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Category Archives: Medical coder certification updates

“pelvic calcifications” on radiology scan’

I know this is interventional but I didn’t see a thread for Diagnostic Radiology.
I was hoping to find clarity with the radiologist’s wording for ‘pelvic calcifications’ as to what the diagnosis
code would be.
The radiologist almost always says ‘which are most likely phleboliths’. But with saying "most likely", I don’t think I should code as such, right?

When I look up definition……

Calcification in pelvis:
Calcification is the accumulation of calcium salts in a body tissue. It normally occurs in the formation of bone, but calcium can be deposited abnormally in soft tissue, causing it to harden. Calcifications may be classified on whether there is mineral balance or not, and the location of the calcification. Calcification may also refer to the processes of normal mineral deposition in biological systems, such as the formation of stromatolites or mollusc shells.

Phlebolith Definition……
A phlebolith is a small local, usually rounded, calcification within a vein. These are very common in the veins of the lower part of the pelvis, and they are generally of no clinical importance. When located in the pelvis they are sometimes difficult to differentiate from kidney stones in the ureters on X-ray.

I was thinking possibly just abnormal findings on abdominal radiology scan? R93.5 (??)

Medical Billing and Coding Forum – Interventional Radiology

SNF therapy contracts: Your risks and what you need to know Q&A

SNF therapy contracts: Your risks and what you need to know Q&A

Editor’s note: The following Q&A was written by Reginald Hislop III.

 

Q: When we receive proposals from various therapy companies, they all represented that they would increase our Part A and Part B billings. Should this somehow be incorporated into the ­contract?

 

A: Yes. Absolutely. If they’re willing to say that to you and they tell you, "That’s the reason why you’re going to go with us is because we’re going to do this," I am going to hold them accountable for that, and I first want to know how you determine that and how are you going to do that because I’m going to tell them right there before we even get to a contract, I’m going to say that they need to fundamentally prove it. How do you know it, how’s it going to happen, and be prepared because yeah, you’re going to put in the contract, you’re going to represent it, it’s going to be legal and you’re going to do it over what period of time? I’m then going to hold them accountable for it.

Otherwise, it becomes a common game of therapy contractors: "We’re going to make your world so much better than the last group that was in here." I’ve never seen a contractor come in and say, "We looked at your last experience with your last therapy contractor and the amount of stuff that they were doing, and by the way, we got to tell you, it really makes us nervous, and fundamentally if you go with us, we’re going to shrink your revenue by 15% because we think there’s a whole bunch of erroneous and falsely billed claims." I’ve never seen that happen. Everybody comes in and says, "Yes, we can improve your performance over this group, and we’re going to do it by a pretty impressive margin, and your revenue is going to go up, your claims are going to go up." I want to know how they’re going to do that, I want it in the contract, and I want full transparency. I want to know over what time period, because without that, they haven’t actually validated they will be able to do that. That’s a standard pitch, and they have never yet been expected in many cases to be accountable for those kind of numbers. It’s just a sales pitch, but, if they’re going to say it, I want it in the contract.

 

Q: Would the indemnification clause you mentioned, indemnification not just for the therapy component but the whole amount?how can the therapy company indemnify money they did not receive?

 

A: How can they indemnify money they did not receive? We’re not talking about necessarily indemnification for money they received. We’re talking about indemnification for services that they provided as part of the representation that all of our services that we provide are going to be compliant and in concert with the law. Since the SNF is responsible for that, my responsibility then is to negotiate with that company and say, "By the way, if in fact we’re involved in this work and you’re going to be part of this process and you’re going to have input in terms of what we RUG, what we bill, part of our triple check and all the rest of that other kind of stuff, there is dollars on the table, and anything that you did that was illegal, unethical, or improper that caused us to lose revenue as a result of your actions and your documentation, all those other kinds of things because you’re going to represent to me that you’re going to do this, you’re going to properly manage and supervise your employees and all those other kinds of things, that if in fact you didn’t do that, you’re going to be responsible not just for what we paid you but also for what your bad acts caused this facility." Yes, I can indemnify them for that because they are part and parcel to that. They’re going to represent to me that they’re going to do this the right way, and if they don’t, then they’re going to have shared risk for anything that occurs that they were responsible for or could be tied to them that cost my facility money or my organization money.

 

Q: How do we hold the therapy provider accountable for an 80% productivity level?

 

A: You actually monitor their productivity levels. Their treatment records should be open. Their minutes should be open. I should be able to see when they were on-site, what their time was spent on this site, what I was billed for because I’m being billed for their time. And I should be able to go to treatment logs and treatment records and look at what their billing time was and their documentation time was, and I can quickly do a simple calculation that says if I had a physical therapist here for eight hours and she was here for four days a week or five days a week, I ought to be able to convert that based on treatment records and treatment logs to what her productivity percentage was, what her care percentage time was, and it better not be more than 80%.

 

Q: Our present contract doesn’t include much of anything you mentioned. How do we change it or get the therapy provider to go along with your recommendation?

 

A: There are two ways to do that. One is basically to tell them you attended this seminar and their contract stinks and you want to renegotiate it. I don’t know what your out clauses look like in your contracts. Typically there will be some kind of out clause that will allow you some leverage. If not, when your contract comes up for renewal, make them well aware that these are all going to be key components of your RFP process. You’re going to put it out there, you’re going to bid them unless they’re going to come to the table and do it, they’re not going to have this contract anymore, and generally I have suggested providers to tell them this in advance, good advance. Tell them, "[We] might be six months away from when our contract renews, but here’s a list of the things that we’re going to require of you going forward. So, if you want to keep this contract, we can talk about this now or you can basically be assured that if you’re not going to do this now or have some conversation with us now, chances are relatively poor that you will retain this contract." I haven’t seen a contractor yet that won’t under certain circumstances if you raise most of these issues, at least be willing to start conversations with them about them.

 

Q: What tools do you suggest in guiding SNF therapists into making appropriate decisions regarding choosing a RUG?

A: Again, the best process for this is your triple check. There are some very good software programs out there, and I’m not going to try to pitch too many companies, but most software programs, AOD does a good job. Rehab Optima also does a good job. Develop a good triple-check process, have good education, make sure your MDS coordinator is certified, RAC certified as part of this process. The RAC certification and staying current on the certification is amajor help in terms of appropriate RUGs based on the documentation. Use your triple check, have everybody together in terms of being able to access and identify your MDSs, what your sections mean, what your documentation is to support your RUG categories. It’s not that difficult, but it does require some work, and it’s really critical that you have good software and a good MDS coordinator who’s RAC certified.

If you don’t have a good MDS coordinator or a coordinator that is RAC certified, rent one. There are services out there that you can go to that will in fact help you through that process on a monthly basis. It will cost you a little money up front, and in the interim get somebody on your staff RAC certified.

 

Q: Can you explain the in-house hybrid model in greater detail?

A: Sure. The in-house hybrid model works exactly like this: For all intents and purposes we bifurcate the issues. We say, "All right, what we need is we need staff therapists or we need access to staff therapists, and we can do that, but we don’t know how to do that as a facility." We’re not sure where to go, we’re not sure how to recruit, we don’t know how much they should be paid, job descriptions, all the rest of that other kind of stuff, and the one thing that we definitely don’t have expertise in maybe is managing a therapy department, is managing a therapy company. And we’ve heard horror stories about how hard it is to find good rehab directors, how much you pay, you know, all that kind of stuff.

What we do is essentially bifurcate the issues. We say, "All right, here’s the deal. Let’s go get a company who isn’t going to provide the therapy and has no interest in doing that or billing us for that, but is going to help us set up our program." So we’re going to go to one of the qualified companies that are out there that do this, and what they’re going to do is they’re going to come in, they’re going to do an assessment for us, which should be very low cost, to look at our operations, look at what we’re billing, look at our Medicare utilization, and give us a proposal that basically says, "Hey, here is what our department from our perspective would look like. Here’s how many PT hours you need, OT hours, speech therapy, staffing requirements, you know, rates of pay and all that other kind of stuff. We’re going to help you do that. We’re going to put this together and give you a pro forma, show you how this pays for itself and all this other kind of stuff.

"In the meantime, what we’re going to do as well is if you want to proceed down this path, we’re going to do that for you in concert with you. We will recruit, we will hire, we’ll give you job descriptions which we have. We have policies, we have procedures, we can give you a turn-key therapy company, and what we will do is we will be your therapy director fundamentally. We’ll be the folks who manage your therapists. We’ll watch those productivities. We’ll do the education. We’ll do all those kinds of things for you and in partnership with you, and the therapists that will be on site will be 100% your skilled nursing facility employees. They are your employees. You pay them. They’re your benefits. They’re subject to all your rules and regulations and all that kind of stuff, and we’ll just help you manage them. We’ll provide better oversight, and we’ll provide the infrastructure that’s necessary for a therapy department and a therapy program including ongoing education and RUG support and QA and all that kind of stuff. And we do that for a flat fee each month or a percentage of your ultimate therapy department revenue, etc."

HCPro.com – Billing Alert for Long-Term Care

Q&A: Submitting claims for observation services

Q: Did something change with the observation services Composite APC in 2016? The director of patient financial services says we no longer receive payment for it.

A: The observation services Composite APC (APC 8009) was replaced with a single comprehensive APC (C-APC 8011) for CY 2016. Along with the new C-APC comes new status indicator J2. Services assigned to J2 are considered to be adjunctive services and components of C-APC 8011, and this will result in a single payment for these services reported as part of the comprehensive observation services APC. The J2 designation and the payment are based at the claims level and not per date of service.
 
The good news is that the requirements to meet the observation services C-APC are the same as for the Composite APC (e.g., clinic/ED visit, 8 or more units of G0378, etc.). Even more good news is that the ED visit level requirement now includes all Type A and Type B ED levels and critical care; the level is no longer limited to the higher ED visit levels.
 
Be sure that all services provided continue to be reported to insure that all costs pertaining to the individual patient’s scenario are included in your claims data. CMS will continue to expect and rely on the claims data for rate setting under the OPPS.
 
For more information, see the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 4, sections 10.2.1, 10.2.3, 10.4, 290.5.1. 290.5.2 and new section 290.5.3.
 
Editor’s note: Denise Williams, RN, CPC-H, seniorvice president of revenue integrity services at Revant Solutions,in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, answered this question.

HCPro.com – APCs Insider

Coding QW with code 87046

I am a CPC-A and have a question on QW modifier for the code 87046 I have done some researching with nothing stating that the code 87046 needs a QW modifier. We have a clia certification for the clinic trying to bill this code but it’s being denied by Medicare without the modifier QW. Is it appropriate to bill this with a QW or not?

Medical Billing and Coding Forum – Pathology & Clinical Laboratory

Is the 2-midnight rule going away and when will short-stay audits resume?

Is the 2-midnight rule going away and when will short-stay audits resume?

Learning objective

At the completion of this educational activity, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify updates to CMS’ 2-midnight rule and best practices for compliance.

 

Every couple months, it seems questions arise about the 2-midnight rule and there are rumors that it may be going away. Below are some questions with answers from our expert Ronald Hirsch, MD, FACP, CHCQM, vice president of the Regulations and Education Group at Accretive Health in Chicago, to clarify where things stand today with regard to the 2-midnight rule.

 

Q: I heard the 2-midnight rule is now gone based on changes to Medicare payment rates under the 2017 inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) final rule. Is this true, and if not, what changed?

 

A: No, this is not the case. The 2-midnight rule is still alive and kicking. What the FY 2017 IPPS final rule did is finalize two adjustments in addition to updating the annual rate for inpatient hospital payments.

"First, CMS is finalizing the last year of recoupment adjustments required by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA). Section 631 of ATRA requires CMS to recover $ 11 billion by FY 2017 to fully recoup documentation and coding overpayments related to the transition to the MS-DRGs that began in FY 2008," states the CMS Fact Sheet. "For FYs 2014, 2015, and 2016, CMS implemented a series of cumulative -0.8 percent adjustments. For FY 2017, CMS calculates that $ 5.05 billion of the $ 11 billion requirement remains to be addressed. Therefore, CMS is finalizing a -1.5 percent adjustment to complete the statutorily specified recoupment."

And the second part of the change, which seems to be causing the confusion, is CMS took action on a -0.2 percent adjustment it implemented in the FY 2014 IPPS final rule.

This adjustment was initially made to account for an estimated increase in Medicare spending due to the 2-midnight policy. "Specifically, in the FY 2014 IPPS final rule, CMS estimated that this policy would increase expenditures and accordingly made an adjustment of -0.2% to the payment rates," states the fact sheet.

While CMS thought this adjustment was reasonable at the time, a recent review led CMS to permanently remove this adjustment, "and its effects for FYs 2014, 2015, and 2016 by adjusting the 2017 payment rates. This will increase FY 2017 payments by approximately 0.8%," stated CMS.

Hirsch says this move is "purely about money." "They are leaving the 2-midnight rule itself completely intact," he says.

The bottom line: Pay attention to 2-midnight compliance and ensure your organization has good systems in place to support it.

 

Q: When are Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organizations (BFCC-QIO) short-stay reviews going to resume?

 

A: Back in May, CMS put a hold on short-stay inpatient audits related to the 2-midnight rule. That hold was lifted effective September 12, 2016, according to a FAQ published by CMS (http://ow.ly/DQxW304bCa6).

According to the FAQ, CMS decided to lift this temporary suspension for five reasons, which are as follows:

  1. BFCC-QIOs were successfully retrained on 2-midnight rule
  2. BFCC-QIOs finished a re-review of claims that were formally denied
  3. CMS "examined and validated the BFCC-QIOs peer review activities related to short-stay reviews"
  4. BFCC-QIOs reached out to providers on claims that were affected by the temporary suspension
  5. BFCC-QIOs started provider outreach and education on the 2-midnight rule

It appears that based on the five points, the temporary audit suspension accomplished its goal of helping BFCC-QIOs sort out the challenges they faced during the initial round of audits.

Prior to the suspension, hospitals complained about inconsistencies in the review process, which triggered the suspension. The BFCC-QIO audits began in October 2015, and hospitals reported a number of surprises including:

  • Auditors requested records as far back as May 2015 when many believed the audits would only look at records from 2015 forward
  • BFCC-QIOs missed deadlines, and provided audit results late
  • Failure by BFCC-QIOs to schedule timely education for providers

 

These problems made it difficult for hospitals to hit filing deadlines, and they were consequently reporting problems because they missed the window to appeal denied claims. Hospitals also didn’t have a chance to get education to understand what they were doing wrong to fix the problem.

There were also rumored problems related to benchmark admissions. Hospitals reported that BFCC-QIOs were routinely and in some cases inappropriately denying inpatient admissions when the patient spent one night as an outpatient in the emergency department or in observation services before he or she was admitted?even when the patient spent a second night in the hospital as an inpatient.

To prevent future problems, CMS said in its FAQ that it will continue to provide oversight for BFCC-QIO efforts by:

  • Reviewing a sample of completed claim reviews each month
  • Monitoring provider education calls
  • Responding to individual provider inquiries and concern. Providers may send questions to the CMS Open Door Forum Mailbox at ODF@cms.hhs.gov.

 

CMS also said that BFCC-QIOs will continue tofollow the guidance called, "Reviewing Short-Stay Hospital Claims for Patient Status." To see a copy ofthe guidance, go to www.cms.gov/research-statistics- data-and-systems/monitoring-programs/medicare-ffs- compliance-programs/medical-review/inpatienthospitalreviews.html.   

The BFCC-QIOs will also be charged with providing provider education going forward. "The BFCC-QIOs were directed to use comprehensive outreach and communication approaches (i.e., website, newsletter, one-on-one training, and town hall type events) to continue to educate providers on when payment under Medicare Part A is appropriate under the 2-midnight policy," states the FAQ. "BFCC-QIOs are required to educate providers using quality improvement core principles that facilitate continuous learning and promote greater provider understanding of the appropriate application of the 2-midnight policy in accordance with the revisions in the CY 2016 OPPS Final Rule (CMS-1633-FC): www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/HospitalOutpatientPPS/Hospital-Outpatient-Regulations-and-Notices-Items/CMS-1633-FC.html."

Now that audits have resumed, organizations should maintain a focus on 2-midnight compliance. Below are some tips Hirsch has recommended in the past, including:

  • Reviewing every short-stay admission?those between zero and one day?prior to billing.
  • Ensuring that every patient’s status is appropriate up front. Reviewing the chart of every patient that goes upstairs.
  • Using the physician advisor to check compliance on cases that are murky to ensure that they meet one of the exceptions under the 2-midnight rule. Changing cases that don’t meet an exception using condition code 44. If the problem isn’t discovered until after discharge, self-deny and rebill the claim.
  • Ensuring that the case managers and the physicians are up to date about any potential changes to the 2-midnight rule and how to comply.

 

HCPro.com – Case Management Monthly

Independent Coding Contractors

If anyone provides independent contract coding please consider a listing at CodersDirect.com.

Each participant receives a mini website in CodersDirect.com where they can display a list of services and other pertinent details. Participants benefit from our 40,000 weekly views and will be included in all marketing efforts.

If interested please view the following link or contact me directly.

http://codersdirect.com/directory/index.php

Thanks,

Mark Sluyter
Msluyter@CodersDirect.com

Medical Billing and Coding Forum – Neurology/Neurosurgery

AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-10 covers orthopedic, cardiovascular coding

by Shannon E. McCall, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CPC, CPC-I, CEMC, CCDS
 
Some interesting tidbits of information can be gleaned from the most recent release of the AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-10-CM/PCS to help coders as they work in the new code set.
 
I never thought I’d be so eager to read a release about coding instead of the newest James Patterson novel, but this newsletter highlighted topics such as orthopedic screw removals, revision of total knee replacements, heart failure with pleural effusions, leadless pacemakers, the Glasgow Coma Scale, and decompression of the spinal cord. 
 
Orthopedics
Typically, when we see that a device is loose or breaking, we automatically think "that shouldn’t happen," so we opt to code a complication of the device. Well, when this occurs in an orthopedic screw as an expected outcome (typically when the patient begins bearing weight during the recovery/healing process), it should not be coded as a complication.
 
The correct diagnosis codes would be assigned for the specified fracture site with a seventh character identifying a subsequent encounter with routine healing, along with the external cause code (if known), also as a subsequent encounter. (Remember that place of occurrence, activity, and status codes should only be used for the initial encounter, per the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting.)
The ICD-10-PCS root operation would be Removal (third character P) for the removal of the screw from the specified bone.
 
On the other hand, some orthopedic devices can present real complications necessitating removal and replacement. For example, a patient may be admitted for a painful total knee replacement, initial encounter (T84.84xA). In order to remedy this situation, the previously placed components (tibial and femoral) are removed and replaced with new components. This ­scenario leads coders to ponder whether this should be considered a Revision or Replacement, or perhaps something else.
 
ICD-10-PCS defines a Revision as "correcting, to the extent possible, a portion of a malfunctioning device or the position of a displaced device." In this case, the prosthesis isn’t working exactly the way it should, but the ICD-10-PCS Reference Manual states that "putting in a whole new device or a complete redo is coded to the root operation(s) performed."
 
Therefore, the correct root operations would be Removal (P) for taking out the old components, then a Replacement (third character R) for putting in/on a synthetic material that takes the place of the body part. 
 
Cardiovascular
I am confident many coders noticed that the codes for heart failure (category I50) are mostly identical to their ICD-9-CM counterparts.
 
But one thing that probably raised some eyebrows for coders was the Excludes2 note at category J91 (Pleural effusion in conditions classified elsewhere), which seemed to state that a code from category J91 would be assigned as an additional code when seen "in heart failure."
 
Of course, most coders will recall that in ICD-9-CM we normally could not assign a separate code for this situation, based off information in AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-9-CM, Third Quarter 1991. The new issue provides clarification that the same rules apply in ICD-10-CM for pleural effusions seen in heart failure patients.
 
The pleural effusions would only be reported separately if therapeutic/diagnostic interventions are required. Pleural effusion is commonly seen with congestive heart failure (CHF) with or without pulmonary edema. Usually, the effusion is minimal and resolves with aggressive treatment of the underlying CHF.
 
The issue also addresses the correct coding of a newer procedure performed for heart blocks: the insertion of leadless pacemakers. You may have asked, as I did, how in the world does this device work if there are no leads to provide the electrical impulses?
 
This technology has been explored for many years and is finally here. Current pacemaker devices are susceptible to issues such as lead failure or malpositioning, as well as pulse generator pocket complications, such as scar formation or even just the visible presence of the device. In contrast, these new cylindrical devices fit directly into the right ventricle, accessed via a transcatheter approach and placed into the endocardial tissue of the right ventricular apex to provide pacing capabilities.
 
For coding purposes, the ICD-10-PCS table 02H (Insertion, heart and/or great vessels) does not provide a specific device option for a leadless pacemaker. The correct device character should be D (intraluminal device). The full ICD-10-PCS code to be assigned is 02HK3DZ (Insertion of intraluminal device into right ventricle, percutaneous) to identify a leadless pacemaker. 
 
Neurology
Revisions in ICD-10-CM allow coders not only to report a coma (R40.20-, unspecified coma) but also to report codes that incorporate a common tool to assess the depth and duration of comas or impaired consciousness, known as the Glasgow Coma Scale.
 
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this scale helps to gauge the impact of a variety of conditions, such as acute brain damage due to traumatic and vascular injuries or infections and metabolic disorders (e.g., hepatic or renal failure, hypoglycemia, diabetic ketosis).
 
ICD-10-CM contains subcategories to report the three elements that go into calculating the coma scale:
  • R40.21-, coma scale, eyes open
  • R40.22-, coma scale, best verbal response
  • R40.23-, coma scale, best motor response 
If coders opt to use this reporting option, three codes must be assigned to identify each of the three elements.
 
Codes for the individual Glasgow Coma Scale scores from these categories can be assigned if the provider documents the numeric values, as opposed to the physical descriptions associated with those numeric values.
 
The eye opening response is scored as follows:
  • 4, spontaneous eye opening
  • 3, eyes open to speech
  • 2, eyes open to pain
  • 1, no eye opening
 
The verbal response is divided into five categories:
  • 5, alert and oriented
  • 4, confused, yet coherent, speech
  • 3, inappropriate words and jumbled phrases consisting of words
  • 2, incomprehensible sounds
  • 1, no sounds 
The motor response is divided into six different levels:
  • 6, obeys commands fully
  • 5, localizes to noxious stimuli
  • 4, withdraws from noxious stimuli
  • 3, abnormal flexion, i.e., decorticate posturing, an abnormal posture that can include rigidity, clenched fists, legs held straight out, and arms bent inward toward the body with the wrists and fingers bent and held on the chest
  • 2, extensor response, i.e., decerebrate posturing, an abnormal posture that can include rigidity, arms and legs held straight out, toes pointed downward, and head and neck arched backwards
  • 1, no response 
For example, the documentation states "Glasgow Coma Scale score was obtained upon arrival at the ED; eyes open = 2, best verbal = 3, and best motor = 5." Coders may assign the following:
  • R40.2122, coma scale, eyes open, to pain, at arrival to ED
  • R40.2232, coma scale, best verbal response, inappropriate words, at arrival to ED
  • R40.2352, coma scale, best motor response, localizes pain, at arrival to ED 
Per the Official Guidelines, the seventh characters must match for all three codes.
Subcategory R40.24- (Glasgow Coma Scale, total score) is an additional option provided that identifies the overall score as opposed to each of the three individual elements.
Those codes are:
  • R40.241, Glasgow Coma Scale score 13-15
  • R40.242, Glasgow Coma Scale score 9-12
  • R40.243, Glasgow Coma Scale score 3-8
  • R40.244, other coma, without documented Glasgow Coma Scale score, or with partial score reported 
Codes from R40.24- would not be assigned if the individual scores are documented.
 
Procedurally, Coding Clinic provided clarification regarding decompressive laminectomies and the assignment of the appropriate body part characters. When assigning an ICD-10-PCS code for a cervical decompressive laminectomy, the body part value states "cervical spinal cord."
 
The cervical spinal cord is considered a single body part value in ICD-10-PCS and would only be assigned one time regardless of the number of cervical levels decompressed to release the spinal cord.
The vertebral level designations of the cervical spinal cord do not constitute separate and distinct body parts anatomically; therefore, ICD-10-PCS Guideline B3.2 does not apply:
 
During the same operative episode, multiple procedures are coded if: The same root operation is repeated at different body sites that are included in the same body part value. 
 
Another note of caution: The ICD-10-PCS Index entry "Laminectomy" instructs coders to see Excision (B), but the objective of a decompressive laminectomy is to release pressure and free up the spinal nerve root. Therefore, the appropriate root operation is Release (N). 

 

Editor’s note: McCall is the director of HIM and coding for HCPro, a division of BLR, in Danvers, Massachusetts. She oversees all of the Certified Coder Boot Camp programs. McCall works with hospitals, medical practices, and other healthcare providers on a wide range of coding-related custom education sessions. For more information, see www.hcprobootcamps.com.This article was originally published in Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies.

HCPro.com – JustCoding News: Inpatient

Letter from the editor: Accessing your newsletter content

The challenges healthcare professionals tackle each day don’t wait for solutions, and neither should you. That’s why Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies is transitioning to a more frequent and robust publishing model this winter and expanding into a JustCoding membership.

Your updated member benefits gain you access to content and tools on JustCoding (JC)—with new resources added weekly to the website (www.justcoding.com). You’ll use the same login information you previously used to access Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies at www.hcpro.com to access the articles and full-issue PDF at JC.

Plus, as a JC member, you gain instant access to more than 100 resources in our forms and tools library, including white papers, books, webcasts, and much more. If you are already a JC member, you will continue to receive the news and analysis you’ve come to rely on, plus expanded member benefits coming in December.

To help readers keep tabs on available content, we will announce new articles in JustCoding and Revenue Cycle Daily Advisor, HCPro’s daily e-newsletter for HIM directors and coders and coding managers. At the end of each month, we’ll roll the corresponding weekly articles into a digital issue of Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies that mirrors the current format. As a member of JC, you can continue to download and print high-quality PDFs of the current issue, as well as several years of back issues of Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies, directly from JC’s website. Printed editions of Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies will no longer be mailed to subscribers.

 

We’re looking forward to delivering your coding and billing guidance and commentary in a timelier, efficient, and convenient manner. Feel free to contact editor Amanda Tyler at atyler@hcpro.com with any questions.

HCPro.com – Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies