Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What CPT code do you hit for "Friend therapy"?

A CPT code is coder language for how a healthcare provider bills your insurance for services. My physician son-in-law is on his way to a conference on this very subject as he begins his new career as a physician. I spent a week in Dallas when I worked for a healthcare company to learn as much as I could about ICD-9 codes and CPT codes in billing for a particular therapy in which my company was involved. Mind numbingly BORING.

So what is the point of my post today? I am never sure but here are some random thoughts about how we often receive therapy and are never billed for it. I have to take you back in time when I was a sales specialist for a drug called Revia (naltrexone HCl). Our indication, or license, was for alcoholism. This drug helped along with therapy and counseling to get alcoholics off the booze. It never was a big time winner but I was fairly successful with it. Anyways it was fun to talk about.

I remember being invited to a drug and alcohol treatment facility by our representative in Pensacola to speak with people about Revia. I also had an appointment with the sitting President of the Florida Psychiatric Association. This visit went very well. This physician/psychiatrist was keenly interested in what we had to tell him and it worked out to be a very nice interchange. We had a little time left at the end of our presentation and we were just sitting around shooting the bull with this brilliant physician. The local rep, Howard, threw a very thoughtful question out into the conversation. He asked, " Dr., when you are feeling sort of blue and low and disjointed, where do you go for therapy and answers to questions? I will never forget his response.

The physician looked thoughtfully at both of us and decided to give the question a response. This is what he said. " When I am having such a day as you describe I call a special friend. He is a man that is my age and makes his living as a tile setter. I went to kindergarten with him and ultimately graduated from high school with him. He and I climb onto a golf cart and spend 5 hours in pursuit of a dimpled spheroid. If I am in deep trouble, this visit could overlap into lunch or dinner. This man knows my soul and my heart. He always knows the right thing to say to me or not say to me. I always feel refreshed and enlightened after these sessions. I wish that my patients were to all have such a friend. Of course, I would soon be out of business if they all did."

I have often thought of that. I have a circle of friends that I play golf with and sometimes just go to lunch or breakfast with.. I have lots of acquaintances, numbering into the thousands. I have 256 facebook friends. However, there is only a small core of people that know my heart and soul. These are people that I count on. I am very fortunate that my wife is one of these people. I am also blessed that my son and daughters are in that circle. I also have 2 fine men who are married to my daughters that fill out this cadre of therapists. Along with it are little wider circle of people that I know from work, church, baseball, PTA, etc. They help me just when I sit and look at them. They square me up to the reality of important things.

No CPT code assessment is necessary in such therapeutic relationships. I wish that all people would avail themselves of such friends. There is also a wide army of people who are cynical, into private agendaes, selfish and painfully boring and opinionated. You know the type. You want to go hide in the bushes when you see them coming towards you.

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