Across the country, roughly 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis, and another 34 million have a risk of developing the condition during their lifetimes. With over 10% of the population affected, the government has declared that May will officially be National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, a month dedicated to making sure that those at risk know what they can do to detect and combat the disease. Though a few different options are available, bone mass measurements in particular are one of the best ways to detect osteoporosis and help prevent fractures in the future.

In addition to providing early detection, bone mass measurements can help determine the rate of bone loss, allowing providers to construct a concrete plan for treatment. Several factors can qualify a patient for one of these measurements, including:

  • Being estrogen-deficient
  • Receiving certain levels of glucosteroid therapy
  • Having primary hyperthyroidism
  • Having abnormalities of the vertebrae

As long as it is medically necessary and meets their requirements, Medicare will cover bone mass measurements every two years. Given that the May awareness will likely bring in new patients looking to get tested, practices who offer this service should brush up on how to code it properly.

Most of the time, coders will be able to match the measurement to one of the following codes:

  • 76977 (Ultrasound bone density measurement and interpretation, peripheral site(s), any method)
  • 77078 (Computed tomography, bone mineral density study, 1 or more sites, axial skeleton (e.g., hips, pelvis, spine))
  • 77080 (Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), bone density study, 1 or more sites; axial skeleton (e.g., hips, pelvis, spine))
  • 77081(“…;” appendicular skeleton (peripheral) (e.g., radius, wrist, heel))
  • G0130 (Single energy x-ray absorptiometry (SEXA) bone density study, one or more sites; appendicular skeleton (peripheral) (e.g., radius, wrist, heel))

If you code for a practice or facility that offers these bone mass measurements, be sure to review all the appropriate codes and Medicare requirements in order to get the most from your reimbursement during that National Osteoporosis Awareness Month influx.