Complete assessment of the airway for potential pathology requires both direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy. In most cases, these procedures require separate and distinct instrumentation and/or anesthetic management. It is the position of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery that, in such cases, CPT codes 31525 (“Laryngoscopy direct, with or without, tracheoscopy; diagnostic, except newborn”) and 31622 (“Bronchoscopy diagnostic, flexible or rigid”) are appropriately reimbursed as distinct and separately identifiable procedures. Denial of payment for these codes on the basis of unbundling is inaccurate, since the procedures are complimentary and cannot be billed under a single code.
Important Disclaimer Notice (Updated 7/31/14)
Position statements are approved by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery or Foundation (AAO-HNS/F) Boards of Directors and are typically generated from AAO-HNS/F committees. Once approved by the Academy or Foundation Board of Directors, they become official position statements and are added to the existing position statement library. In no sense do they represent a standard of care. The applicability of position statements, as guidance for a procedure, must be determined by the responsible physician in light of all the circumstances presented by the individual patient. Adherence to these clinical position statements will not ensure successful treatment in every situation. As with all AAO-HNS/F guidance, this position statement should not be deemed inclusive of all proper treatment decisions or methods of care, nor exclusive of other treatment decisions or methods of care reasonably directed to obtaining the same results. Position statements are not intended to and should not be treated as legal, medical, or business advice.