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Study Recommendations on Assistants at Surgery

Publish Date: 8/31/2011

The American College of Surgeons recently released the 2011 edition of its Physician as Assistants at Surgery study. The guide is a joint publication of the American College of Surgeons and 20 other surgical specialty organizations intended to indicate whether an operation may call for the use of a physician as an assistant. The study indicates by CPT code whether an operation requires a physician as an assistant “almost always,” “almost never,” or “some of the time.”

While the study presents information about the need for a physician at surgery, it also recognizes that other professionals may be asked to serve as assistants at surgery, including registered nurses, surgeon’s assistants, or other physician’s assistants who have undergone additional surgical training and have experience in assisting during operations. The guide covers all procedures listed in the Surgery section of the American Medical Association’s CPT 2011 and can be very useful in providing evidence of medical necessity when an assist is denied payment based on medical necessity.

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