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Stephen O'Connor

By: Stephen O'Connor on March 13th, 2024

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Demystifying Billing and Coding Guidelines for Facet Joint Interventions: A Comprehensive Overview

Medical Billing / RCM

Billing and coding for medical procedures can be a complex maze to navigate, especially when it comes to complying with specific coverage determinations.

In this article, we aim to demystify the billing and coding guidelines outlined in Local Coverage Determination (LCD) L33930 for Facet Joint Interventions for Pain Management. Understanding these guidelines is crucial for healthcare providers and billing professionals to ensure accurate reimbursement and compliance with Medicare regulations.

Coding Guidance

The key to appropriate billing lies in understanding the nuances of coding for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures related to facet joint interventions. Here's a breakdown of the essential coding guidelines:

  • Paravertebral Facet Level Identification: Each paravertebral facet level refers to either the facet joint or the two medial branch nerves that innervate each zygapophyseal joint.
  • Unilateral vs. Bilateral Procedures: Unilateral or bilateral facet interventions may be performed during a single session, with bilateral interventions considered a single-level intervention.
  • Image Guidance Requirement: Image guidance (fluoroscopy or CT) is required for certain procedures, and it's essential to use the appropriate CPT codes based on the anatomic spinal region.
  • Use of Modifiers: Modifiers such as -50, -RT, and -LT should be used appropriately to indicate bilateral procedures or laterality.
  • ASC Billing: Billing for procedures performed in Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) follows specific guidelines regarding modifier usage.

Neurolytic Destruction Procedures

For neurolytic destruction procedures, additional considerations come into play:

  • Image Guidance Requirement: Similarly, image guidance is necessary for these procedures, and the choice of CPT codes depends on the spinal region and whether the procedure is unilateral or bilateral.
  • Non-Thermal Facet Joint Denervation: Non-thermal facet joint denervation procedures are billed differently from thermal procedures and should be reported using CPT code 64999.

Utilization Parameters

Understanding utilization parameters is vital for managing the frequency of procedures:

  • Session Limitations: CPT codes 64490 through 64494 and 64633 through 64636 are subject to session limitations per region, per rolling 12 months.

Documentation Requirements

Finally, comprehensive documentation is essential for supporting billed procedures:

  • Medical Record Requirements: Detailed documentation, including patient assessment, relevant medical history, and results of tests/procedures, must be maintained in the patient's medical record and made available upon request.
  • Assessment and Scales: The medical record should include the provider's assessment related to the patient's complaint, as well as the use of appropriate scales for pain and disability assessment.


Navigating billing and coding guidelines for facet joint interventions requires expertise and attention to detail. Healthcare providers must adhere to these guidelines outlined in LCD L33930 to ensure accurate billing, compliance with Medicare regulations, and optimal patient care.

In some cases, the prudent strategy will be to outsource your pain management billing, leaving the increasingly complicated tasks to professionals who focus on revenue and no other tasks.

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About Stephen O'Connor

Stephen O'Connor is the Director of Brand and Digital Marketing, responsible for many aspects of Advanced Data Systems Corporation’s (ADS) marketing, including product marketing, customer acquisition, demand generation, brand, brand design, and content marketing.

Stephen has more than 20 years of healthcare industry experience. Prior to ADS, Stephen spent 11 years at Medical Resources Inc. (MRI), most recently as the Manager of Marketing & Internet Services, where he and his teams were responsible for all marketing efforts and the market positioning of MRI’s services.

Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional.