How To Use CPT Code 97018
CPT 97018 refers to the application of a paraffin bath modality to one or more areas for therapeutic purposes. This article will cover the description, procedure, qualifying circumstances, usage, documentation requirements, billing guidelines, historical information, similar codes, and examples of CPT 97018.
1. What is CPT 97018?
CPT 97018 is a medical billing code used to describe the application of a paraffin bath modality to one or more areas of the body for therapeutic purposes. This treatment is commonly used to alleviate pain and stiffness in joints, particularly in patients with arthritis or joint inflammation. The paraffin wax used in this procedure has unique heat-absorbing and retaining properties, making it an effective treatment option for various conditions.
2. 97018 CPT code description
The official description of CPT code 97018 is: “Application of a modality to 1 or more areas; paraffin bath.”
The 97018 procedure involves the following steps:
- The provider prepares the paraffin wax solution by melting it in a specialized paraffin bath unit.
- The patient’s affected body part, such as a hand, wrist, or knee, is cleaned and dried.
- The patient’s body part is either dipped into the paraffin wax solution or the wax is applied using a brush.
- The wax-coated body part is wrapped in plastic or a towel to retain heat.
- The patient remains still for a specified period, usually 10-15 minutes, allowing the heat to penetrate the affected area.
- The paraffin wax is carefully removed, and the treated area is cleaned.
4. Qualifying circumstances
Patients eligible to receive CPT code 97018 services typically have conditions that cause pain, stiffness, or inflammation in the joints. These conditions may include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Additionally, patients with limited range of motion or muscle spasms may also benefit from paraffin bath treatments.
5. When to use CPT code 97018
It is appropriate to bill the 97018 CPT code when a healthcare provider performs a paraffin bath treatment for a patient with a qualifying condition, as mentioned above. The treatment should be medically necessary and prescribed by a healthcare professional as part of the patient’s overall treatment plan.
6. Documentation requirements
To support a claim for CPT 97018, healthcare providers must document the following information:
- Patient’s medical history and diagnosis
- Indication of the medical necessity for the paraffin bath treatment
- Specific body part(s) treated
- Date and duration of the treatment
- Provider’s signature and credentials
7. Billing guidelines
When billing for CPT code 97018, healthcare providers should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Ensure that the treatment is medically necessary and prescribed by a healthcare professional.
- Verify the patient’s insurance coverage for paraffin bath treatments.
- Document all required information to support the claim, as mentioned in the documentation requirements section.
- Use appropriate modifiers, if necessary, to indicate any special circumstances related to the treatment.
8. Historical information
CPT 97018 was added to the Current Procedural Terminology system on January 1, 1990. The code’s description was changed on January 1, 2009, from “Application of a modality to one or more areas; paraffin bath” to its current description.
9. Similar codes to CPT 97018
Five similar codes to CPT 97018 include:
- CPT 97010: Application of a modality to one or more areas; hot or cold packs
- CPT 97012: Application of a modality to one or more areas; traction, mechanical
- CPT 97014: Application of a modality to one or more areas; electrical stimulation (unattended)
- CPT 97016: Application of a modality to one or more areas; vasopneumatic devices
- CPT 97022: Application of a modality to one or more areas; whirlpool
These codes differ from CPT 97018 in the type of modality applied and the specific treatment method used.
Here are 10 detailed examples of CPT code 97018 procedures:
- A patient with osteoarthritis in their hands receives a paraffin bath treatment to alleviate pain and stiffness.
- A patient with rheumatoid arthritis in their wrists undergoes a paraffin bath treatment to reduce inflammation and improve joint mobility.
- A patient with fibromyalgia receives a paraffin bath treatment to help manage muscle pain and stiffness in their knees.
- A patient with tendinitis in their elbow undergoes a paraffin bath treatment to alleviate pain and promote healing.
- A patient with bursitis in their shoulder receives a paraffin bath treatment to reduce inflammation and improve range of motion.
- A patient with limited range of motion in their ankle due to a previous injury undergoes a paraffin bath treatment to help improve flexibility.
- A patient with muscle spasms in their lower back receives a paraffin bath treatment to help relax the affected muscles and alleviate pain.
- A patient with chronic joint pain in their fingers undergoes a paraffin bath treatment to provide temporary relief from pain and stiffness.
- A patient with arthritis in their feet receives a paraffin bath treatment to help manage pain and improve mobility.
- A patient with joint inflammation in their hips undergoes a paraffin bath treatment to reduce inflammation and promote healing.