Tag Archives | Specificity

ICD-10 Specificity Has Providers Bracing for Denials

A year after the much-hyped switch to the ICD-10 diagnostic coding library, healthcare providers now face pressures to assign codes with the right degree of specificity or risk claim denials. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ended its grace period for unspecified codes on Medicare fee-for-service claims on Oct. 1, commercial insurers are […]

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Two New CPT Codes Lend Specificity to Interstitial Device Coding

Until now, you could not code for the additional service — and hence not get the pay — when your general surgeon placed interstitial devices for radiation therapy guidance during a distinct open or laparoscopic abdominal procedure. But two new CPT 2011 codes for the procedure help you capture all the pay you deserve.

Open, Lap, or Percutaneous Approach Distinguish Placement

Last year, you had one code to use when your surgeon placed an abdominal interstitial device for radiation therapy guidance — 49411 (Placement of interstitial device[s] for radiation therapy guidance [e.g., fiducial markers, dosimeter], percutaneous, intra-abdominal, intra-pelvic [except prostate], and/or retroperitoneum, single or multiple).

“If your surgeon performed the device placement during an open or laparoscopic procedure prior to 2011, you had no way to capture the service,” says Marcella Bucknam, CPC, CCS-P, CPC-H, CCS, CPC-P, COBGC, CCC, manager of compliance education for the University of Washington Physicians Compliance Program in Seattle.

Now CPT 2011 adds two new add-on codes to describe interstitial device placement during another procedure, as follows:

  • +49327 — Laparoscopy, surgical; with placement of interstitial device[s] for radiation therapy guidance [e.g., fiducial markers, dosimeter], intra-abdominal, intrapelvic, and/or retroperitoneum, including imaging guidance, if performed, single or multiple [List separately in addition to code for primary procedure])
  • +49412 — Placement of interstitial device[s] for radiation therapy guidance [e.g., fiducial markers, dosimeter], open, intra-abdominal, intrapelvic, and/or retroperitoneum, including image guidance, if performed, single or multiple [List separately in addition to code for primary procedure]).

Choose +49327 for a laparoscopic approach, and +49412 for an open procedure. “Note that these are add-on codes, which means you can report them only in addition to a primary procedure,” Bucknam advises.

Continue to report 49411 for percutaneous interstitial device placement as a stand-alone procedure.

Use codes 49411, +49412, and +49327…

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ICD-9 2011: Avoid H1N1, Fecal Incontinence Denials With 5th Digit Savvy

488.1x Cheat sheet makes fast work of snagging correct code.

Don’t let rumors of few ICD-9 changes in prep for ICD-10 blindside you to top diagnosis changes for 2011. Without the scoop on expansion to the 488, 784, and 787 categories, denials for invalid codes will derail your claims delaying your payments.

In ICD-9 2011, “Codes continue to become more and more specific necessitating a provider to document clearly and thoroughly to allow for selection of the most specific and accurate code,” says Jennifer Swindle, RHIT, CCS-P, CEMC, CFPC, CCP-P, PCS, Director Coding & Compliance Division, PivotHealth, LLC.

Good news: Updating your ICD-9 coding by the Oct. 1, 2010, effective date doesn’t have to be a chore. Start using your new choices in no time flat following these guidelines.

Look at Manifestation When Assigning “Swine Flu” Dx

This fall, when a patient has H1N1 (“swine flu”) pay attention to two details. The medical record will have to identify the correct influenza and you will have to capture the appropriate manifestation to select the codes to the degree of specificity now required, Swindle points out.

With the change “category 488 (Influenza due to certain identified influenza viruses) would mirror the structure of category 487 (Influenza),” according to the Summary of March 2010 ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee Meeting. The current 488.x sub-category didn’t provide the level of detail that category 487 (Influenza) does.

Change: There will be “tremendous expansion of the H1N1 category,” Swindle explains. ICD-9 2011 deletes 488.0 and 488.1 and adds six new five-digit codes. New codes 488.0x (Influenza due to identified avian influenza virus) and 488.1x (Influenza due to identified novel H1N1 influenza virus) allow you “to uniquely capture pneumonia, other respiratory manifestations, and other manifestations occurring with these types of influenza,” states the summary.

Starting Oct….

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Avoid CVA Diagnosis Coding Pitfalls with 438.13, 438.14

You’ll turn to a V code when your neurologist reports ‘no effects,’ however.

When your neurologist sees a patient who had a stroke, either recently or in the distant past, he may record a number of different conditions — which makes your job more difficult. If you remember a few guidelines, you’ll select the proper ICD-9 codes for every cerebrovascular accident (CVA) case your neurologist treats.

Get Specific With 2 CVA Diagnosis Codes

When your neurologist sees a patient who has had a stroke, or CVA, he may document multiple deficiencies, both new and lingering. When the patient presents with…

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EM CODING: Don’t Bill High-Level E&M Codes Until You Read This

Sicker patients may not always mean higher MDM.

If your physician bills a lot of high-level office visits, he may be at risk of an audit — which may not be cause for concern — if his documentation justifies his…

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Coding Generalized Bronchitis? Prepare for Denials

Relying on the physician’s encounter form could be a big mistake.

Question: I used 491.9 to report a patient’s bronchitis, but the payer denied my claim and requested additional information. What was wrong?

Vermont Subscriber

Answer: Your claim may have…

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