90832 cpt code time

The Definitive Guide [+2022 Reimbursement Rates]

Billing CPT Code 90832 is becoming less and less common for mental health providers across the United States.  Today you’ll learn how and when to procedure code 90832 for coding and filing your mental health insurance claims.

Article Index
  • CPT Code 90832 Description
  • Reimbursement Rates
  • Time Length

CPT Code 90832 Description

CPT Code 90832 is a insurance billing procedure code describing individual psychotherapy services rendered for 30 minutes by a licensed mental health provider.


Insurance companies require coders, billers, or therapists to use CPT Code 90832 for a 30 minute routine outpatient therapy appointments.  Appointments billed as 90832 may also include an additional family member or caregiver.

If you’re struggling to figure out the right CPT codes to use for your mental health insurance claims, consider hiring our billing service to help.   Otherwise, read on..

CPT Code 90832 Time Length

Procedure code 90832 is defined as a session of 30 minutes.  Medicare advises not to bill for sessions less than 16 minutes in length.  (Source).

90832 vs 90834 vs 90837

The only difference between 90832 (the other commonly used CPT code) and 90834 or 90837 is the time of the psychotherapy session. Not every therapist does sessions at these exact time intervals.

So what about sessions in between, say 35 minutes. Which CPT code would apply?

  • 90832 should be billed for sessions between 16-37 minutes.
  • 90834 should be billed for sessions between 38-52 minutes.
  • 90837 should be billed for sessions 53 minutes or longer.

(Source) (Source) (Source)

If you’re looking for the whole list of mental health CPT codes for therapists, you can review our Definitive Guide to CPT Codes here.

90832 License Level Requirements:

License Level Requirements for billing 90832 for 30 minute individual psychotherapy sessions:
  • Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
  • Professional Counselors (LPC)
  • Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT)
  • Clinical Psychologists (PsyD or PhD)
  • Psychiatrists (MD)

Can I Bill CPT Code 90832 + 99354 for Longer Sessions?

We recommend you follow the above coding guidelines.   If the session is longer, bill 90834 or 90837.  Sessions longer than 60 minutes should be billed as 90837 with add-on code(s).

Read more about billing longer sessions in our Definitive Guide to CPT Code 90837.

Does 90832 Require Authorization?

Not typically.. 90832 is a routine procedure code (90834 and 90837 are too). As a result, it does not normally require authorization.

However, there are some exceptions. If you bill with us we can also call on your behalf to find out.

CPT Code 90832 Reimbursement Rates

This has increased to $77.81 in 2021.

90832 always reimburses less than 90834 and 90837, but similar per unit of time. This is usually around 75% of the 90834 reimbursement rate and around 50% of 90837.

Most providers find it works better for them to do fewer, but longer sessions, although some do opt for a higher number of shorter sessions.

CPT Code 90832 Reimbursement Rates (2022, Medicare): $85.07


CPT Code 90832 Reimbursement Rates (2021, Medicare): $77. 81


CPT Code 90832 Reimbursement Rates (2020, Medicare): $71.10


90832 Medicaid Reimbursement

In 2019 in Missisippi’s Medicaid program, Code 90832 was reimbursed at $59.13 per session.  (Source)

In New Jersey, Medicaid reimbursed CPT Code 90832 at $68.21 per session in 2016. (Source)

Each state has unique reimbursement mandates and agreements that vary state by state.

Is 90832 Billed Frequently?

No. Most therapists typically have longer sessions than 30 minutes. In our experience as billers for mental health professionals, CPT codes 90834 and 90837 are billed far more frequently than 90832.

Does Medicare Approve 98032?

Yes, Medicare considers this routine. If you are an approved Medicare provider you can bill this code.

Does Medicaid Approve CPT Code 90832?

Yes in general. Medicaid companies do often have a lot of requirements that vary by state and company. We strongly recommend calling beforehand to verify eligibility and benefits. This is where a professional billing service, such as TheraThink can help.

Where Does The Procedure Code Go On A Claim

Just like other CPT codes, it should go in the 24(c) location of a CMS 1500.

90832 on CMS 1500.

Applicable Add-On Codes to 90832

For providers eligible to bill E/M (Evaluation & Management) services, they can bill 90833 with 90832. There are  informative webinars by the AACAP on E/M codes. Each of the routine psychotherapy codes has an add-on E/M code.

20229083290832 rates90832 reimbursementcpt code 90832

(2022) CPT Codes For Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy sessions can be reported with CPT 90832, CPT 90833, CPT 90834, CPT 90836, CPT 90837, and CPT 90838. Below are the descriptions and billing guidelines for the psychotherapy CPT codes.

1. What Is CPT 90832?

CPT code 90832 may be reported if a provider performed psychotherapy to treat the psychiatric disorders of a patient. This treatment can last between 16 and 27 minutes.

1.1 Description

CPT 90832 is officially described by the CPTs manual as follows: “Psychotherapy, 30 minutes with the patient.”

1.2 Procedure

Psychotherapy is a type of talk therapy, and various techniques can be used to treat patients’ emotional and/or mental health. It is an interactive process between a patient and a provider. The aim is to explore behavior, feelings, and thoughts.

1.3 Billing Guidelines

Report CPT code 90832 if a psychotherapy session crosses 16 minutes (the halfway mark of 30 minutes).

You can bill this code if the provider provides a psychotherapy session with the patient that lasts a minimum of 16 minutes and a maximum of 37 minutes. The psychotherapy session needs to be done face to face without additional E/M services.

It is not allowed to report psychotherapy sessions that take less than 16 minutes.

2. What Is CPT 90833?

CPT code 90833 is an add-on code and can be used when an additional E/M service is provided during a psychotherapy session. This can take between 16 and 37 minutes.

2.1 Description

CPT 90833 is an add-on code for psychotherapy sessions and officially described in CPTs manual as: “Psychotherapy, 30 minutes with the patient when performed with an evaluation and management service.”

2.2 Procedure

This procedure is the same as described in CPT 90833. The face-to-face psychotherapy session can last between 16 and 37 minutes.

2.3 Billing Guidelines

Report CPT code 90833 separately as an add-on code to the primary E/M code. Since CPT 90833 is an add-on code, payers won’t reimburse this code if it is not reported with an appropriate primary E/M code.

Report this add-on code only with CPT 99202 until CPT 99255, CPT 99304 until CPT 99337, and CPT 99341 until CPT 99350.

CPT code 90834 can be billed if a provider performed a psychotherapy session that takes between 38 and 52 minutes.

A provider performs face-to-face psychotherapy sessions with a patient to treat thoughts, feelings, or behavior. This can be done with various techniques.

The average time spent on a psychotherapy session, as defined by CPT 90834, is 45 minutes, but it can last between 38 minutes and 52 minutes.

You can find the complete billing guide for CPT code 90834 here.

3.3 Billing Guidelines

Report CPT 90834 if the psychotherapy session lasts around 45 minutes. This code will be denied if the time is less than 38 minutes or more than 52 minutes. Any additional E/M services need to be billed separately.

4. What Is CPT 90836?

This add-on code can be used if a provider provided a psychotherapy session that takes between 38 to 52 minutes and provided also an E/M service at the same time.

4.1 Description

CPT 90836 is an add-on code for psychotherapy and is officially described by the CPTs manual as: “Psychotherapy, 45 minutes with the patient when performed with an evaluation and management service”.

4.2 Procedure

The provider performs a psychotherapy session that takes about 45 minutes. During this session, he or she performs an addiontal evaluation and management service.

4.3 Billing Guidelines

Report CPT code 90836 if the provider spent at least 38 minutes and a maximum of 52 minutes on a face-to-face psychotherapy session while performing a separate E/M service.

Be aware that this is an add-on code. You won’t be reimbursed if you report his code without the appropriate primary Evaluation and Management service code.

You can report CPT 90836 with CPT 99202 until CPT 99255, CPT 99304 until CPT 99337, and CPT 99341 until CPT 99350.

CPT code 90837 is another psychotherapy code that can be billed for sessions that last 53 minutes or more.

On average, the provider performs a face-to-face psychotherapy session with a patient that lasts 60 minutes. But this code can be billed for sessions that take 53 minutes or longer.

You can find the complete billing guide for CPT code 90837 here.

5.3 Billing Guidelines

Report CPT 90837 only if the psychotherapy session is performed without additional E/M services. Do not report his code if the session lasts less than 53 minutes.

You can report psychotherapy sessions that are not performed with an E/M service that lasts 90 minutes or linger with CPT 99354, CPT 99355, CPT 99356, or CPT 99357.

6. What Is CPT 90838?

CPT 90838 is similar to CPT 90837. The difference is that a provider performs an additional E/M service during the psychotherapy session. The session can last 53 minutes or more.

6.1 Description

This add-on code can be found in the CPTs manual as CPT 90838 and is officially described as: “Psychotherapy, 60 minutes with the patient when performed with an evaluation and management service.”

6.2 Procedure

The provider sits down with a patient and provides a psychotherapy session that lasts at least 53 minutes. During this session, the provider performs an additional E/M service.

6.3 Billing Guidelines

Report this add-on code if the session lasts between 53 and 60 minutes. Make sure to bill the primary E/M service as well. Otherwise, payers won’t reimburse CPT 90838 because it is an add-on code.

You can report this add-on code with CPT 99202 until CPT 99255, CPT 99304 until CPT 99337, and CPT 99341 until CPT 99350.

If the psychotherapy session includes interactive complexity services, report CPT 90838 with CPT 90832, CPT 90833, CPT 90834, CPT 90836, CPT 90837, or CPT 90838.

7. Resources



Why does a psychologist's consultation last 50 minutes?

Contents hide

1History of psychotherapy in Russia

1.1 Rapid development

1.2 Soviet Union under Stalin

1. 3 Restoring links


3Personal opinion

4Sources used

50 minutes is the standard time for a psychoanalytic session in the past, present and most likely future.

History of psychotherapy in Russia

If you don't like history, don't read the text until the next heading.

Rapid development

Psychotherapy came to Russia from Europe, first appeared and "moved" psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis came to Russia three times: to Tsarist Russia, to the Soviet Union and to the Russian Federation.

Freud's ideas were easily accepted and assimilated among those who knew foreign languages ​​and were actively involved in the cultural and intellectual life of Europe. nine0003

The first translation of Freud's works into a foreign language was the Russian edition of The Interpretation of Dreams, which was published in 1904, and by 1914, 22 of Freud's works had already been published in Russia. Max Eitingon - a native of Mogilev (modern Belarus) - one of the first and most devoted students of Freud. Nikolai Osipov, Moisei Wulf, Sabina Shpilrein, Tatyana Rosenthal, and other immigrants from Russia studied and received advice, corresponded with Freud, Jung, Abraham, and participated in international congresses. It is impossible not to mention in this series of Russian psychoanalytic celebrities the name of Sergei Pankeev, who went down in the history of psychoanalysis not as a famous colleague or talented student of Freud, but as the Wolf Man from the history of a childhood neurosis. nine0033

Source (3)

Sabina Spielrein and Emilius Meltner were two Russian patients analyzed by C. G. Jung.

The first psychoanalytic movement spread, and in the Soviet Union after the revolution of 1917 in the 1920s experienced its rise (even received state support). In 1922, a Russian psychoanalytic society was formed in Moscow.

Soviet Union under Stalin

After Lenin's death, the political course changes. The date of Lenin's death coincides with 1924, when Russian psychoanalysis received recognition from the IPA (IPA), that is, received the official right to become part of the world movement.

With the coming to power of Stalin, the time of closed borders for psychotherapeutic trends from the West and strict regulations in scientific psychology began.

In 1925, by decision of the authorities, the Psychoanalytic Institute and the orphanage-laboratory were liquidated. Other projects related to psychoanalysis were also closed.

Consciousness has become a priority area of ​​scientific research. Psychoanalysis (not only it, but also other Western areas of psychotherapy) did not fit in not only because of a change in political course, but because of an ideological inconsistency - the broadcast priority of the collective over the individual contradicted the vector of development of psychoanalytic ideas. nine0003

After Stalin's death, a gradual return of psychoanalysis to Russia began, first in the form of scientific research into unconscious processes, and then as a method of psychotherapy.


In 1988, the psychoanalysis section of the Association of Practitioner Psychologists was formed, which in 1995 became an independent organization, called the Moscow Psychoanalytic Society. In 1990 A. Belkin founded the Russian Psychoanalytic Association.

In 1992, the Moscow Association for Analytical Therapy began its existence, in the same year the first official book, The Phenomenon of the Spirit in Art and Science (M. 1992), was published. From 1924 to 1992, translations of some of Jung's major works were pirated. There were also translations made by Medtner and published long ago in Zurich. In case of KGB searches, they always hid behind other books.

In the 1990s, all existing areas of psychotherapy began to flock to Russia again in a stormy stream. Now, in 2015, without going abroad, domestic specialists have the opportunity to learn various areas of counseling and therapy, which are recognized by world associations. nine0003

In the late 1980s, Gestalt therapy came to Russia (which became widespread in the world back in the 60s), psychodrama (1996), neuro-linguistic programming (1989), existentially humanistic psychotherapy (1993 - the first Russian-American conference that laid the foundation for a long-term educational program), systemic family therapy (1998 - the emergence of a society of family counselors and psychotherapists).


Modern psychotherapeutic practices in Russia are visiting guests who, of course, have taken root and have already transformed into something familiar to the Russian soul. But not only these areas have arrived, but also all the norms that have been established in the West: what should be the frequency of sessions, duration, whether it is possible to do double sessions, what rules should be discussed with the client and be a necessary condition for starting cooperation. nine0003

Large-scale scientific research into the psychotherapeutic process was very popular in Europe and America. Early research examined the question of whether psychotherapy is effective versus no intervention or placebo effect; more recent ones have compared different avenues of psychotherapy for effectiveness.

The development of psychotherapy received state support through the popularization of a new profession in the media, insurance companies had to provide the opportunity to receive free psychotherapy (therapists were paid mainly by insurance companies, not real people). But then, the procedure for obtaining free psychotherapeutic assistance became tougher. nine0003

Much emphasis was placed on attempts at standardization.

A common format for receiving therapy had the frequency and duration of the course, depending on the approach in which the specialist practices, and the duration of an individual consultation with a psychologist was 50 minutes . This time came from the consideration of the practical need for the therapist to have time between sessions to go to the toilet, at least one business call, and a couple of minutes of straightening of the sagging parts of the body. I would add to this list that non-stop consulting for more than 4 clients in a row usually results in an inevitable headache. nine0003

In America, this 50-minute format corresponded to the CPT code 90806. But in 2013 it was replaced by three others: 90832 (30 minutes), 90834 (45 minutes) and 90837 (60 minutes). Which has in fact led to the fact that the most common consultation time for therapists has become 45 minutes, or 30 if the therapy is covered by an insurance company. Therefore, people are trying to collect petitions in favor of returning to 50 minute consultations. One of the main arguments is that scientific research - substantiation of the effectiveness of the AT process and the norm of the duration of the course of therapy - was carried out with a session duration of 50 minutes. nine0003

Dual 50-minute sessions (100 minutes) are a must for analytic practice (which suggests a frequency of 4-5 sessions per week) for clients undergoing shuttle analysis, living in the suburbs, or simply burdened by a work schedule. Double sessions, as it were, allow you to carry out the same number of sessions from b to with greater convenience for the client (reducing the travel time by half). But it is impossible not to take into account that this also removes the time required for the “aging of insights” between sessions. nine0003

Personal opinion

Why 50 minutes and not, for example, an hour and a half?

The psychologist is not a character in the real life of the client, not a friend, not a parent or relative. Not a friend, because friends are not paid for the time they spend together and the role of the specialist is different in itself. Ordinary communication is procedural. That is, if you spend a lot of time with someone, this is at the same time one of the key indicators of trust and intensity of relationships (from the series that you don’t exchange impressions with your closest friends, but experience them together). nine0003

The psychologist is not a person to spend time together and live life together. Therefore, in my opinion, interaction with him should be short and as intense as possible in terms of emotions so that in the interval between meetings there is just time for assimilation, working out the experience gained. Lengthening the consultation time "relaxes" both - it is easier to keep the maximum concentration of attention for 50 minutes, not 90. If the time increases, then both the therapist and the client can unwittingly go into emotional energy saving mode. nine0003

And another important factor: 50 minutes is the time that I personally can work with really full dedication with almost anyone. With a duration of 90 minutes with one person, the effectiveness can begin to be affected by irritation, the feeling that the topic of the session is “starting to go in circles”. Perhaps it makes sense that in order to think about some important personal problem or creative task effectively (whether with a psychologist or on your own), you need to think about it without switching for no more than 50 minutes, because then the thought begins to repeat itself, and the look is blurred. nine0003

Sources used

  1. Kantor & Kantor, law firm: http://www.kantorlaw.net/Blog/2013/March/Who-Killed-the-50-minute-session-What-Consumers-.aspx
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330577/
  3. Stavropol Regional Psychoanalytic Association, translation of a report presented at the Norwegian Psychoanalytic Institute, Oslo 2010: http://www.srpa.ru/o-psixoanalize-prosto/90-historiya-psixoanaliza-v-rossii.html
  4. Practice Central: Resources for Practicing Psychologists: http://www. apapracticecentral.org/update/2012/09-13/psychotherapy-billing.aspx
  5. http://horan.asu.edu/cpy702readings/seligman/seligman.html

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How long does a psychological consultation last? | Our freedom

Author: public relations specialist

Oblomov I.I.

Edited by: head of the center

Granopolsky D.S.

In the center of psychological assistance "Nasha Svoboda" consultation is not limited in time by some strict limits. The standard time for a psychoanalytic session is 50-60 minutes. Why is that? Let's figure it out.

First, it is worth noting that despite the active development of psychology and psychotherapy in Russia, it was studied much earlier and more actively in the West, from where many techniques and directions came to us. Together with these "guests" we have adopted some of the norms set by them, including the frequency of sessions and their duration. nine0003

If we look at the situation in the whole world, then such a time may be due to an attempt to standardize the provision of care, because at a certain point in time, insurance companies became obliged to provide free psychotherapy (that is, therapists are paid mainly by insurance companies, and not clients). Most likely, it was the participation of the commercial component in this matter that led to attempts to standardize all sessions in time.

No, the approach and direction practiced by the assisting professional can also affect the length of both the course and the session, but it so happens that the duration of a standard individual psychologist's consultation has become 50 minutes. Why not an hour, you ask? For reasons of practicality, so that the psychologist can have time between sessions (for tea or going to the toilet for example). However, if the specialist does not feel the need for a break, then he can voluntarily meet the client and give him an additional 10 minutes for the session. Sometimes even more if the person scheduled for the next session is delayed for some reason. nine0003

So, as for the West and 50 minutes, in the USA this format corresponded to the CPT code 90806, but in 2013 it was replaced by three others: 90832 (30 minutes), 90834 (45 minutes) and 90837 (60 minutes). We cannot say exactly why this was done, but we know that people are still collecting petitions for a return to 50 minute consultations.

As we said at the beginning of the article, in the center of psychological assistance "Nasha Svoboda" consultation is not limited in time by some strict limits. The main goal of our work is to provide high-quality and complete assistance to people who contact us. nine0003

Some clients, for example, spend the first couple of tens of minutes not opening up and only at the end of a time-limited session become more active. Agree, it will be very unpleasant and even insulting to interrupt the session at the moments when it has already been possible to build a dialogue and achieve the maximum open state from the person.

Learn more