Is There a CPT Code for Dry Needling?

Please note that this article contains information that is only relevant to American clinics. 


Physical therapists across America employ a variety of techniques in order to relieve pain or restore function for their patients. One such treatment finds its roots in Traditional Chinese medicine. It’s known and acupuncture, but in Western medicine, we refer to it as ‘dry needling’. But unfortunately, there isn’t exactly CPT code that allows you to bill Medicare for dry needling–yet.


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In late September, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) joined forces with the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) to submit an application to the CPT Editorial Panel for two new CPT codes that represent dry needling (i.e. acupuncture). Based on the proposal submitted by the APTA and the ACA, the CPT Editorial Panel has agreed to add these codes to their roster.


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One of the new CPT codes for dry needling describes performing acupuncture on 1 or 2 muscles. The other is to be used in cases where the acupuncture is targeting 3 or more muscles.


These new CPT codes will be available for sure on January 1, 2020. But, one thing to be aware of is that even though there are new CPT codes for dry needling, that doesn’t mean that Medicare, or any other insurance carriers for that matter, will be offering reimbursement for them.


For more information related to Medicare, be sure to head over to the Gawenda Seminars and Consulting website.

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