CPT 31541 – Can it Be Billed Bilaterally?

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Question:  

One of my physicians wants to code 31541 bilaterally; so far it has been denied each time. Can you tell me if this is allowed or am I wasting my time? Also I would like to attend one of AAOHNS/KZA seminars, are they for office staff as well as physicians?

Answer:

Absolutely – office staff may attend the coding course such as the one your physician attended. It would be great if you could go as well. Practices find it extremely helpful when the physician and billing staff attend together.

It isn’t surprising that payors are denying payment for 31541-50 (modifier 50 for bilateral procedure). CPT 31541 states: Laryngoscopy, direct, operative, with excision of tumor and/or stripping of vocal cords or epiglottis; with operating microscope or telescope. Because the code says vocal cords, meaning both vocal cords, 31541 should not be billed with modifier 50.