Modifier 52; Reduced Services

Policy No: 115
Originally Created: 01/01/2017
Section: Modifiers
Last Reviewed: 03/01/2024
Last Revised: 03/01/2021
Approved: 03/14/2024
Effective: 04/01/2024

This policy applies only to physicians and other qualified health care professionals.


Current Procedural Terminology® (CPT) Modifier 52
Identifies a service or procedure that was partially reduced, that services performed were significantly less than usually required or that was eliminated at the discretion of the provider.

Policy statement

Procedure codes submitted with modifier 52 will be reimbursed at a reduced rate. Our health plan reimburses procedure(s) appended with modifier 52 at 50% of the allowable amount. Procedure codes for any other procedure not performed at all should not be additionally reported.

When an inherently bilateral procedure is performed unilaterally, resulting in the service being reduced (such as CPT code 22840 – spinal instrumentation), modifier 52 should be reported.

When a procedure code does not exist to report a lower level of service, modifier 52 may be reported (such as CPT code 73521-Radiological examination, hips, bilateral, minimum of 2 views of each hip, but only one view of each hip was performed).

Our health plan considers inappropriate use of modifier 52 to include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Time based codes
  • All-or-nothing procedure codes (e.g., CPT code 72020 XR spine, single view; CPT codes 97010–97028 PT modalities, one or more areas, non-timed codes)
  • Unlisted procedure codes
  • Evaluation and management (E&M) codes

    • Select the code that best describes the level of service performed. If services documented do not meet the criteria for the lowest level of E&M available, then the service is not reportable.

Procedure code/modifier combinations that are considered not valid for our health plans use will be denied.


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). National Physician Fee Schedule Relative Value File

American Medical Association. Appendix A: Modifiers, Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®). AMA Press


Your use of this Reimbursement Policy constitutes your agreement to be bound by and comply with the terms and conditions of the Reimbursement Policy Disclaimer.