Tag Archives | emergency department

Emergency Care: CDI in the ED Part II

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final installment in a two-part series on clinical documentation integrity (CDI) in the emergency department (ED). It is my opinion that investing CDI resources into the neglected stepchild that is the hospital system ED is a worthwhile endeavor. Getting diagnoses captured early and repeatedly creates performance improvement. Even more importantly, […]

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History of Present Illness Must Be Taken by MD, NPP

Don’t let nurses do the doctor’s work, or risk downcoded E/Ms upon audit.

The only parts of the E/M visit that an RN can document independently are the Review of Systems (ROS), Past, Family, and Social History (PFSH) and Vital Signs, according to a June 4, 2010 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) answer from Palmetto GBA, Part B carrier for Ohio. The physician or mid-level provider must review those three areas and write a statement that the documentation is correct or add to it.

Only the physician or non-physician practitioner who conducts the E/M service can perform the History of Present Illness (HPI),  Palmetto says.

Exception: In some cases, an office or Emergency Department triage nurse can document “pertinent information” regarding the Chief Complaint or HPI, Palmetto says. But you should treat those notes as “preliminary information.” The doctor providing the E/M service must “document that he or she explored the HPI in more detail,” Palmetto explains.

Other payers have expanded on Palmetto’s announcement, letting physicians know that they cannot simply initial the nurse’s documentation. For example, Noridian Medicare publishes a policy that states, “Reviewing information obtained by ancillary staff and writing a declarative sentence does not suffice for the history of present illness (HPI). An example of unacceptable HPI documentation would be ‘I have reviewed the HPI and agree with above.’”

Good news: Thanks to this clarification, your doctor won’t have to repeat the triage nurse’s work. Right now, if the nurse writes “knee pain x 4 days,” at the top of the note, some auditors might insist that your doctor needs to write “knee pain x 4 days” in his/her own handwriting underneath. But that requirement is a thing of the past if your carrier echoes Palmetto’s requirement.

Bad news: Now this carrier has made it…

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Medical Coders: Don’t Let Shorthand Block You From Correct Code

If you have a question, be sure to ask your physician.

Question: A patient reports to the ER at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning. He reports a horrible toothache that started on Friday; he says he planned to “tough it out” over the weekend and see his dentist Monday, but the pain was too severe; he reports 10 on a 10-point pain scale. The ER physician performs an “inf. Aveo block,” according to the notes. What condition do the notes reflect, and how should I code this scenario?

Massachusetts Subscriber

Answer: You should double-check with the physician before filing…

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Emergency Department Specific Exception Allows You to Sidestep Some HPI Rules

Use these FAQs to achieve level 5.

A patient reports to the emergency department in such severe respiratory distress that she cannot communicate during the history of present illness (HPI) portion of the E/M service. The patient also presents to…

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Check for Fracture Diagnosis Before Coding Repair

Don’t code a closed fracture treatment code without more information.

Question: Our orthopedist saw a patient in the emergency department for a gunshot wound and diagnosed a metacarpal fracture. He irrigated the site and removed a foreign body. Can we

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Use Shared Visit to Capitalize on NPP/Physician Teamwork

Forget about incident-to in the facility, but consider this similar billing technique.

ED coders that have never heard of “incident-to” billing have nothing to worry about, as you cannot code for “incident-to” services in the hospital. Coders that don’t understand…

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