Health Behavior Assessment and Intervention Reimbursement Guidance: both Money and Preventive Care Opportunities on the Table

Health Behavior Assessment and/or Intervention (HBAI)

“Health and Behavior Assessment procedures are used to identify the psychological, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and social factors important to the prevention, treatment or management of physical health problems. The focus of the assessment is not on mental health but on the biopsychosocial factors important to physical health problems and treatments.” 1

Health and Behavior Intervention procedures are used to modify the psychological, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and social factors directly affecting the patient’s physiological functioning, health and well being, or specific disease-related problems.

Indications:

For dates of service prior to 01/01/2020, the Health and Behavioral Assessment, initial (CPT code 96150) and Reassessment (CPT code 96151), and Intervention services (CPT codes (96152-96153) may be considered reasonable and necessary for the patient who meets all of the following criteria:

For dates of service on or after 01/01/2020, the Health and Behavioral Assessment, initial and Reassessment should be reported with CPT code 96156, and Intervention services should be reported with CPT codes 96158, 96159, 96164, 96165.

  1. The patient has an underlying physical illness or injury, and
  2. There are indications that biopsychosocial factors may be significantly affecting the treatment or medical management of an illness or an injury, and
  3. The patient is alert, oriented and has the capacity to understand and to respond meaningfully during the face-to-face encounter, and
  4. The patient has a documented need for psychological evaluation or intervention to successfully manage his/her physical illness, and activities of daily living, and
  5. The assessment is not duplicative of other provider assessments

In addition, for a reassessment to be considered reasonable and necessary, there must be documentation that there has been a sufficient change in the mental or medical status warranting re-evaluation of the patient’s capacity to understand and cooperate with the medical interventions necessary to their health and well being.

Health and Behavioral Intervention, individual or group (2 or more patients) (CPT codes 96152-96153 (for dates of service prior to 01/01/2020) and CPT codes 96158, 96159, 96164, 96165 (for dates of service on or after 01/01/2020) require that:

  1. Specific psychological intervention(s) and patient outcome goal(s) have been clearly identified, and
  2. Psychological intervention is necessary to address:
    • Non-compliance with the medical treatment plan, or
    • The biopsychosocial factors associated with a new diagnosed physical illness, or an exacerbation of an established physical illness, when such factors affect symptom management and expression, health-promoting behaviors, health-related risk-taking behaviors, and overall adjustment to medical illness.

Health and Behavioral Intervention (with the family and patient present) (CPT codes 96154/96153 (for dates of service prior to 01/01/2020) and CPT codes 96167, 96168 (for dates of service on or after 01/01/2020) is considered reasonable and necessary for the patient who meets all of the following criteria:

  1. The family representative* directly participates in the overall care of the patient, and
  2. The psychological intervention with the patient and family is necessary to address biopsychosocial factors that affect compliance with the plan of care, symptom management, health-promoting behaviors, health-related risk-taking behaviors, and overall adjustment to medical illness.

*For the purpose of this policy, all references to a family representative is defined as immediate family members only (i.e., husband, wife, siblings, children, grandchildren, grandparents, mother, and father), any primary caregiver who provides care on a voluntary, uncompensated, regular and sustained basis, or a guardian or healthcare proxy.

Limitations:

Health and Behavioral Assessment/Intervention will not be considered reasonable and necessary for the patient who:

  1. Does not have an underlying physical illness or injury, or
  2. For whom there is no documented indication that a biopsychosocial factor may be significantly affecting the treatment, or medical management of an illness or injury (i.e., screening medical patient for psychological problems), or
  3. Does not have the capacity to understand and to respond meaningfully during the face to face encounter, because of:
    • Dementia that has produced a severe enough cognitive defect for the psychological intervention to be ineffective.
    • Delirium
    • Severe and profound mental retardation
    • Persistent vegetative state/no discernible consciousness,
    • Impaired mental status, e.g.,
      1. disorientation to person, time, place, purpose, or
      2. inability to recall current season, location of own room, names and faces, or
      3. inability to recall that he or she is in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility
      4. Does not require psychological support to successfully manage his/her physical illness through identification of the barriers to the management of physical disease and activities of daily living, or
      5. For whom the conditions noted under the indications portion of this section are not met.

Health and Behavioral Intervention with the family and patient present will not be considered reasonable and necessary for the patient if:

  1. It is not necessary to ensure patient compliance with the medical treatment plan, or
  2. The family representative does not directly participate in the plan of care, or
  3. The family representative is not present.
  4. There is no face to face encounter with the patient.

Because it does not represent a diagnostic or treatment service to the patient, there is no coverage for CPT code 96155. Effective for dates of service on or after 01/01/2020, CPT code 96155 has been deleted and replaced with CPT codes 96170, 96171.

Health and Behavioral Intervention services are not considered reasonable and necessary to:

  1. Update or educate the family about the patient’s condition
  2. Educate family members, primary care-givers, guardians, the health care proxy, or other members of the treatment team, e.g., health aides, nurses, physical or occupational therapists, home health aides, personal care attendants and co-workers about the patient’s care plan.
  3. Assist in treatment-planning with staff
  4. Provide family psychotherapy or mediation
  5. Educate diabetic patients and diabetic patients’ family members
  6. Deliver Medical Nutrition Therapy
  7. Maintain the patient’s or family’s existing health and overall well-being
  8. Provide personal, social, recreational, and general support services. Although such services may be valuable adjuncts to care, they are not medically necessary psychological interventions.

Examples of services not covered as health and behavioral interventions are:

  • Stress management for support staff
  • Replacement for expected nursing home staff functions
  • Music appreciation and relaxation
  • Craft skill training
  • Cooking classes
  • Comfort care services
  • Individual social activities
  • Teaching social interaction skills
  • Socialization in a group setting
  • Retraining cognition due to dementia
  • General conversation
  • Services directed toward making a more dynamic personality
  • Consciousness raising
  • Vocational or religious advice
  • General educational activities
  • Tobacco or caffeine withdrawal support
  • Visits for loneliness relief
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Games, including bingo games
  • Projects, including letter writing
  • Entertainment and diversionary activities
  • Excursions, including shopping outings, even when used to reduce a dysphoric state
  • Teaching grooming skills
  • Grooming services
  • Monitoring activities of daily living
  • Teaching the patient simple self-care
  • Teaching the patient to follow simple directives
  • Wheeling the patient around the facility
  • Orienting the patient to name, date, and place
  • Exercise programs, even when designed to reduce a dysphoric state
  • Memory enhancement training
  • Weight loss management
  • Case management services including but not limited to planning activities of daily living, arranging care or excursions, or resolving insurance problems
  • Activities principally for diversion
  • Planning for milieu modifications
  • Contributions to patient care plans
  • Maintenance of behavioral logs

Biofeedback is coded as 90901 and will not be covered as a health and behavioral intervention.

Coding Information:

Procedure codes may be subject to National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits or OPPS packaging edits. Refer to NCCI and OPPS requirements prior to billing Medicare.

For services requiring a referring/ordering physician, the name and NPI of the referring/ordering physician must be reported on the claim.

A claim submitted without a valid ICD-10-CM diagnosis code will be returned to the provider as an incomplete claim under Section 1833(e) of the Social Security Act.

The diagnosis code(s) must describe the patient’s condition for which the service was performed.

Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN) Modifier Guidelines An ABN may be used for services which are likely to be non-covered, whether for medical necessity or for other reasons. Refer to CMS Publication 100-04, Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 30, for complete instructions.

CPT codes 96150-96154 may be used only by a Clinical Psychologist (CP), (Specialty Code 68). Effective for dates of service on or after 01/01/2020, CPT codes 96150-96154 have been deleted and replaced with CPT codes 96156, 96167, 96168.

If the initial health and behavior assessment or reassessment (CPT codes 96150-96151) is unable to be completed during a single encounter, the date of service indicated on the claim should be the date on which the interview was finalized. Effective for dates of service on or after 01/01/2020, CPT codes 96150-96151 have been deleted and replaced with CPT code 96156.

For health and behavior assessment and/or intervention services performed by a physician, clinical nurse specialist (CNS), or nurse practitioner (NP), Evaluation and Management (E&M) or Preventive Medicine services codes should be used.

Services to patients for evaluation and treatment of mental illnesses should be coded using a psychiatric services CPT code (90801-90899).

For patients that require psychiatric services (CPT codes 90801-90899) as well as health and behavior assessment/intervention (96156, 96167, 96168), report the predominant service performed.

Do not report CPT codes 96150-96154 in addition to CPT codes 90801-90899 on the same date. CPT code 96155 is not a covered service. Effective for dates of service on or after 01/01/2020, CPT codes 96150-96154 have been deleted and replaced with CPT code 96156, 96167, 96168 and CPT code 96155 has been deleted and replaced with CPT codes 96170, 96171.

Group 1 Codes:

CODEDESCRIPTION
96156HEALTH BEHAVIOR ASSESSMENT, OR RE-ASSESSMENT (IE, HEALTH-FOCUSED CLINICAL INTERVIEW, BEHAVIORAL OBSERVATIONS, CLINICAL DECISION MAKING)
96158HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, INDIVIDUAL, FACE-TO-FACE; INITIAL 30 MINUTES
96159HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, INDIVIDUAL, FACE-TO-FACE; EACH ADDITIONAL 15 MINUTES (LIST SEPARATELY IN ADDITION TO CODE FOR PRIMARY SERVICE)
96164HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, GROUP (2 OR MORE PATIENTS), FACE-TO-FACE; INITIAL 30 MINUTES
96165HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, GROUP (2 OR MORE PATIENTS), FACE-TO-FACE; EACH ADDITIONAL 15 MINUTES (LIST SEPARATELY IN ADDITION TO CODE FOR PRIMARY SERVICE)
96167HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, FAMILY (WITH THE PATIENT PRESENT), FACE-TO-FACE; INITIAL 30 MINUTES
96168HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, FAMILY (WITH THE PATIENT PRESENT), FACE-TO-FACE; EACH ADDITIONAL 15 MINUTES (LIST SEPARATELY IN ADDITION TO CODE FOR PRIMARY SERVICE)
96170HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, FAMILY (WITHOUT THE PATIENT PRESENT), FACE-TO-FACE; INITIAL 30 MINUTES
96171HEALTH BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION, FAMILY (WITHOUT THE PATIENT PRESENT), FACE-TO-FACE; EACH ADDITIONAL 15 MINUTES (LIST SEPARATELY IN ADDITION TO CODE FOR PRIMARY SERVICE)
CPT codes 96170, 96171 are not a covered services. Group 1 Codes.

The patient’s medical record must contain documentation that fully supports the medical necessity for services included within this LCD. (See “Indications and Limitations of Coverage.”) This documentation includes, but is not limited to, relevant medical history, physical examination, and results of pertinent diagnostic tests or procedures.

Each claim must be submitted with ICD-10-CM codes that reflect the condition of the patient, and indicate the reason(s) for which the service was performed. Claims submitted without ICD-10-CM codes will be returned.

Because of the impact on the medical management of the patient’s disease, documentation must show evidence of coordination of care with the patient’s primary medical care providers or medical provider responsible for the medical management of the physical illness that the psychological assessment/intervention was meant to address.

Documentation in the medical record by the Clinical Psychologist (CP) (Specialty Code 68) must include:

a. For the initial assessment, evidence to support that the assessment is reasonable and necessary, and must include, at a minimum, the following elements:

  • Health and Behavioral Assessment/Intervention (CPT codes 96150-96154) may only be performed by a Clinical Psychologist (CP-Specialty Code 68). Effective for dates of service on or after 01/01/2020, CPT codes 96150-96154 have been deleted and replaced with CPT code 96156, 96167, 96168.
  • Date of initial diagnosis of physical illness, and
  • Clear rationale for why assessment is required, and
  • Assessment outcome including mental status and ability to understand and respond meaningfully, and
  • Goals and expected duration of specific psychological intervention(s), if recommended.

b. For re-assessment, detailed progress notes to support that the reassessment is reasonable and necessary must include the following elements:

  • Date of change in mental or physical status
  • Sufficient rationale for why re-assessment is required, and,
  • Clear indication of any precipitating events that necessitate re-assessment

c. For the intervention service, evidence to support that the intervention is reasonable and necessary must include, at a minimum, the following elements:

  • Evidence that the patient has the capacity to understand and to respond meaningfully
  • Clearly defined psychological intervention planned
  • The goals of the psychological intervention
  • There expectation that the psychological intervention will improve compliance with the medical treatment plan
  • The response to the intervention
  • Rationale for frequency and duration of services

For all claims, the time duration (stated in minutes) spent in the health and behavioral assessment or intervention encounter must be documented in the record.

Documentation must be available to Medicare upon request.

Sources of Information:

This bibliography presents those sources that were obtained during the development of this policy. National Government Services is not responsible for the continuing viability of Web site addresses listed below.

  • Current Procedural Terminology, CPT 2009
  • Program Memorandum, Expanded Coverage of Diabetes Outpatient Self-Management Training, CR 1455, June 15, 2001
  • Program Memorandum, Medical Nutrition Therapy for Beneficiaries with Diabetes or Renal Disease, CR 1776, August 7, 2001
  • Carrier Advisory Committee Psychiatry Working Group
  • CPT Changes, “An Insider’s View”, 2002, American Medical Association, pages 218-220.

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