How To Use CPT Code 88342

CPT 88342 refers to the immunohistochemistry or immunocytochemistry procedure involving an initial single antibody stain on a specimen. This article will cover the description, procedure, qualifying circumstances, appropriate usage, documentation requirements, billing guidelines, historical information, similar codes, and examples of CPT 88342.

1. What is CPT 88342?

CPT 88342 is a medical billing code used to describe the immunohistochemistry or immunocytochemistry procedure, which involves applying an initial single antibody stain on a specimen. This procedure is typically performed by a lab analyst and interpreted by a pathologist to provide a pathologic diagnosis. The code is used to report the service once per specimen, regardless of the number of blocks or stained slides prepared.

2. 88342 CPT code description

The official description of CPT code 88342 is: “Immunohistochemistry or immunocytochemistry, per specimen; initial single antibody stain procedure.”

3. Procedure

  1. The lab analyst prepares the specimen by cutting and mounting the tissue onto slides.
  2. Reagents are added to the slides to prepare them for staining.
  3. The initial single antibody stain is applied to the slides.
  4. The pathologist examines the stained slides under a microscope and interprets the findings to reach a pathologic diagnosis.
  5. A report is prepared by the pathologist for the ordering clinician.

4. Qualifying circumstances

Eligibility for CPT 88342 services is determined by the need for a pathologic diagnosis using immunohistochemistry or immunocytochemistry staining. This procedure is commonly performed to aid in the diagnosis of abnormal cells in conditions such as cancer. The code is used for qualitative staining only; for quantitative or semiquantitative staining, codes in the range 88360 to 88361 should be used.

5. When to use CPT code 88342

CPT code 88342 should be used when a lab analyst applies an initial single antibody stain on a specimen and a pathologist interprets the stained slides to provide a pathologic diagnosis. The code is appropriate for qualitative immunohistochemistry or immunocytochemistry staining and should be reported once per specimen, regardless of the number of blocks or stained slides prepared.

6. Documentation requirements

To support a claim for CPT 88342, the following information should be documented:

  • Specimen source (histologic, cytologic, or hematologic)
  • Type of stain used (immunohistochemistry or immunocytochemistry)
  • Number of stained slides prepared
  • Pathologist’s interpretation of the stained slides
  • Pathologic diagnosis provided by the pathologist

7. Billing guidelines

When billing for CPT 88342, it is important to remember that the code represents the global service, which includes both the technical work performed by the lab analyst and the professional work performed by the pathologist. If billing only for the technical work, append modifier TC (Technical component) to the code. If billing only for the professional work, append modifier 26 (Professional component) to the code. Additionally, use code 0760T in conjunction with 88342 when digitization of glass microscope slides is performed.

8. Historical information

CPT 88342 was added to the Current Procedural Terminology system on January 1, 1990. The code has undergone several changes since its introduction, with the most recent change occurring on January 1, 2015.

9. Similar codes to CPT 88342

Five similar codes to CPT 88342 and how they differ are:

  • CPT 88341: This code is used for each additional single antibody stain procedure on the same specimen.
  • CPT 88344: This code is used for each multiplex antibody stain procedure on a specimen.
  • CPT 88360: This code is used for quantitative or semiquantitative immunohistochemistry staining.
  • CPT 88361: This code is used for morphometric analysis of tumor immunohistochemistry.
  • CPT 0760T: This code is used for the digitization of glass microscope slides.

10. Examples

Here are 10 detailed examples of CPT code 88342 procedures:

  1. Staining of a breast tissue biopsy for estrogen receptor (ER) expression.
  2. Staining of a lung tissue biopsy for programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression.
  3. Staining of a lymph node biopsy for CD20 expression in a patient with suspected lymphoma.
  4. Staining of a skin biopsy for Melan-A expression in a patient with suspected melanoma.
  5. Staining of a colon tissue biopsy for cytokeratin 20 (CK20) expression.
  6. Staining of a liver tissue biopsy for hepatocyte paraffin 1 (Hep Par 1) expression.
  7. Staining of a bone marrow biopsy for CD34 expression in a patient with suspected leukemia.
  8. Staining of a thyroid tissue biopsy for thyroglobulin expression.
  9. Staining of a kidney tissue biopsy for CD10 expression in a patient with suspected renal cell carcinoma.
  10. Staining of a prostate tissue biopsy for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) expression.

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