It is almost fall, and you likely have had an onslaught of school physicals on your schedule. But have you conducted or scheduled any Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) BasicMed exams?
As of May 1, Congress changed the rules for how the pilots of small private planes may choose to receive medical clearance to fly. For continued eligibility to fly, pilots can use the FAA BasicMed exam to get recertified by a personal physician who is not an FAA-approved Aviation Medical Examiner, provided he or she is a state-licensed MD or DO. The pilot must also complete continuing education on aeromedical self-assessment biannually and, as all pilots must, a medical self-assessment prior to each flight.
There is a nine-page “checklist and instruction” form that details all the requirements that you and your patient must complete for the examination. If you perform U.S. Department of Transportation physicals, you’ll be well-acquainted with the complexity and responsibility. This is not just a form to sign; you are medically releasing someone to take to the skies and must take appropriate steps to ensure not only the safety of the patient but also that of others around them.
Some considerations include visual acuity and color vision, use of medications or substances that impair performance, and special attention toward cardiac, neurological, or psychiatric conditions.
There is no special CPT billing code for this extra examination. You may choose to bill the patient's insurer or have a pre-determined out-of-pocket fee. If you do plan to bill, and because you would typically spend the appointment completing the form checklist, Z02.79 (Encounter for issue of other medical certificate) would be an appropriate ICD-10 code.
The full Advisory Circular detailing the changes and requirements is available from the FAA.
– Barbie Hays, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC, Coding and Compliance Strategist for the American Academy of Family Physicians
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