Comparison of Shave and Punch Biopsy Utilization Among Dermatology Practices

Cutis. 2021 Mar;107(3):151-152. doi: 10.12788/cutis.0206.

Abstract

In 2019, the 2 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for skin biopsies were replaced with 6 new CPT codes to allow for technique specification and differential reimbursement. We sought to evaluate whether the concurrent decrease in reimbursement for shave biopsies and increase in reimbursement for punch biopsies led to utilization changes. We examined shave and punch biopsies submitted for pathologic examination at 3 academic centers in May 2018 and May 2019. We performed χ2 tests to evaluate for changes in the ratio of biopsy utilization over time, with subgroup analyses by practice setting and provider type. Totals included 11,785 (12.11% punch) and 11,291 (12.08% punch) biopsies submitted in May 2018 and May 2019, respectively. Our results demonstrate small yet important changes in biopsy use patterns within the context of recent reimbursement changes when analyzing academic and private practices separately. Although small in magnitude, this change in behavior may have a substantial impact when extrapolated to behavior across the nation.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Current Procedural Terminology
  • Dermatology*
  • Humans
  • Skin
  • Skin Neoplasms*