Yttrium-90 billing

Yttrium-90 Billing Guide for Liver Metastases

Liver metastases are a significant concern for many patients, often requiring advanced treatments such as Yttrium-90 (Y-90) radioembolization. This billing guide provides an in-depth look at the billing and coding considerations for Yttrium-90 procedures, focusing on the unique challenges and nuances involved in billing for liver metastases treatment.

Introduction to Yttrium-90 and Liver Metastases

Yttrium-90 is a radioactive isotope used in radioembolization procedures to treat liver metastases, primarily from colorectal cancer and other primary tumors. This treatment involves injecting microspheres loaded with Y-90 into the hepatic artery, delivering localized radiation to the tumors while sparing healthy liver tissue.

Medical Necessity and Pre-Procedure Considerations

Before billing for Y-90 procedures, it’s crucial to establish medical necessity. This includes confirming the diagnosis of liver metastases through imaging studies and clinical assessments. Additionally, the patient’s performance status and liver function tests should be evaluated to ensure they are suitable candidates for Y-90 therapy.

Coding for Yttrium-90 Procedures

CPT Codes for Yttrium-90 Radioembolization

  • CPT Code 37204: Transcatheter therapy, embolization, or infusion for treatment of tumors (e.g., Yttrium-90 radioembolization).
  • CPT Code 75726: Imaging guidance (e.g., fluoroscopy, ultrasound) for Yttrium-90 radioembolization.

These codes are used to report the Yttrium-90 radioembolization procedure itself, as well as any imaging guidance required during the procedure.

HCPCS Codes for Yttrium-90 Microspheres

HCPCS Code C2617: Yttrium Y-90 resin or non-resin microspheres (e.g., TheraSphere® or SIR-Spheres®).

This code is used to report the specific type of Yttrium-90 microspheres used in the procedure.

Documentation Requirements

Accurate and detailed documentation is essential for billing Yttrium-90 procedures. The following elements should be included in the medical record:

  • Imaging Studies: Reports from diagnostic imaging (e.g., CT, MRI) confirming liver metastases.
  • Clinical Assessment: Documentation of the patient’s history and physical examination.
  • Procedure Report: Detailed report of the Yttrium-90 radioembolization procedure, including imaging guidance and any complications encountered.

Reimbursement and Payment Considerations

Reimbursement for Yttrium-90 procedures varies based on the payer (Medicare, private insurance) and the specific contract terms. Factors influencing reimbursement include:

  • Coverage Policies: Some payers may have specific coverage policies for Yttrium-90 radioembolization.
  • Medical Necessity: Documentation supporting the medical necessity of the procedure.
  • Coding Accuracy: Ensuring accurate coding and documentation to support reimbursement claims.

Challenges in Yttrium-90 Billing

  • Pre-Authorization Requirements: Many payers require pre-authorization for Yttrium-90 procedures, necessitating thorough documentation and justification of medical necessity.
  • Coding Accuracy: Ensuring that all procedures and services related to Yttrium-90 radioembolization are accurately coded to avoid claim denials or delays.
  • Appeals Process: In cases of denied claims, understanding the appeals process and providing additional documentation may be necessary to overturn denials.

Compliance and Regulatory Considerations

Billing for Yttrium-90 procedures must comply with various regulatory requirements, including:

  • CMS Guidelines: Following Medicare guidelines for coding and billing.
  • Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs): Understanding LCDs specific to Yttrium-90 procedures.
  • ICD-10 Coding: Accurate coding of primary and secondary diagnoses related to liver metastases.

Best Practices for Yttrium-90 Billing

Documentation of Medical Necessity: Ensure that the medical record clearly supports the necessity of Yttrium-90 radioembolization. Include imaging reports showing liver metastases, as well as clinical notes detailing the patient’s condition and suitability for the procedure.

Coordination with Radiology and Oncology Departments: Effective communication between departments is crucial for accurate billing. Radiology should provide imaging guidance documentation, while oncology should confirm the medical necessity from a treatment perspective.

Comprehensive Procedure Reports: Detailed reports of the Yttrium-90 procedure are essential. Include the specifics of the microspheres used (e.g., TheraSphere® or SIR-Spheres®), the dose administered, and any complications encountered during the procedure.

Reimbursement Strategies

Verify Coverage and Pre-Authorization: Confirm insurance coverage for Yttrium-90 procedures and obtain pre-authorization when required. Some payers may require documentation of medical necessity and prior imaging studies.

Appeal Denied Claims: If a claim is denied, review the reason for denial and gather additional documentation to support an appeal. This may include clinical notes, imaging reports, and procedure details.

Contract Negotiations: Work with insurance providers to negotiate favorable reimbursement rates for Yttrium-90 procedures, especially if these treatments are commonly performed at your facility.

Compliance and Regulatory Updates

ICD-10 Coding: Use accurate ICD-10 codes to support the diagnosis of liver metastases and the primary cancer site. For example:

C78.7: Secondary malignant neoplasm of liver.

C18.9: Malignant neoplasm of colon, unspecified site.

Medicare Guidelines: Follow Medicare guidelines for Yttrium-90 billing, including coverage and coding determinations.

Billing Software and Systems: Utilize billing software that supports Yttrium-90 procedures and integrates with electronic health records (EHRs) to streamline documentation and billing processes.


Yttrium-90 radioembolization is a complex procedure used in the treatment of liver metastases, requiring meticulous attention to coding and billing to ensure appropriate reimbursement. Healthcare providers and billing staff must be well-versed in the specific requirements and documentation necessary to support claims for Yttrium-90 procedures.

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