Federal court allows collaboration on CPT codes

The American Medical News (9/3, Sorrel) reports, “Organized medicine scored a legal victory in a decision physicians say upholds the CPT (current procedural terminology) coding process and protects medical societies’ role in it.” The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia “tossed out antitrust claims that the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Urological Assn. (AUA) conspired to deny a category I CPT code for Neotonus Inc.’s patented device to treat female urinary incontinence.” In a 2004 lawsuit, Neotonus alleged that the AUA “influenced the AMA CPT Editorial Panel — which reviews, sets and modifies CPT codes — so its therapy would not replace more profitable procedures already in use. Neotonus claimed that the panel’s denial cost the company $20 million.” However, the court “found ample evidence that the AMA panel — composed of volunteer physicians — thoroughly and independently researched Neotonus’ technology and related studies before concluding there was not enough peer-reviewed research to show the treatment was effective.” AMA Board of Trustees Chair Edward L. Langston, M.D., “said the organization’s CPT coding process ‘is fair and impartial, and the judge’s ruling affirms this fact.'” The case is Neotonus Inc. v. American Medical Association and American Urological Assn.

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