the last screening colonoscopy was performed. For example, a beneficiary at high risk for developing colorectal cancer received a screening barium enema examination (code G0120) as an alternative to a screening colonoscopy (code G0105) in January 2000. The count starts beginning February 2000. The beneficiary is eligible for another screening barium enema examination (code G0120) in January 2002.

The screening barium enema must be ordered in writing after a determination that the test is the appropriate screening test. Generally, it is expected that this will be a screening double contrast enema unless the individual is unable to withstand such an exam. This means that in the case of a particular individual, the attending physician must determine that the estimated screening potential for the barium enema is equal to or greater than the screening potential that has been estimated for a screening flexible sigmoidoscopy, or for a screening colonoscopy, as appropriate, for the same individual. The screening single contrast barium enema also requires a written order from the beneficiary’s attending physician in the same manner as described above for the screening double contrast barium enema examination.

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