The newest Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code is a breakthrough for the health coaching industry.
The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs successfully applied for the creation of new Category III CPT codes for health coaching through the American Medical Association (AMA), which will go into effect on January 1, 2020.
CPT codes make up the uniform language for coding medical services and procedures, allowing for streamlined submission to insurance. There are three main categories of CPT codes: I, II, and III.
The codes approved for health coaching are Category III, which means they’re temporary codes created for “data collection, assessment, and in some instances, payment of new services and procedures.”
Category III codes can become permanent Category I codes – those that correspond to a service/procedure – after data successfully shows that the code is widely utilized and meets the requirements of Category I codes. While health coaching is not currently recognized as a billable service by all insurance companies, the hope is that it will become one after data collection demonstrates that health coaching services can improve health outcomes.
Why is this monumental for the health coaching industry?
- Increased recognition of the value of Health Coaches. We know how much impact a Health Coach can have on someone looking to improve their health…and so do our 100,000 students and graduates! There is now external recognition by the most well-respected medical organization in the United States of how important Health Coaches are in the greater healthcare system.
- Increased job opportunities for Health Coaches. With the continued validation of the health coaching profession, there will be more opportunities for Health Coaches to find work in traditional healthcare settings. As lifestyle-related chronic diseases continue to rise, Health Coaches can play a vital role in reducing the suffering, and the costs, of these chronic conditions.
- Increased access to Health Coach support and services. With a potential for reimbursement, more people will be able to afford these incredible, life-changing services in combination with the support and care of their existing healthcare team.
- Emphasizing a system in which patients “step into more active roles in their own care.” NBHWC board member Ruth Wolever, PhD, explains that the creation of these new codes indicates a changing system – one that is more patient-driven, empowering, and proactive. Health Coaches have the expertise to guide their clients to ignite real, sustainable change to achieve optimal health.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is paving the way for revolutionary change in healthcare.
Nearly 30 years ago, when Integrative Nutrition was founded, health coaching wasn’t a recognized profession. Over the decades, Integrative Nutrition’s mission has been to establish health coaching as not only a recognized profession, but a respected, esteemed career path for those who want to change lives. Our innovative curriculum and persistent advocacy efforts have provided our graduates the tools to build successful health coaching practices, helping clients make radical changes to their health within the larger healthcare model.
Darrell Rogers, IIN’s director of advocacy, underscores the importance of this new code: “This new AMA-approved health coaching CPT code is further affirmation of the real benefits Health Coaches bring to their clients and their communities. With this step, Health Coaches can now demonstrate to the medical community what we’ve known for a while: Health Coaches help improve health and happiness, which then improves outcomes and lowers healthcare costs.”
The approval of this code further demonstrates the systemic impact Integrative Nutrition has had thus far on the healthcare system, which includes Health Coaches certified by the NBHWC. IIN’s Health Coach Training Program is an NBHWC-approved program, so our graduates are eligible to take the NBHWC qualifying exam after successfully completing both our Health Coach Training Program and our Coaching Intensive Practicum, a top-up course specifically designed to prepare you for the exam.
See the full press release here.
The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) has partnered with The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) and the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) on a collaborative project to continue advancing health & wellness coaching in healthcare.
This project will focus on the collection, tracking, and organizing of the data from the last couple of years that demonstrates the use of Category III CPT Codes by health & wellness coaches and health educators with their clients. This collection and eventual analysis of this data will support the application for full service reimbursement to the American Medical Association (AMA) and consequently, the approval of health & well-being coaching services as permanent Category I CPT Codes.
This is an exciting development and next step in this process for the health coaching industry, as it further solidifies the value of Health Coaches in the healthcare setting. This will surely ripple out to benefit not only those seeking a career in clinical healthcare, but the profession, exemplifying a Health Coach’s role in improving health outcomes and creating greater health and happiness. IIN is looking forward to being part of the larger work to support coaches in healthcare in their use of these codes.