Under some circumstances, the individual skills of two or more surgeons are required to perform surgery on the same patient during the same operative session. This may be required because of the complex nature of the procedure(s) and/or the patient’s condition. In these cases, the additional physicians are not acting as assistants-at-surgery.
B. Billing Instructions
The following billing procedures apply when billing for a surgical procedure or procedures that required the use of two surgeons or a team of surgeons:
• If two surgeons (each in a different specialty) are required to perform a specific procedure, each surgeon bills for the procedure with a modifier “-62.” Co-surgery also refers to surgical procedures involving two surgeons performing the parts of the procedure simultaneously, i.e., heart transplant or bilateral knee replacements.
Documentation of the medical necessity for two surgeons is required for certain services identified in the MFSDB. (See §40.8.C.5.);
• If a team of surgeons (more than 2 surgeons of different specialties) is required to perform a specific procedure, each surgeon bills for the procedure with a modifier
“-66.” Field 25 of the MFSDB identifies certain services submitted with a “-66” modifier which must be sufficiently documented to establish that a team was medically necessary. All claims for team surgeons must contain sufficient information to allow pricing “by report.”
• If surgeons of different specialties are each performing a different procedure (with specific CPT codes), neither co-surgery nor multiple surgery rules apply (even if the procedures are performed through the same incision). If one of the surgeons performs multiple procedures, the multiple procedure rules apply to that surgeon’s services. (See §40.6 for multiple surgery payment rules.)
C. Claims Processing System Requirements
Carriers must be able to:
1. Identify a surgical procedure performed by two surgeons or a team of surgeons by the presence on the claim form or electronic submission of the “-62” or “-66” modifier;
2. Access Field 34 or 35 of the MFSDB to determine the fee schedule payment amount for the surgery;
3. Access Field 24 or 25, as appropriate, of the MFSDB. These fields provide guidance on whether two or team surgeons are generally required for the surgical procedure;
4. If the surgery is billed with a “-62” or “-66” modifier and Field 24 or 25 contains an indicator of “0,” payment adjustment rules for two or team surgeons do not apply:
• Carriers pay the first bill submitted, and base payment on the lower of the billed amount or 100 percent of the fee schedule amount (Field 34 or 35) unless other payment adjustment rules apply;
• Carriers deny bills received subsequently from other physicians and use the appropriate MSN message in §§40.8.D. As these are medical necessity denials, the instructions in the Program Integrity Manual regarding denial of unassigned claims for medical necessity are applied;
5. If the surgery is billed with a “-62” modifier and Field 24 contains an indicator of “1,” suspend the claim for manual review of any documentation submitted with the claim. If the documentation supports the need for co-surgeons, base payment for each physician on the lower of the billed amount or 62.5 percent of the fee schedule amount (Field 34 or 35);
6. If the surgery is billed with a “-62” modifier and Field 24 contains an indicator of “2,” payment rules for two surgeons apply. Carriers base payment for each physician on the lower of the billed amount or 62.5 percent of the fee schedule amount (Field 34 or 35);
7. If the surgery is billed with a “-66” modifier and Field 25 contains an indicator of “1,” carriers suspend the claim for manual review. If carriers determine that team surgeons were medically necessary, each physician is paid on a “by report” basis;
8. If the surgery is billed with a “-66” modifier and Field 25 contains an indicator of “2,” carriers pay “by report”;
NOTE: A Medicare fee may have been established for some surgical procedures that are billed with the “-66” modifier. In these cases, all physicians on the team must agree on the percentage of the Medicare payment amount each is to receive. If carriers receive a bill with a “-66” modifier after carriers have paid one surgeon the full Medicare payment amount (on a bill without the modifier), deny the subsequent claim.
9. Apply the rules global surgical packages to each of the physicians participating in a co- or team surgery; and
10. Retain the “-62” and “-66” modifiers in history for any co- or team surgeries.