Tag Archives | Correct Coding Initiative

64704 Denials? 5 ways to Fix Your Neuroplasty Claims

If you’re just plodding though nerve surgery claims, you could be stepping over a great deal of well-earned reimbursement.  Coding and billing peripheral nerve surgeries for conditions such as tarsal tunnel and diabetic neuropathy can involve a frazzling number of codes.   Podiatry coders often struggle to navigate the various coding guidelines that payers use for these procedures.  Use these five tips to maximize payment for your podiatrist’s hard work on nerve surgeries:

Tip 1: Check CCI edits and your local Medicare guidelines

If you’re billing codes that the Correct Coding Initiative bundles together — and your documentation and diagnosis codes can’t justify breaking the bundle — you’re not going to see one extra cent for that bundled procedure code.

Example: A California Medicare patient injures his foot when he falls off a ladder and requires peripheral nerve surgery to correct the damage the injury caused.  The podiatrist performs the following:

28035 — Release, tarsal tunnel (posterior tibial nerve decompression)

64712 — Neuroplasty, major peripheral nerve, arm or leg, open; sciatic nerve

64704 — Neuroplasty; nerve of hand or foot

+64727 — Internal neurolysis, requiring use of operating microscope (List separately in addition to code for neuroplasty) (Neuroplasty includes external neurolysis)

64708 — Neuroplasty, major peripheral nerve, arm or leg, open; other than specified.

If you report all these codes, you’re bound to get a denial on 64704 — this is one of the codes the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) bundles into 28035.  Unless you can justify billing 64704 separately (and if that’s the case, append modifier 59, Distinct procedural service, to the code), you shouldn’t list it all.

Unbundling is not automatic: Be aware that you can’t automatically override a CCI edit with modifier 59 just because documentation supports a separate site,…

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CCI Edit: 93454-93461 Note These Column Changes For Correct Cardiology Coding

Correct Coding Initiative version 17.1 brings 11,831 new edit pairs, effective April 1 for physicians. That’s the word from a March 17 announcement by Frank Cohen, principal and senior analyst for the Frank Cohen Group. Here’s a look at the major pointers you need to keep in mind to comply with the new cardiology-related edits, including cardiac catheterization, radiological supervision and interpretation, cardiac rehabilitation, and more.

1. Prevent Denials by Remembering 93454-93461 Are Diagnostic

New edits will prevent you from reporting heart catheter/angiography codes 93454- 93461 (column 2) with the following cardiovascular therapeutic services and procedures (column 1):

  • 92975 — Thrombolysis coronary; by intracoronary infusion, including selective coronary angiography
  • 92980 — Transcatheter placement of an intracoronary stent(s), percutaneous, with or without other therapeutic intervention, any method; single vessel
  • 92982 — Percutaneous transluminal coronary balloon angioplasty; single vessel
  • 92995 — Percutaneous transluminal coronary atherectomy, by mechanical or other method, with or without balloon angioplasty; single vessel.

The 929xx codes in column 1 describe coronary therapies. The 934xx codes in column 2 are diagnostic procedures. You should never use the 934xx diagnostic codes in column 2 to report catheter placement and coronary angiography performed as an integral part of the therapeutic column 1 services.

Opportunity: The edits have a modifier indicator of 1, so you may override them with an appropriate modifier when the procedures are distinct. If you report both codes in the edit pair and don’t append a modifier to the column 2 code, Medicare (and payers applying Medicare rules) will reimburse you for only the column 1 code.

The AMA, via CPT Assistant (April 2005), indicates that you may report a true diagnostic catheterization in addition to the therapeutic procedures described by 92980 and 92982: “These two distinct procedures (diagnostic catheterization and therapeutic procedures), therefore, should…

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Phototherapy: 96900 or 96910? Check Out These FAQs to Narrow Down On Correct Option

If your dermatologist is treating vitiligo or dychromia patients with phototherapy, read your physician’s documentation carefully to determine what type of light, wavelength, and materials he used. These two frequently asked questions will help you combat both E/M and multi equipment correct coding initiative (CCI) situations.

Evaluate These Phototherapy + E/M Tips

If you’re charging for an office visit on the same day as phototherapy, your reimbursement may depend on whether your physician’s documentation warrants a different diagnosis code. Payers may reimburse at times if the doctor sees the patient for a different problem, thus with a different diagnosis code, experts say.

Example: If your physician performs 99212 (Office or other outpatient visit for the evaluation and management of an established patient … Physicians typically spend 10 minutes face-to-face with the patient and/or family) with phototherapy, you will bill it with modifier 25 (Significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service by the same physician on the same day of the procedure or other service) on the E/M service. You can only consider reporting modifier 25 when coding an E/M service, Janet Palazzo, CPC, a coder in Cherry Hill, N.J., says. Remember your E/M documentation has to show medical necessity for the additional work.

If you reported the nurse visit code 99211 (Office or other outpatient visit for the evaluation and management of an established patient, that may not require the presence of a physician …), your payer would likely consider it bundled into the light treatment.

Ask 2 Questions to Choose Best Light Therapy Code

For patients with vitiligo (709.01), your dermatologist may use narrow band UVB phototherapy.

The dermatologist administers phototherapy two to three times per week for several months until the patient achieves repigmentation of the skin. For this procedure, you need to pinpoint what types the…

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CCI UPDATE 97597-97598: CCI Will Correct Debridement Glitch

Hang on to your claims for these wound care management codes.

As most veteran coders know, you can’t report an add-on code unless you report it along with its “parent code” on the same claim. But an NCCI glitch has made it impossible for you to collect for both the debridement add-on code 97598 and its partner code 97597 — creating denied claims and confusion for practices that perform active wound care management. However, a new announcement indicating that the NCCI is fixing the problem should ease your coding angst.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) issued a release on its Web site stating that the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits currently bundle the following two codes together:

97597 — Debridement (eg, high pressure waterjet with/without suction, sharp selective debridement with scissors, scalpel and forceps), open wound, (eg, fibrin, devitalized epidermis and/or dermis, exudate, debris, biofilm), including topical application(s), wound assessment, use of a whirlpool, when performed and instruction(s) for ongoing care, per session, total wound(s) surface area; first 20 sq cm or less
+97598 — …each additional 20 sq cm, or part thereof (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure)

This edit bundle has an indicator of “0,” meaning that no modifier can separate these codes. Fortunately, the APMA caught the error and contacted the NCCI director about it.

“The NCCI is currently working on a solution and recommends that APMA members delay submission of claims reporting combination of CPT 97597 and CPT 97598 until the NCCI replacement file is in place and implemented by CMS,” the APMA’s statement says. “The April 1, 2011 version of NCCI does not contain this edit error.”

The APMA has not yet gotten word on whether Medicare contractors will automatically reprocess claims that were paid in error…

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Make Sure To Check CCI Before You Use The New 2011 Codes

Capture additional pay by separating wound care management codes 97597-97602 from the newly revised debridement codes.

Every year, just when you’re trying to get used to new CPT codes, the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) comes along and limits how and when you can use the new codes you’ve been given. This year is no exception with CCI 17.0 adding edits involving new Renessa and posterior tibial neurostimulator (PTNS) codes, among others.

The CCI released version 17.0, revealing 19,822 new active pairs and 9,778 code pair deletions, said Frank D. Cohen, MPA, MBB, senior analyst with The Frank Cohen Group, LLC, in a Dec. 14 announcement.

Many of the new code pair additions involve CPT codes that debuted on Jan. 1, 2011 with CCI getting ready to halt payment if you report certain procedures together. Get a grip on the new bundles with this urology-focused rundown.

CPT 2011 deleted Category III code 0193T (Transurethral, radiofrequency microremodeling of the female bladder neck and proximal urethra for stress urinary incontinence), replacing it with a new Category I code 53860 with the same descriptor. CCI targets 53860 with several edits.

When your urologist performs the Renessa procedure, you’ll report 53860, says Michael A. Ferragamo, MD, FACS, clinical assistant professor of urology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

As of Jan. 1, when 53860 became an active code, CCI 17.0 created edit pairs with the following column 2 codes that Medicare considers usual and necessary parts of any surgery:

  • Venipuncture, IV, infusion, or arterial puncture services represented by codes 36000, 36400- 36440, 36600-36640, and 37202
  • Naso- or oro-gastric tube placement (43752)
  • Bladder catheterization (51701-51703).

“In general CPT code 53680 would include catheter placement for temporary postoperative urinary drainage at the conclusion of the procedure, and therefore, these latter…

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96446 And Dozen Others Join The List of CCI Edits

Effective Jan. 1, 2011, new CPT codes and, inevitably, new Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) physician edits are there for physicians. For version 17.0, “19,822 new edit pairs have been added to the database while 9,778 have been terminated, for a net gain of 10,044 new edit pairs,” according to Frank Cohen, MPA, MBB, of the Frank Cohen Group, in his Dec. 14, 2010, “NCCI Version 17.0 Change Analysis” announcement.

The main edits you want to be sure to watch for are those related to new code 96446 (Chemotherapy administration to the peritoneal cavity via indwelling port or catheter).

The 96446 non-mutually exclusive (NME) edits are largely what you would expect based on other chemotherapy code edits — bundles with E/M, anesthesia, venipuncture and other vascular procedures, for example. You want to be sure to watch which is the column 1 code and which is the column 2 code for these bundles.

CCI places E/M codes 99217-99239 in the column 1 position and 96446 in the column 2 position. On the other hand, CCI places 96446 in the column 1 position and E/M codes 99201-99215 in the column 2 position, as shown below:

Column 1 Column 2
99217-99239 96446
96446 99201-99215

Remember that if you report both codes in an NME edit pair without a modifier, Medicare (and payers who adopt these edits) will deny the column 2 code and pay you only for the column 1 code. The edits in the table above all have a modifier indicator of 1, meaning that you may override the edits with a modifier when appropriate, such as in the case of distinct,…

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2011 Medical Coding Updates Are Available on Supercoder.com

Raise your glass to the new year without worries of 2011 medical code changes. SuperCoder’s got you covered with new CPT codes, CCI edits, and supply coding revisions.
Starting Dec. 31, SuperCoder.com will offer the complete codesets for CPT 2011…

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Is 99211 + 95115 OK?

Question: If a nurse has to check vitals to make sure an allergy injection is the correct quantity or if she has to educate the patient about the administration or side effects of the injections, we’ve been billing 99211 with 95115 or 95117. There is…

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Calculi Coding: Capture Full Pay for Multiple Fragmentations

When your urologist fragments more than one stone located in two different locations within the urinary tract during one operative session, the proper coding might leave you scratching your head: Can you ever report both procedures? If you can, how do you sequence the codes? Tackle these tough questions by reviewing a sample scenario.

Your urologist performs a ureteroscopic laser lithotripsy of a left ureteral stone and lithotripsy of a bladder stone. How should you code these procedure performed during one operative session?

Separately Report Procedures Based on Anatomy

Depending on where the stones are in the urinary tract, you may be able to separately report and be paid for multiple fragmentation procedures during the same session. For a ureteroscopic fragmentation of a ureteral or renal pelvic stone your urologist performs, you’ll report 52353 (Cystourethroscopy, with ureteroscopy and/or pyeloscopy; with lithotripsy [ureteral catheterization is included]). Remember that 52353 applies to “any type of fragmentation, whether you use a Holmium laser, a Candela laser, a mechanical lithotripsy, or an ultrasonic lithotripter,” says Michael A. Ferragamo, MD, FACS, clinical assistant professor of urology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. If your urologist also fragments a bladder calculus during the same session, your coding will then depend on the different and separate anatomical location of the stones. Therefore, in the sample scenario, you can separately report those procedures. “We are dealing with two separate portions or parts of the urinary tract – a ureteral stone and a bladder stone,” Ferragamo explains.

According to the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI), codes 52317 (Litholapaxy: crushing or fragmentation of calculus by any means in bladder and removal of fragments; simple or small [less than 2.5 cm]) and 52318 (…complicated or large [over 2.5 cm]) are bundled with 52353. Because both bundles have a…

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No Correct Coding Initiative Bundle? Find Modifier Details in MPFS.

Question: Sometimes I cannot find my two-code pair in the CCI edits. How do I know which code would be considered a column 1 code and which would be considered a column 2 code, so that I could put my modifier on the correct code?

Answer: If the codes are not listed, the codes are not bundled per the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI). You would not need a CCI modifier, such as 25 (Significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service by the same physician on  the same day of the procedure or other service), 57 (Decision for surgery), or 59 (Distinct procedural service), to override the edit when appropriate.

A private payer could have a black box edit. You would need to check with a rep for a recommendation.

Watch out: Just because a code does not have a bundle in CCI does not mean a modifier is out of the picture. While you won’t need a CCI modifier to override the edit, you might need apayment modifier.

You can find Medicare’s other allowed modifiers for any given CPT code in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). Columns Y-AC indicate if modifier 51 (Multiple procedure), 50 (Bilateral procedure), etc. apply.

To determine which code receives modifier 51, you need to know the code’s relative value units, which are also listed in the MPFS. Private payers may not adjust claim items in descending order as Medicare’s Outpatient Code Editor software does. If you append modifier 51 to a higher valued item, the private payer may apply the adjustment based on your coding, costing you payment. You should instead list the items in descending relative value order from highest to lowest. Append modifier 51 to the lower priced procedure as necessary. The insurer will then apply the typical 50 percent,…

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