Patient Controlled Analgesia
Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) services are reimbursable when they are
administered by an anesthesiologist and are performed for the control of postoperative
pain. A separately identifiable physician-recipient encounter should
be reflected in the medical record documentation. PCA pumps are usually
administered through an intravenous (IV) line or the PCA pump is connected
to an epidural catheter line.
Daily management of a PCA pump through an IV line is disallowed. When an
anesthesiologist provides the management of the PCA pump through an IV
line, the anesthesiologist will be allowed a total of four units and will be
considered a global payment for the management regardless of the number of
days the recipient remains on the pump. Use procedure code 90784 for daily
hospital management of intravenous patient-controlled analgesia.
The anesthesiologist should use the appropriate procedure code(s) when
filing claims for a single injection or for an injection including catheter
placement (epidural, subarachnoid, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or sacral) when
the PCA pump is connected to an epidural line. Placement of the epidural
catheter and daily management of a subarachnoid or epidural catheter is not
reimbursable on the same date of service. Daily management of a
subarachnoid or epidural catheter is reimbursable on subsequent days.
Delivery of pain medication through intermittent injections, a regular infusion,
or by a PCA pump is included in the management of an epidural line whether
a registered nurse or a physician administers it. Additional units for a PCA
pump that is connected to an epidural line is not separately reimbursable.
The global surgical reimbursement fee to the surgeon includes the
management of a PCA pump for post-operative pain control and is not a
separately reimbursable item. Similarly, a physician’s global medical service
reimbursement includes the management of a PCA pump for recipients with
chronic pain control or terminal cancer and is not separately reimbursable.