To this day, I still get thrown off guard when learning of a billing rule I had not heard of before. Yes, you might be asking, Erik, aren’t you supposed to know all the rules by heart? My response; it is impossible, especially when some of them make no sense. This is the story of billing code CPT 36680 and the bizarre restrictions that accompany it.

A little background first. You have probably seen or experienced having an IV inserted so the doctor can give you some salt water and medication. For each one of these drugs, there are two charges associated with it, sometimes three. You are billed for the medication, the nurses training, and experience to deliver the medication, and for the IV supply itself. In rare instances, usually emergent, finding a vein is not an option. In those cases, healthcare providers elect to use the IO or intraosseous needle. This needle goes directly into the bone and allows for massive amounts of medications to be delivered very rapidly.

Any rational being would conclude that the medications given through this IO should be chargeable as well. It turns out it isn’t. Our healthcare billing system does not allow for charges to be entered for medications delivered through this medium. This brings me to my main point. Our healthcare billing system is half a marathon behind the medical industry when it comes to entering the world of technology.

Your Advocate,

Erik Wikman