CPT changes in 2015 for surgical pathology

Immunohistochemistry (IHC) code changes –official language

88342 Immunohistochemistry or immunocytochemistry, per specimen; initial single antibody stain procedure

88341 … each additional single antibody stain procedure (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure)

88344 …each multiple antibody stain procedure

Codes 88342, 88341 & 88344 pertain to qualitative IHC staining


For 88342. Each separately identifiable antibody per block, cytologic preparation, or hematologic smear specimen; first separately identifiable initial single antibody per slide stain procedure. The main point is that the words block and slide are eliminated.

88343 each additional separately identifiable antibody per slide (List separately in addition to code per primary procedure) is eliminated and replaced by 88341.

Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adapted the new American Medical Association (AMA) way of coding IHC. AMA agreed to replace per block for per specimen. CMS is abandoning the IHC HCPCS-II codes G0461 and G0462 after Jan. 1, 2015.

 Starting on Jan. 1, 2015, code 88342 is for the initial single IHC antibody stain for a specimen, with code 88341 being for each additional single IHC antibody stain for that same specimen. A single IHC antibody stain is like S100, CD20 or PAX-5.

 Code 88344 is for a multiplex IHC antibody stain, like PIN-4.

 On a personal note, I have some satisfaction that my call on the websites and in my letter in CAP TODAY “IHC coding changes” on February 2014, page 6 for a compromise on the clinical diagnostic ground has been adopted.

I am also glad that my point that G codes are a contamination of CPT coding principles has been adapted. They should be used as an extraordinary exception. CPT is time proven rational coding system. See the posts G0461/G0462 damage to CPT coding on Surgical Pathology CPT coding Cookbook website (www. surgepathcode.com) and   88343 vs. G0462 on this website’s blog section.

I am not foolish to think that my voice had been heard. At least, I have thought in the right direction.

The most reliable information and comments can be found in Dennis Padget’s Pathology Service Coding Handbook (American Pathology Foundation) www. PathConsulting.org.