Relatively undervalued: Comparing the work relative value units of neuropsychological evaluation to other services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: We examined work relative value units (wRVUs) and associated revenue of current procedural terminology (CPT) codes for evaluation and management (E&M) services, neuropsychological evaluation (NPE), psychological evaluation (PE), and psychotherapy. Method: CPT code wRVUs were aggregated for E&M (99202-99215), NPE (96116, 96132, 96133, 96136, and 96137), PE (90791, 96130, 96131, 96136, and 96137), and psychotherapy (90791 and 90832-90837 with and without the complexity modifier, 90785). Per minute wRVUs were calculated for each CPT code. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2023 conversion factor ($33.8872) was multiplied by wRVUs to examine reimbursement per hour and per prototypical four-hour clinic slot. Results: The wRVUs per minute showed the following ranges: 0.032-0.07 for E&M services, 0.015-0.063 for NPE, 0.015-0.124 for PE, and 0.043-0.135 for psychotherapy. Average hourly revenue ranged from $72 for NPE to $132 for psychotherapy with the complexity modifier. Revenue for prototypical four-hour clinics ranged from $283 for NPE to $493 for psychotherapy with the complexity modifier. PE and psychotherapy services were valued at 124-184% of NPE. Conclusions: E&M code wRVUs increase with case complexity reflecting greater work intensity, and a modifier to PE and psychotherapy captures additional effort needed in complex cases. In contrast, NPE codes lack a complexity modifier, and NPE wRVUs are lower than those of PE and psychotherapy, the latter of which can be billed by master’s level providers. NPE is undervalued compared to PE and psychotherapy based on wRVUs currently assigned to the CPT codes used for the respective services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-921
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Cost conscious neuropsychology
  • healthcare value
  • neuropsychological evaluation
  • psychological evaluation
  • psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Relatively undervalued: Comparing the work relative value units of neuropsychological evaluation to other services'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this